Billy Joe Saunders riding on the crest of a way since his making it look far too easy against David Lemieux is keeping himself active by taking on Martin Murray in what he hopes will be a tune-up fight before hopefully a crack at the winner of GGG V Canelo Alvarez later in the year.
The fight takes place on 14th April at the 02 in London with Saunders defending his WBO Middleweight Title. The card also features Terry Flanagan up against Maurice Hooker for the WBO Super Lightweight Title. This card will be shown live on Boxnation and BT sport.
Many will feel it is an undeserving chance for Murray against the undefeated Saunders (26 -0) and they probably have a point. Murray has been defeated every time he has challenged for a World Title against Arthur Abraham, Sergio Martinez and of course Gennady Golovkin. His last fight was against Arman Torosyan in September last year and only an 8 rounder with Murray stopping his man in the 4th. To put that into context Torosyan is ranked 68th in the world and Saunders is as no 5 with his stock rising.
It’s not that Murray is a bad fighter by any means and he does have attributes. He is also tough and durable with the monster puncher that is GGG being the only man to stop him and that took until the 11th round. However, at 35 even he would admit he is starting to look at calling time on his career and the fact that his autobiography will be released in May this year would surely be proof of that.
Since his move to Dominic Ingle Saunders has got himself into terrific shape. He has looked better in every fight, culminating in the best performance of his career so far when he won by a clear points decision and even a whitewash of 120 -108 on one judges card against a frustrated David Lemieux who simply ran out of ideas on the night. He seems to be more motivated these days and knows that he can’t just rely on his skill set at the very top level. Moving to Sheffield and staying just across the road from Ingle has also been a benefit as it has taken a lot of distractions away allowing him to focus purely on boxing. It is this type of dedication that is required to become one of the elite and at 28 it would seem that Saunders is ready and eager to take his chance to meet whoever is at the summit.
I expect Billy Joe Saunders to have another easy night’s work if there is such a thing in boxing. I don’t expect him to have the power to stop Murray but I do think his superior footwork and movement will be far too good. This will allow him to coast to another wide majority decision in what may well be Martin Murray’s swansong with retirement being announced shortly after. As for Billy Joe Saunders, I hope he does get his shot against the pound for pound elite where on this form he may just surprise everyone except himself.