By Frank Warren
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS has the perfect platform to prove that he rightly belongs in the big three middleweights of the world at the Copper Box on Saturday evening
Against the talented New Yorker Willie Monroe jr, Bill has a big opportunity to put a marker down and demonstrate that he is a force to be reckoned with.
To the thrilling backdrop of the Las Vegas blockbuster between Gennady Golovkin and Saul Alvarez taking place a few hours later – also on BoxNation – it is up to Bill to go out there and stake his claim to fight the winner.
People shouldn’t forget that he is a genuine world champion. Yes, he has had his bad luck, but everybody is fed up with hearing about that now, so Bill just needs to make a statement against Monroe and remind people what he is all about.
Bill needs to put on a performance that makes people demand he takes his place in a unification fight, that is the most important thing about this fight and Bill certainly appears switched on and has his eyes firmly on the prize.
We have known all along that he possesses the skill and talent but, in boxing, this on its own is not enough. It is about living and breathing the sport and that is what Bill has been doing in preparation for this fight and hopefully it will translate into a top performance on Saturday.
He is definitely looking the part now – he looks like a fighter in his prime. I remember build ups to fights in the past where I have been fretting a bit about his weight and conditioning at this stage. Not this time.
What we should remember though is that he is – and has always been – a really good fighter, no doubt about that. When he went to the Olympics he looked the most talented fighter out of the bunch and he has gone on and won a world title, so he has done what has been asked of him.
Now he wants to get seriously into the big time, so he has got to get past Monroe – who is the gatekeeper in the way – and he has got to kick that door down.
However, Monroe isn’t coming over for the ride and I think he will have the bit between his teeth after Bill, more or less, said that he’s got no heart.
He will be seeking to prove otherwise and it could well be the case that Bill has inspired him more than he has wound him up.
Bill says that beating Monroe will be as hard as he himself wants to make it and that has been the case in all of his fights to date. To my mind, he should want to make this one easy and look good.
If he were to blitz him in one round I would be over the moon.
I know we all want to get rounds and see good fights, but I just want to see Bill validate the belief I have always had in him and show the public that he is a great champion by making a statement in the ring.
There really will be no better time to do it.
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