HBO’s Montreal Card Round-Up

By Jake Collins (@MelancholyFolly)

When you glanced down the fight list and observed the 3 main fights, you’d reasonably be able to make a stake for any fighter winning their respective fight. Retrospectively however, the outcomes feel a little predictable. Quebec was the venue and the headline act was Billy Joe Saunders defending his WBO world title against Canada’s own David Lemieux. Our first televised fight was ‘The Hebrew Hammer’ (truly, a great nickname) Cletus Seldin against Yves Ulysse Jr who was coming off the back of a loss which was a pretty poor decision.

71D66187-D707-45D0-805F-2037C08CF93DRespect to Ulysse Jr, he jumped straight back into what many considered a dangerous fight. Seldin was unbeaten with 17 of his 21 wins coming by knockout. Seldin isn’t a nuanced fighter. He was described as a throwback and he really does fight like an old school fighter. However, styles evolve for a reason. Ulysse Jr absolutely toyed with Seldin throughout the fight. He was sent to the canvas once in each of the opening 3 rounds. Ulysse Jr was much too fat and clever for Seldin who spent much of the night aggressively punching air. Ulysse Jr’s switch hitting was giving him fits and the accuracy in which the shots landed was akin to an Olympic archer. Seldin complained that Ulysse Jr was running and often beckoned him in to ‘fight’. I’ve no idea why he used this tactic though as whenever Ulysse obliged he tended to end up tasting canvas. The scores at the end were all unequivocal and wide to Ulysse Jr. Seldin is a fun fighter and I’m happy to see him against guys at similar level but he’ll never make it near the top. He’s just too basic. Plus he’s previously been banned for anti-doping so it’s hard to feel sorry for the guy anyway. The only way is up for Ulysse Jr however. At 29 he’s in his prime and the 140 division is wide open. Sterner tests await the Canadian but he looks a difficult puzzle for anyone to solve.

18F94211-6C3A-41EC-8C24-A4AF531F7348Something of an upset followed next as Spike O’Sullivan stopped Antoine Douglas in the 7th round. Douglass started well enough but by the 5th round the tide was turning to O’Sullivan’s favour. Douglas would throw some shots, land them and then remain firmly in the same spot allowing O’Sullivan to respond. Douglas has a decent jab and had he moved his feet more would likely have kept O’Sullivan at bay. The affable man from Cork continued to pile on the pressure and inexorably Douglas crumbled from a flurry of hard shots. He got back to his feet only for the ref to wisely wave the fight off. Douglass is only 25 however he seems to mentally capitulate when the odds start to go against him. For Spike this is a career best win. I don’t see him troubling anyone at the top but he is a come forward fighter who likes to put on a show. Whilst he was comfortably beaten by Eubank Jr he did actually shake him up a fair bit in the 3rd round, so there is some power there. How about a fight with David Lemieux?

5FAF6C35-EF24-429C-83ED-51A6E7C1B66FIf you saw the Seldin-Ulysse Jr fight then you pretty much saw the main event too. A fighter with limited ring craft and mobility against someone able to outsmart and manoeuvre their opponent. I didn’t score a single round for David Lemieux. I expected Saunders to win but not quite like this. Lemieux came to trade but Saunders turned up in a big yellow bus ready to take Lemieux to school. Now, I do think Lemieux is decent but stylistically Saunders was always taking him to Hell. We saw against N’Dam that Lemieux struggles with movement of any kind. His feet are slow and his brain isn’t a boxing one. He has no answer to Saunders’ ability to move around the Canadian comfortably and his lack of head movement made him target practice for Saunders’ rapid jab. He has excellent power but if you can’t land it then it’s redundant. Saunders took his best weapon away from Lemieux and he just isn’t good enough at cutting off the ring or cute enough to set traps. If you plant your feet in front of Lemieux then you’re going to have a real bad time but if you elect to box him then you’re more often than not going to come out on top, assuming you’re skilled enough to do so. This was a superb performance from Saunders all the same. His stamina issues seem to have gone and he appeared physically stronger than he has been before. He’s called out Golovkin and Canelo but it’s likely those two rematch so he might be waiting a long time. He has a better chance against Canelo than Golovkin in my opinion but both are very competitive fights. Saunders needed a performance like this as he hasn’t looked class for too long. Post fight, Lemieux wheeled out the holy trinity of excuses. He hurt his hand, Saunders just ran and that he should have come to fight. Lemieux didn’t look in good shape and he’s had issues making weight previously, so I suspect he’ll move up to 168 soon.

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