Senior Boxing Journalist @JamesDielhenn
The pressure on Billy Joe Saunders is not only to go undefeated by defending his world title, but also to produce the fireworks that Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will ask of him.
Saunders’ WBO super middleweight championship is at stake against Martin Murray on Friday night, live on Sky Sports.
The real price for Saunders would be to lure Canelo, the Mexican superstar, into the ring, but that will only happen if he dispatches Murray with aplomb tonight.
The fight that has eluded two-weight world champion Saunders for so long is Canelo, but they have never been closer to meeting in the ring than this year.
In May, Saunders waited in Los Angeles, 24 hours away from announcing a deal against Canelo when the pandemic forced postponements.
He decided not to take the opportunity when it was re-offered in September due to lack of prep time – « I’m a winner, » Saunders vowed this week. « I want to win. The day I lose my will to win is the day I will never put on gloves again. «
Canelo is now on 19. WBA champion Callum Smith on December 12, but if the Mexican prevails, he’ll want more super middleweight gold and Saunders owns some.
« I’m in the process of unifying the divisions and getting the most out of the weight, but I haven’t had a chance, » he said.
« The only step left is Canelo, or uniting with someone with a title. «
Promoter Eddie Hearn said, « The pressure on Billy Joe Saunders is that he has to do a really dominant performance. That’s what people want.
Once upon a time there was talk of Hatfield’s south paw and the man who played a pivotal role in bringing his friend Tyson Fury back to the ring could battle Gennadiy Golovkin, the current IBF middleweight champion.
« I think Golovkin is the age now – he’s 38 – you have to look at how old he is and how he struggles with his face, » Saunders said.
« I had 29 fights, but out of those 29 fights, 10 clean punches hit me. Does he want someone with not many miles on the clock who is good with their feet, south paw, and the slick around them? «
Saunders has a perfect record after 29 fights, but it’s been three years since he last shown his last really great performance dancing around David Lemieux in Canada and becoming an internet meme with a moment of show-style when he forced his desperate opponent to hit a wild miss.
It’s been six years since he played a grudge game between undefeated prospects against Chris Eubank Jr. and the winner is.
He made his U.S. debut more recently, but there has been controversy outside the ring and at 31, it’s now or never for Saunders to reach his potential.
There will be a local rival in the opposite corner on Friday night who have seen two chances to challenge Saunders.
Murray probably never expected this fight to come back. The St.. . Helen’s veteran has fought unsuccessfully for a world title four times, but two of them were doubtful, especially the loss of the decision in Sergio Martinez’s home country Argentina.
But he warned Murray, « I’ve been around since I was 12. Year of life has not been beaten on British soil. I have a good track record and will continue to do so.
« He will bring a good game but after that he can go to St. Helens return, take his money back and have a good Christmas and retire with the family because that’s what I plan to send him into retirement. « . «
The goal tonight must be to get Canelo’s attention to you while their paths may still cross.
« To go as one of the greats, I have to beat one of the greats. And that’s Canelo. «
© 2020 Sky UK
Billy Joe Saunders, Martin Murray, World Boxing Organization
World news – GB – Saunders versus Murray: Billy Joe Saunders has to shine in the world title defense to get Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez ‘to look at himself pull
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