Billy Joe Saunders wants to retire Martin Murray on Friday on DAZN
By Barry Holbrook: WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders says he’s going to send his opponent Martin Murray into retirement this Friday night when the two headline on DAZN and Sky at the Wembley Arena in London, UK.
(Photo credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing)
Billy Joe, 31, insists that the former four-time world title challenger Murray is the only fight available to him, but obviously doesn’t sound believable. Demetrius Andrade has been calling out Saunders the entire year, but with no luck.
It’s unclear why Saunders didn’t take Demetrius up on his offer, considering that he’d be a much better option than Murray, who has lost four times since 2015. Murray is still a contender with a #12 ranking with the World Boxing Organization, but he’s nearing the end of his career.
Saunders taking another tune-up
You can argue that the main reason Murray was picked for Saunders is that he’s a recognizable name to the British hardcore fans, and he’s no threat to beating him.
Saunders’ promoter Eddie Hearn hasn’t said anything about his view on this fight, as it’s every bit as bad as Daniel Jacobs’ recent match against Gabe Rosado. Matchroom can’t continue to let Saunders fight low-level fights if they want to attract more fans to their events.
You can argue that most of Saunders’ career has seen him take lesser opposition and sabotage his efforts to get the bigger fights.
The fans aren’t interested in the Saunders-Murray fight, and it’s poison for DAZN, Sky, and Matchroom.
Saunders states that he wanted to fight Canelo Alvarez, Gennady Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade, and Daniel Jacobs in 2020, but he’ll have to settle for facing the 38-year-old Murray (39-5-1, 17 KOs).
Billy Joe’s promoter Eddie Hearn was close to setting up a fight for him against Canelo this year, but the pandemic interrupted those plans.
Saunders vowing to retire Murray
Billy Joe still could have fought Canelo, but he wanted more time to train to take off the weight that he’s put on while sitting around during the pandemic.
While some fighters kept busy staying in shape, Saunders let himself get out of condition, which led to him missing out on a fight against Canelo.
“I want the Jacobs fights and the Canelo fights and the Andrade fights now, but sadly everyone was tied up this year,” said Saunders to Sky.
“The only one really worthy of taking the fight which was available was Martin Murray. He’s a four-time world title challenger.
He can go back to St Helens, take his cash back and have a good Christmas and retire because that’s what I’m planning on doing, retiring him,” said Saunders
Billy Joe needs to focus on putting on an impressive display, according to his promoter Eddie Hearn.
It’s crucial that Saunders look good in this fight, as he’s unimpressive in his last two fights at 168 against Marcelo Esteban Coceres and Shefat Isufi. Hearn didn’t like how Saunders looked in either of those fights, which are his only two matches since moving up to 168.
Saunders vs. Murray undercard:
- James Tennyson (27-3, 23 KOs) vs. Josh O’Reilly (16-0, 6 KOs)
- Shannon Courtenay (5-1, 2 KOs) vs. Dorota Nurek (6-1, 1 KO)
- Zach Parker (19-0, 13 KOs) vs. Cesar Nunez (17-2-1, 9 KOs)
- Lerrone Richards (13-0, 3 KOs) vs. Timo Laine (28-14, 12 KOs)
- Lewis Edmondson (3-0) clashes vs. John Telford (11-2-1, 2 KOs)
- Donte Dixon (4-0, 3 KOs) vs. Angelo Dragone (5-1)
It’s unclear when Saunders’ contract with Matchroom Boxing runs out, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Hearn chooses not to renew it when it expires. Saunders is no longer performing at a high level any longer, and fights fail to entertain.
Hearn let heavyweight Michael Hunter and super middleweight Daniel Jacobs go after their contracts expired with Matchroom, and he could do that With Saunders.
Billy Joe hasn’t looked good since 2017
The last time Saunders put in a great performance was against a weight-drained David Lemieux in 2017. Since then, Saunders has mediocre in his three fights, and his opposition has been pedestrian level against journeyman Charles Adamu, Shefat Isufi, and Coceres.
“The pressure on Billy Joe is not just to win, but put in a statement,” said Hearn. he has to put in a really dominant performance. That’s what people are wanting.
It might be asking too much from Saunders to put on a statement in this fight, seeing that he appears to be on the career decline at 31.
Saunders stopped taking risks with his career after his narrow win over Andy Lee in 2015, and he’s missed out on massive fights with Golovkin, Canelo, and Andrade.
Saunders could have fought all of them, but instead, he’s been arguably padding his record against these fighters:
- Artur Akavov
- Yoann Bloyer
- Charles Adamu
- Willie Monroe Jr
- David Lemieux
- Marcelo Esteban Coceres
- Shefat Isuf
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