By Richard Downie
He’s often a man who splits opinion, divides the masses not only through his performances but through his out of ring behavior and right down to his cultural heritage.
After a lengthy lay-off, questionable performances prior to this and an even more questionable attitude you can’t help but start to agree with naysayers and ‘the haters’ as Billy calls them. Hopefully, all this will be for naught as Billy Joe Saunders defends his WBO Middleweight title against former Gennady Golovkin victim Willie Monroe Jr, which many experts see as a 50/50 thanks in part to Saunders’ inactivity. I’ve long been an admirer of his talents and felt he could have developed into a world class fighter, I wasn’t alone, and when criticism is correctly drawn on your performances you have to take heed as a professional.
Looking at the build up to this fight, all the signals are there that at last he will deliver big on the promises. Saunders’ own son showed a sign of renewed vigor as he tried to low-blow Monroe at the weigh-in, and Saunders himself seems in rare form going into the fight. One can’t help but wonder if this is not only the most pressure he’s been under in a long time, but also a completely different kind of pressure, one laced with iron clad expectation to rather than mere hopes. Speaking of hope, let’s hope the terrific shape he’s in isn’t all smoke and mirrors to distract away from a dip in technical ability due to inactivity. Monroe has been waiting for another crack at a world title since getting detonated by Golovkin in 2015, and Saunders may be the best chance the limited Monroe has at a title for the foreseeable future.
Will this be my number one choice of viewing on Saturday night? Sadly not, I like you Bill, but I don’t have the confidence you will deliver the fight of the night with that other potentially legendary fight going on. Here’s to proving me wrong!