There’s another world middleweight title happening this weekend in England. Lets try to breakdown a solid Saunders vs Monroe Jr prediction.
Willie Monroe Jr. (21-2-6KO) vs. Billy Joe Saunders (24-0-12KO).
While most of the world watches the Canelo Alvarez-Gennady Golovkin superfight this weekend, the WBO middleweight title, the only belt not held by the aforementioned two will be on the line in London, England in the Copper Box Arena.
Willie Monroe Jr. of Rochester, New York will challenge English champion Billy Joe Saunders, with the winner in a good position to unify with the winner of the Canelo-Golovkin bout sometime next year.
Saunders, 28, has taken some flack since winning his belt via majority decision to Irishman Andy Lee (35-3-1-24KO) in December, 2015 at the Manchester Arena.
He’s had more cancelled defenses than victories since then.
His one other win since become a world champion was a self-admitted dreadful performance against Russian Artur Akavov (17-1-2KO) in December of last year in Scotland.
Bouts with Gennady Golovkin (37-0 33KO) were rumored and a signed fight with Georgian Avtandil Khurtsidze (33-2-2 22KO) was cancelled after a bizarre side story with Khurtsidze being rounded up in an alleged organized crime sting and a host of other alleged different charges.
Monroe, 30, now has his second shot at world title glory. He’s only lost twice.
One split decision against the deceptively dangerous journeyman Darnell Boone (23-24-4 12KO), who gives every champion boxer a handful even in defeat (knocking out Adonis Stevenson, knocking down Andre Ward, losing via split decision against Sergey Kovalev in their first meeting).
His only other loss came from a one-sided hammering from middleweight destroyer Gennady Golovkin by way of six round TKO when Monroe said no more after a series of knockdowns.
Monroe has since won the WBO Intercontinental title on the Canelo Alvarez-Liam Smith undercard against Gabriel Rosado (23-11-1NC-13KO) and a molasses-slow match and unanimous decision victory.
A card where Saunders was supposed to make a scheduled defense but had turned down all of his opponents presented to him by Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, whom both Rosado and Monroe were on the short list – leading to the Rosado-Monroe bout.
Rumored opponents for his next defense were supposedly Rob Brant, Ryota Murata and David Lemiuex.
Lemiuex (38-3-33KO) had admitted to pursuing a bigger money fight with Miguel Cotto (41-5-33KO).
Brant (22-0-15KO) has entered the World Boxing Super Series super middleweight tournament and Murata (12-1-9KO) has a WBA ordered rematch with Hassan N’Dam (36-2 21KO) – after a highly controversial split decision Murota defeat in Tokyo earlier this year, in which many who view thought Murata had easily secured a victory.
Saunders has since paired up with a new trainer Sheffield-based Dominic Ingle and has been working on improving strength and conditioning.
Saunders was once lampooned for being very out of shape and not taking the sport seriously, particularly during the Akavov fight.
He is looking to solidify the fact that he’s rightful champion of his belt and seeks to remove any and all doubt on the status of his reign.
Monroe, has been putting on the finishing touches of his training in England with the two fighters’ camps coming into frequent shouting matches peppered throughout social media, and their press conferences becoming quite vulgar and disruptive, with Saunders specifically and repeatedly mocking Monroe for his loss against Golovkin – calling him a “quitter”.
These two fighters have something to prove and the dislike between the two should make for a compelling matchup.
The bout will be competing with one of the biggest boxing matches in recent years with Canelo-GGG, though.
Both these guys are swift, smart and exceptional classic boxers with knockout ratios at or below 50%.
One should expect this match to consist of a very heavy jab game and a contest based on movement in which both boxers will attempt to outfox and outflank one another.
More a chess match than a strong man competition, the latter match looks like a home run derby between two sluggers, Monroe and Saunders are the pitcher’s duel.
When Billy Joe is on however, one has to admit his amazing skill as a pugilist as he can become a ghost at will and become very hard to pin down, as seen over his victories over Chris Eubank Jr. and Andy Lee.
Monroe, will have to be on top form and his fight game as of his last couple bouts has been based on defense and speed and a lack of action on his part and a failure to take the fight to Saunders on his home turf may prove costly to him with the judges.
Monroe’s hope is that Saunders is actually a slow finisher, as seen with his match with Andy Lee.
Both fighters’ endurance hopefully will be top-notch.
In the end, Saunders should vanquish any criticism with a solid unanimous decision victory over Monroe who will fight valiantly but will be thoroughly out boxed.
Outcome: Billy Joe Saunders, Unanimous decision victory.