Both Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux were forced to strip naked to make weight for tonight’s WBO middleweight world title-fight, at an explosive weigh-in ceremony which saw both men square up to one another.
Home favourite Lemieux was the first onto the scales but needed to strip off in order to make weight. However Saunders’ trainer wasn’t convinced and had to be restrained by officials after claiming that the Canadian was over the weight limit.
Saunders was next up on the scales and also had to remove his boxer shorts in order to make the 160lbs weight limit, before the two men went face-to-face with the Briton branding his opponent “a p**** boy”.
Both Saunders and Lemieux are also vying for a fight with Gennady Golovkin or Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez when they meet at the Place Bell in Quebec.
While Golovkin and Alvarez are considered the world's finest active middleweights, Hopkins is among the best of all time, and unified the division against the highly-respected De La Hoya in a significant fight in 2004.
Before Golovkin and Alvarez fought to a draw, Saunders had targeted the winner of their fight in September, but instead travels to his dangerous opponent's home country for his first match-up outside of the UK.
“Not only am I mixing it with a boxer who is in the top five (middleweight world rankings), but I'll be fighting in front of great fighters I've watched as a kid, like Bernard Hopkins and Oscar De La Hoya,” said Saunders.
“I haven't been this happy since my amateur days. For the last six or seven months, I've never been happier. I'm excited to get into the ring. I'm excited to get into the ring and eager to put on a classic display.
“In my own mind, I know I can deal with (Lemieux), and then with Golovkin or Canelo, we'll see where I really am."
Lemieux has won each of his four fights since being stopped by Golovkin in 2015, and earlier this year secured an intimidating knockout victory over American contender Curtis Stevens.
“Saunders made a lot of promises, about his chin, his purse, and that's something I haven't forgotten,” said the Canadian, who like Saunders is 28.
“I'm well aware of your abilities. I hope you are aware of mine. I'm not just a puncher. People like to see blood and big punches, and that's what they'll see.”
(Additional reporting by Reuters.)
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