Billy Joe Saunders wants Canelo, Golovkin after David Lemieux bout

Champion Billy Joe Saunders is preparing to take on David Lemieux on the challenger's territory. Leigh Dawney/Getty Images

Billy Joe Saunders believes victory against David Lemieux on Saturday will be easy if he doesn't get drawn into a brawl, and is eyeing a 2018 unification against Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin.

Saunders, who currently holds the WBO middleweight world title, will have to overcome the best opponent of his career if he is to stay in contention for a unification against the winner of the rematch between Canelo and Golovkin which is likely to take place next year.

Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs), 28, says he will rely on his boxing skills to defuse the explosive power of Canada's Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs), who will have the backing of his home fans at the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec.

Lemieux, 28, was stopped in eight rounds by Kazakhstan's California-based Golovkin in 2015 but since then has registered four wins, including the stunning knockout of Curtis Stevens on March 11.

"They can advertise it as a complete World War III if they want," Saunders exclusively told ESPN regarding his fight with Lemieux. "What's going to happen on the night is that he is going to get picked to pieces and broken down, like Golovkin did against him.

"You didn't see Golovkin go there for a slug-war. I understand TV companies have to sell the show. But I do what's best for me and slug-fest is not best for me. His job is to make me fight, my job is to make him box. So we'll see who can do what.

"He had a good win over Curtis Stevens and people are saying he's the best opponent I've faced. Is he? I don't know. He can fight and he's a good puncher. If he wants to play boxing I can put a blindfold on and beat him with one hand. But I'm taking him as my best, yes.

"I'm going in there fit, focused, heart of a lion and going in feared because I'm in his back garden. Not feared as in frightened, but feared of being robbed. So I'm going to bring the best ability, the best possible Billy Joe Saunders that there is in the closet. One wrong move and it could be over, so it's a dangerous fight."

Saunders has yet to sparkle as champion after winning the belt on points from Ireland's Andy Lee two years ago.

The English boxer looked lucky to hold on to his belt with a points win over Russia's Artur Akavov a year ago while another points win over American Willie Monroe Jr. on Sept. 16 was far from scintillating, although he was improved.

But Saunders is confident he can deliver without home advantage after adopting a stricter training regime than he was on last year thanks to Sheffield-based trainer Dominic Ingle.

Saunders is also being driven by the prospect of victory setting up the chance of a huge pay-day against the winner of WBC-WBA-IBF champion Golovkin or Mexico's high-profile star Canelo.

"The reason why I'm in Canada is to fight Golovkin or Canelo," Saunders said. "I decided to come here and took the fight knowing that I'll beat him and knowing their next fight after the rematch has to be me.

"They aren't scared of anyone, they will fight anyone, they're warriors. So if they don't fight me the only reason is because they're worried about something or fearing something I have.

"Is it that I'm awkward, that I don't come to fight I come to hit and not get hit. I think and hope I will take care of business next week and then one of them boys is definitely on my hit list.

"They're the ones I want, Glolovkin or Canelo, either one of them. They're the ones I want -- I'm not bothered which one because they drew last time out so in everybody's eyes they're as good as each other."