Home Boxing News Martin Murray says Billy Joe Saunders hits hard enough to get his...

Martin Murray says Billy Joe Saunders hits hard enough to get his respect

Martin Murray
Photo Credit: fight network

Four-time world title challenger Martin Murray 39-5-1 (17) believes WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders 29-0 (14) will punch him hard enough in the face to get his respect when they square off at Wembley Arena in London on Friday night.

The 38-year-old from St Helens went 11 rounds with hard-hitting middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin in 2015. He also lost to Arthur Abraham and Sergio Martinez on points and drew with Felix Strum in his three other world title bids in 2015, 2013 and 2011 respectively.

“If you get punched in the face it hurts. I don’t care who you are,” Murray told Sky Sports when asked to compare Saunders’ power to Golovkin’s.

“I’ve been in with more fearsome punchers, but Billy Joe can obviously punch. It’s the shots you don’t see that really hurt you.

“Billy Joe is that fast and that slick that there could be a few of them. I’m not going into the fight thinking I’m invincible or will be able to walk through his power.

“I know he hits hard. I know he’s got respect in his punches. I’ve not gone into it thinking I’ve been in with stronger punchers, but I know I’m going to have to take risks.”

Murray rates Golovkin as his toughest opponent to date but says his disputed points loss to then-WBC middleweight champion Martinez proves he can handle Saunders’ southpaw style.

“It’s hard to put a number on them and rank them,” said Murray, who had Martinez on the canvas in the eighth round.

“Golovkin was the best, been my toughest fight to date that. Fought him in his pomp as well. That was a really, really hard fight.

“But they’ve all offered something different, in terms of how hard the fight is going to be.

“With Billy Joe, he’s offering something different again.

“I’ve only fought two southpaws as a pro. Martinez was the slipperiest one out of them, but I’ve never really struggled with southpaws.”

Saunders, 31, was on the verge of announcing a fight against four-weight world titleholder Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez 53-1-2 (36) when the global coronavirus pandemic hit and put paid to those plans.

His fight against Murray will be his first in more than a year.

“I wasted a full year, was in and out of training camps, big fights falling through, so I can’t say anything good came out of it,” Saunders told The Ring. “Hopefully I can end the year on a decent note by defending my belt.

“I’ve enjoyed this training camp and it’s been interesting getting back to old roots and practicing some things. Training camp is always a grind but it’s went well. We’ve worked on some stuff and hopefully we can show it on fight night.

“It was the only fight – with everyone tied up – that was available and I thought he deserved a shot. There were other fighters the same calibre as Martin but they all had French or German-sounding names and I thought let’s give Martin a shot. He was in the [WBO] top 15 and he took it.

“I’m looking for Martin to leave his soul in the ring. I know what kind of fighter he is and it’s going to be a tough night.

“I’m sure he’s had good preparation, just like me, because he’s had plenty of time. I wish him all the best, I hope he can secure his family’s life, but he won’t be winning the fight because it’s a must-win fight for me.”