Friday Night Fight: WBO Super Middleweight Crown -- Saunders vs. Murray

Other Dec 04, 2020


It was late February when Canelo Alvarez’ trainer Eddie Reynoso announced that slick southpaw Billy Joe Saunders would be the pound for pound superstar’s next opponent, on the Cinco De Mayo weekend (the most important/desirable date in boxing).  The Corona Virus had a say, then Billy Joe Saunders’ inappropriate social media rantings, put the finishing touches on that promotion, and the rehabilitation of Saunders for the public, media, and boxing aficionados ensued.  So here we are for the WBO Super Middleweight crown versus the consummate, but exciting opponent Martin Murray.

Since losing to Gennady Golovkin in exciting and brave fashion in February of 2015, Murray has put together a rather impressive resume of exciting fights, and impressive results.  His win versus Jose Miguel Torres in late 2015, followed by his close loss versus Arthur Abraham a couple of months later, landed Murray “big card” status as he became an opponent that could be trusted to put on a good show.  His win against Gabriel Rosado in April 2017, showed him to still be a dangerous foe, and worthy of a match-up against international unbeaten star, Billy Joe Saunders.

How does Martin Murray (+900) win?

It’s a tall order. Let’s face it.  For Murray to win, he is going to have to completely sell out for a brawl and forget about winning points.  Saunders is a south paw, so Murray has to crowd Billy Joe’s lead hand with an active jab (Saunders tends to block punches with his right), then send the power shots and pray for rain.  Murray is going to have to risk losing by knockout himself, although Saunders is not known for stunning power.  Murray will have to win the crowd with an active and brave fight, then force the issue by actively seeking a knockout.

How does Billy Joe Saunders (-3900) win?

Do what got you here.  Be quick.  Be flashy.  Be first.  Use volume of punching to overwhelm Murray’s defenses, and press a pace Murray can’t match.  Keep punches tight, and within the frame of your body.  No exchanges, as Murray can’t win blow for blow on the cards.  While keeping punches tight, do not neglect the body as Murray will need to open up his frame to throw hooks to win.  A consistent and concerted effort to get to Martin Murray’s body should tire him out, so a coast to victory by unanimous decision seems likely.

PREDICTION: Billy Joe Saunders (-3900) and specifically by Unanimous Decision (-300)

-- by Alf Art

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