Saturday, November 25, 2017  |

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Billy Joe Saunders primed for Monroe Jr, targets Canelo-Golovkin winner

Saunders (left) and Monroe Jr. Photo courtesy of frankwarren.com
11
Sep

This Saturday, the majority of the boxing world will be focused on the colossal middleweight championship fight between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, which goes down at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

However, some 5,000 miles away, in London, unbeaten Englishman Billy Joe Saunders will defend his WBO 160-pound title against fellow southpaw Willie Monroe Jr. The fight is practically irrelevant by comparison but, for Saunders (24-0, 12 knockouts) and his team, the stakes could scarcely be higher.

At his best, Saunders, who is rated No. 4 by THE RING at middleweight, is a terrific talent. The former Olympian cleaned house at domestic level, handed Chris Eubank Jr. his first professional defeat and came close to stopping Andy Lee in three rounds before settling for a majority decision in his world title win.

Then momentum stalled.

There were injuries. There was a change of trainer. There was a one-year layoff. There was a drab and listless performance against the unheralded Artur Akavov. There was another change of trainer. Saunders, one of the most promising title players in U.K. boxing was drifting into obscurity.

Solid changes and renewed dedication were required and here we are. Saunders has teamed up with Dominic Ingle, the Sheffield-based coach who guided Kell Brook to welterweight title glory. Recent photos show Saunders to be in fantastic condition and the 28-year-old technician is eager to recommence his career with a new team behind him.

“Dominic has really improved the nutrition side of things,” said Saunders in an interview with RingTV.com. “Nobody can teach me to be completely different, in terms of my boxing skills, at this stage of my career but, in terms of training and nutrition, I’m feeling stronger and healthier.

“My fitness is there; everything is there and I’m ticking every box in camp. Everything that has been put in front of me in this camp has been done to the best of my ability. Training-wise, food-wise, being a professional about things. You only get back what you put in and I’m fighting fit.”

And his opponent will also be ready for combat. Monroe (21-2, 6 KOs) is a seasoned campaigner and a dedicated athlete. A professional for nine years, the fighter known as “El Mongoose” has mixed in good company and still retains plenty of ambition.

“In the last few years Monroe has only lost to Golovkin (TKO 6), so he is a good boxer,” acknowledged Saunders. “He belongs at this level and he’s got to be beaten. He keeps himself in shape but this game is all about being mentally strong, not just physically strong. You must have that mental edge and I believe that I beat him in that department comfortably.

“People are saying that he’s looking hot in training but he’s never out the gym. He’s one of them who keeps fit, trains and pushes himself. He’s a trainer. He’ll be in good shape but there’s a difference between sparring novices and taking on a seasoned pro.”

Saunders has been linked to a fight with Golovkin in the past but negotiations did not bear fruit. There are many who believe he would rather pursue other options on U.K. soil than match his skills against the fearsome Kazakhstani puncher but the Englishman refutes all charges.

“God-willing, I come through this fight without any injuries and I’m back out in December,” said Saunders, who holds the only title belt not on the line in Las Vegas. “Either (Canelo or Golovkin) for December, or early next year, and I’ll be ready to go.

“It’ll be a good fight between them but I think Canelo looks a bit over-trained. From what I’ve seen in training videos, he looks like he’s dipped a bit and I favor Golovkin just slightly now. And, if there’s a knockout, then I see it coming from Golovkin’s side.”

Before Saunders can think about middleweight unification fights, he must turn back the challenge of Monroe. The American appears to have taken his second world title opportunity very seriously and the feeling is he’s not in London to make up the numbers.

Saunders sounded supremely confident, however, and if the title is going to change hands, then Monroe must produce the performance of a lifetime.

“I’ll use my brains and my boxing ability but I’ll also put the pressure on him,” Saunders said ominously. “With someone like him, you have to pressure him from the start. I always tell people that it depends who turns up on the night and if I turn up and perform the way I know I can, then you’ll see the best of me.”

 

Saunders vs. Munroe Jr. takes place at the Copper Box Arena and tickets are available from Frank Warren’s website. The bout will be televised live and exclusive in the U.K. on BT Sport/ BoxNation.

 

 

 

Tom Gray is a U.K. correspondent/ editor for RingTV.com and a member of THE RING magazine ratings panel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Gray_Boxing.

 

 

 

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  • Dave O’Connor

    I think the winner should fight Jacob’s, so that way Jacobs would have a strap to bring to the table for another crack at GGG and unification.

    • Fist_ti_cuffs

      Good idea, but Saunders doesn’t want those kinda problems.

      • Dave O’Connor

        You’re probably right but he’s going to have to roll the dice eventually may as well go down swinging, having the title and not fighting is killing his stock at the moment.

        • philoe bedoe

          He was was ready to go to Kazakhstan and fight Golovkin, and Lemieux turned him down wanting the Cotto fight instead.
          All after his mandatory fell through against Khurtsidze………..

          • Dave O’Connor

            Well that’s a fair call too.

          • left hook

            Exactly!

      • Keano

        He struggled with injury and did get out of shape, he does want the big fights though and is looking good now.

        • Fist_ti_cuffs

          He’s gonna struggle with Monroe and get a controversial decision. As soon as he faces a real guy he’ll lose easily. He’s just a paper champion.

    • Mauro Hermida

      I wonder if Jacobs even wants to go through with a rematch. But I dont see him going through the grinder again. What other options does he have though? He could just take on another contender.

      • left hook

        Why do u feel Jacobs doesn’t want a rematch? He has called for a rematch since the 1st fight.

      • Wade Wilson

        I’m sure he thinks he won by a wide margin, as most fighters would, and would take a rematch in a second. He does have an option that was clear on the night of the fight and that was move up to 168 as he refused to be weighed again.

    • Wade Wilson

      It would definitely bring more attention to a rematch.

    • Erik Eckhardt

      So it is a given that Jakob’s would beat Saunders

  • Wade Wilson

    I’d rather forget about Saunders completely and think more along the lines of Daniel Jacobs. Who cares about belt #4? I want to see the best against the best and Saunders doesn’t fit the bill.

    • left hook

      How..Saunders called Golovkin out.

      • Wade Wilson

        I don’t think much of Saunders and would rather see a fight with a more worthy, and better, opponent. Calling out doesn’t mean anything on its own.

        • left hook

          How…he called out Golovkin and said he will fight him anywhere. I mean u guys claim Floyd ducked people that called him out. Why is the same logic not used for Golovkin? Suaunders called out Golovkin and he refused.

          • Wade Wilson

            Because Mayweather was ducking very good, deserving fighters who were a real threat to him at least until they were shopworn. Saunders is not that good and not entertaining. Who cares if he’s calling out anybody? If you aren’t worthy of a fight then you aren’t being ducked. Hopefully Saunders won’t hold a belt in the near future as if there is any reason at all to fight him it’s that gaudy trinket and there are too many of them to be meaningful anyway.

          • left hook

            How is Suanders not worthy? He owns the WBO belt…and mention the people Mayweather ducked..also provide proof he ducked them.

          • Wade Wilson

            That belt isn’t worth what the fighters pay for it which they do. It isn’t “awarded” to them as any other trophy would be. They’ve become meaningless. That Mayweather argument has gotten really boring and the Mayweather fans are exactly like conspiracy theorists and religious nuts in that nothing will change their minds so there’s no sense in discussing it.

          • left hook

            U didn’t even make sense. Saunders owns the WBO belt…to you it’s meaningless cuz u not a boxer, to the actual boxer it’s something to fight for.

          • Wade Wilson

            I’m a retired welterweight so I do know what it means and even the belt holders know it doesn’t mean they’re the real champion. Oh, they’ll delude themselves at times like Adonis Stevenson but there’s too many of them for that to be the case.

          • left hook

            I am a retired supermiddle and lightheavy weight and I know what it means to fight for a belt.

          • Wade Wilson

            You’ll probably agree with me that the proudest looks come from the kids in the gym when they win plastic trophies?

          • left hook

            If you win anything for your hard work, that should make you proud of yourself. An guessing you didn’t win nothing during your welterweight days hence why u think it’s not a big deal.

          • Wade Wilson

            I accomplished quite a bit actually but I see no reason to bring it up here, it makes it sound like I’m acting superior if I do and people don’t like it. I was hoping to bring an end to a pointless conversation with something positive and most view the moments like that with the new fighters as a bright spot.

          • left hook

            U are the one that said the belt is not worthy and meaningless not me and as a former fighter, u should know the four important belts in boxing are not meaningless.
            And u ‘ducked’ the mayweather question…show proof or any ‘credible evidence’ he ducked any fighter.

          • Wade Wilson

            There are too many belts to mean anything now. If they did the sport would get more attention than it does. Nobody denies that multiple champions are one of the biggest problems. There was a time that being a contender brought you more attention than getting a belt does now. And I’m not ducking the Mayweather question, it’s been done over and over and everyone has had enough of it.

          • left hook

            Multiple belts or not.. doesnt change the fact Saunders is a champion and he called GGG out.
            U accuse Floyd of ducking, meanwhile u are a bigger ducker lol…it’s you that said floyd ducked fighters not me…so again, provide concrete proof he ducked any fighter. Show something, anything.

          • Wade Wilson

            That discussion has been going on and on and Doug Fischer himself has had enough of hearing about Floyd. All I’ll ad to it at all is that in their primes Uncle Roger would’ve kicked Jr’s ass. I never liked R o get but he was a much more proven fighter. How many guys out there call out the top guy? They all do. Not all get the shot. The WBO title? If it wasn’t for, most likely, Pacquiao or maybe even Hamed it wouldn’t be recognized at all just as the IBF was worthless until Larry Holmes gave up the WBC belt for it. Big deal. The belts don’t mean anything now, all that matters is who the people view as the champion same as it was long ago.

          • left hook

            I doubt if you are a former fighter as u claim. u should know belts are important in boxing. The same belt u claim is worthless is the same belt another of your fighter(Lomachenko) has.
            On mayweather, I think you don’t have the right to call him a ducker when u are a ducker yourself…lol. U keep ducking the question. I guess u can’t provide real evidence to suggest mayweather ducked any fighter hence why your reply above didn’t make sense. Next time have real evidence before accusing anyone of anything.

          • Wade Wilson

            I’ve provided plenty of reasons why going into Mayweather’s career is pointless with one of his fans and that the issue has been beaten to death. I’m not about to get into it again especially when Junior isn’t the subject. And yes, I started boxing when I was eight in White Plains, New York and later moved to CT but kept my New York roots eventually moving back. I’ve spoken with Ice John Scully on many message boards about fighters we both knew from the area and he got a big charge out of the fact that I helped an opponent of his, Jose Verra, get ready for their first. He also shot down another poster who said I was lying about Bridgeport PAL coach George Russo who was in his nineties and could still hit the bags better than most of the young guys although he skipped the heavy bag due to arthritis, something I now empathize with but with me it’s recurring tendonitis. I spent as much time as possible in the New York gyms as the train ride wasn’t that long and moved back eventually. I don’t mention the well known fighters I’ve shared gyms with because, like mentioning I was fighter, it makes it sound like I’m trying to be superior and it makes good discussion difficult. I do know what winning a belt means as it is an accomplishment but having so many along with pretty idiotic ratings cheapens it. The fact that those two name fighters mentioned before held the WBO belt is the only reason that organization got any prominence.

          • left hook

            Its none of my business about your welterweight days. Still doesn’t change the fact Saunders is a champion and called out GGG.
            U lied about mayweather ducking, just admit..u won’t be the 1st guy that lied about mayweather and u won’t be the last.

          • Wade Wilson

            Okay, I’ll defend Floyd for you: He didn’t slip out of the sport when it was filled with terrific young welters. Shane Mosely is a hall of famer at the top of his game when they fought. Cotto’s tough, those beatings from Margarito and Pacquiao didn’t do anything and he proved it against Mora whose leg was perfect and he took on only top middleweights afterwards. The Pacquiao fight wasn’t five years too late and Floyd had been calling him out for years. Besides, Manny looked great when he was robbed against Bradley and that Marquez knockout was a lucky punch. This is the way you guys like to talk right? I can keep going if you like. It’s a lot like the way Mike Tyson fans used to talk.

          • left hook

            Whatever..u are the one that said Floyd ducked not me…show proof and stop ducking the question.

          • Wade Wilson

            I just did, in a sarcastic way.

          • left hook

            I guess u are exactly what u accused floyd of…a ducker

          • Wade Wilson

            I guess you just aren’t smart enough to understand a sarcastic approach or just won’t bother reading.

          • left hook

            Oh now u were being sarcastic…lol…cuz u couldnt find no evidence to back up your claim Floyd ducked. Anyway doesnt change the fact you a ducker.

          • Wade Wilson

            Look back a few posts where I did by giving the excuses Floyd fans always give.

          • left hook

            You could have sent this by now. Can u provide solid evidence to support your claim Floyd ducked other fighter. Send a link or a contract were Floyd signed and he refused to fight. If u cant send anything it’s shows u were lying and a hater…its very simple.

          • Wade Wilson

            This is the same type of response of a conspiracy theorist or religious nut given when confronted with something they don’t like. Anyway, did you know that in a criminal case a prosecutor would rather have a pile of circumstantial evidence rather than an actual witness? And yes, I went to Law School after boxing and know what I’m talking about here. If this were a crime Floyd could easily have been convicted. Also, outside of the color line era the only fighter I can recall who straight out said he was ducking a fighter was Joey Giardello who said “Why should I fight George Benton? I can’t beat him!” But as you are going to believe Floyd is perfect and can do no wrong it makes no difference. You’re like one of those people people who say that if you don’t join their religion and show complete faith you’re evil and going to hell. In the end what it comes down to with Floyd is he wouldn’t take on an opponent unless he had a strong advantage such as being the heavier man, the other guy was shop worn, or he was a name but also stunk when it came down to it. Do Of dislike Floyd? You never asked me that one. The answer there is I don’t like the entire Mayweather clan! However, I do know how to separate from my emotions and look at things objectively which is why I acknowledge that Uncle Roger was an excellent fighter who went up against the best he could. But you seem to worship Floyd and none of this makes any difference. That’s nothing knew. There are still plenty of Mike Tyson fans like that and I dealt with them in hoards in my youth.

          • left hook

            U take your time to write all this bullshit but refuse to provide evidence to support your accusations. Did they not teach u in law school to gather proof when accusing a suspect? Stop lying, u never studied law not to talk of going to law school.
            You don’t like floyd and his family as u stated.. perhaps it’s due to jealousy or cuz of his race. U are just using box as an excuse.
            I don’t follow anybody, I have my own mind and I work with ‘FACTS’, which u have refused to provide cuz u don’t have it.

          • Wade Wilson

            You’re not one to question another’s education with the way you write. And by the way, circumstantial evidence is indeed what the name implies: Evidence.

          • left hook

            Don’t worry about my writing, its not an english class session and successful in my own rights. Just provide evidence to proof mayweather ducked. Am beginning to think u hate him cuz his black, that won’t surprise me.

          • Wade Wilson

            No, I’m just going to block you. I’ve gone through and looked at other comments you’ve given in other conversations and you’re a troll really, with nothing to say. Oh, I’ll put up with abrasive people so long as they’re insight and can bring something to the conversation but you don’t. So long!

          • left hook

            pls block me but just send the evidence of the ducking u claim. Racist and lair.

          • Floridastorm

            Suanders should consider himself lucky that GGG didn’t take him up on it. Saunders has two chances of defeating GGG. Zero and None.

          • left hook

            U don’t know that…GGG is not superman, therefore anybody can be beaten.

      • IanF69

        And the usual Left Hook trolls through all posts telling everyone who’s right and who’s wrong…..get a grip you tit….so BJS called out GGG. so fuck..he may as well as called out Joshua cause he has the same chance of winning ..go look at what you do every thread and sort your shit out……nice feeling aint it.

  • Mike M.

    I think ole Willie takes this one.

  • Kiowhatta

    I want to see Saunders pay for his dithering, time-wasting and annoying of fans by being just an smirking impediment to what everyone wanted to see: great fighters fight it out for the chance to become undisputed champion, something rare, special, a sentimental wish for fans of GGG.
    Saunders when on his game is awkward and difficult, and I think if GGG gets through Canelo, Saunders through Monroe, then that fight MUST happen in 2018 at the latest.
    If not, the’re too many factors that will probably see the divisions belts broken up again, especially with some serious contenders waiting in the wings for their shot, so interim belts will have to be created for Charlo, Derevyanchenko and co.

  • Steve

    I’d love to see Saunders (if victorious) take on Saturday’s winner for total unification before the inevitable stripping/relinquishing of belts but I doubt it will happen. A defence against Cotto would be a decent paying alternative and raise his profile stateside. Unfortunately Frank Warren will probably keep him in the UK fighting the weakest opposition he can get away with while promising the big fights are just around the corner.

    • philoe bedoe

      That’s the problem with being promoted by Warren.
      He’s done it a lot with most of his fighters……….

      • left hook

        Like Joe Calzegie.

        • philoe bedoe

          Agreed………

      • Steve

        The only fighter Warren seemed to have full confidence in was Naseem Hamed. I found it odd when he criticized Eddie Hearn for letting his fighters travel. Nothing earns my respect more than a challenger taking the title on the champion’s turf.

        • philoe bedoe

          He always knew how to match his fighters with certain styles along with home advantage.
          You expect it on the way up, but it comes a time when you got to match them with the best……….

        • Tom Gray

          Tell that to Juan Manuel Marquez who was Hamed’s WBO mandatory for roughly 50 years lol 😂

          • Steve

            I can’t remember when Marquez first became mandatory although I’m sure Hamed relinquished the title to take Barrera instead. That was about 2 years after he left Warren I think. By Frank’s standards risking Hamed against top 5 opposition in Kelly, Johnson and Vazquez was incredible.

  • Reggie Woodard

    The middleweight division is red hot right now and that’s great for boxing..

    • left hook

      Middleweight is dull. Golovkin needs to move up to Supermiddle weight after Canelo and test the waters there.

      • Koninbeor

        If there’s anything the recent greats have shown us, it’s the importance of holding a record. Break Hopkins’ record regardless of you have to fight, then move up to SMW.

        • left hook

          Yeap, mayweather is truly great cuz of the opponents…Golovkin is not great yet and has not fought good opponents. Apart from Canelo, Jacobs and Lumiuex.

      • Floridastorm

        If Saunders is still undefeated, after Monroe, I can see GGG finishing him off for that last Middleweight belt. That will fulfill his promise to himself to unify all the belts. I expect GGG to handle Canelo easier than most people think.

        • left hook

          I don’t know why you guys don’t wanna see Golovkin move up.

          • Floridastorm

            Move up after unifying the belts. GGG wants to be undisputed Middleweight champion. He also still has Charlo and Derevyanchenko to deal with in his division. Who at super middle would give him a fight. DeGale?

          • left hook

            All the top names will fight him and Degale has said he would fight him. But there are other top names in the Super middle weight division.

      • Reggie Woodard

        GGG/Jacobs, GGG/Alvarez. Then we have Deravychenko(sp?), Jermal Charlo, BJS. I think there are some excellent matchups to be made. GGG can move up or stay put. I’m fine with either scenario.

        • left hook

          He should move up. Other legit fighters have done it in the past. Charlie deravychenko have not proven themselves yet.

          • Reggie Woodard

            I know… I like the idea of traversing weight classes but it’s also cool to see divisions have a long reigning boogeyman. Doesn’t seem like he’ll move up.

  • Floridastorm

    Saunders will be overconfident against Monroe and will get defeated. Monroe is the consummate professional who is an excellent boxer/puncher. He gave GGG a tough fight. I don’t think that Saunders has the power to really hurt Monroe. Monroe will pick him apart and may even KO him as Monroe has subtle power that comes with precision punching.

    • Mauro Hermida

      He is a pretty good boxer, emphasis on pretty, but he cannot punch for shit. 6 KOs in 23 fights says it all.

      • Floridastorm

        He’s not a KO puncher. But, he knows how to punch accurately where the punches are both effective and sharp. And, I do think that Monroe gave GGG a pretty good go for 6 hard rounds. I just have no respect for Saunders ability in the ring. He still acts like an amateur. And, his punching power is suspect also. I would not be surprised if Monroe defeats Saunders in a close boxing match.

    • left hook

      A puncher?? Lol. I don’t even think he gave Golovkin a tough fight. Golovkin couldn’t even feel his power punch.

  • Lion king

    BJS thinks he is playing safe (you know like others) bur I think Monroe jr is a real threat for him

  • Stash One

    Billy Joe Saunders is on the gear, Vada or Ukad need to step in, he’s juiced out of his tiny mind.

  • IanF69

    Saunder’s has a good boxing brain and with Ingle now training him he has a good chance of taking this to the scorecards…needs to box clever the full 12 though and that requires stamina and fitness..hope he’s 100% or else he will get tagged…Hard to call but if he listens to Ingle he has a chance.

  • Guy Grundy

    Talking’s the easy bit,Billy Joe.

    Doing’s a lot harder.

  • Markus Roland

    Saunders is too impatient, GGG will eventually get to the UK to add his belt to the collection.