By Frank Warren, courtesy of The Daily Star
BILLY JOE SAUNDERS shouldn’t need reminding not to take Martin Murray lightly.
But if he does then he only needs to look at his old GB team-mate to see how just expecting to win can turn out.
Saunders was on the same Olympic team as James DeGale in 2008 and the super-middleweight surrendered his IBF title to little-known Caleb Truax in December.
It was one of the shocks of the year and a warning for Saunders that if he is not at his best when he faces the St Helens scrapper then dreams of a big fight with Gennady Golovkin will soon disappear.
Saunders will defend his WBO middleweight title against Murray on April 14 at the O2 with Terry Flanagan facing Maurice Hooker for the vacant WBO light-welterweight crown on the same bill.
Murray is a dangerous foe for Saunders with a potential big fight around the corner against Golovkin, should he beat Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez on May 5.
It will be Murray’s fifth world title challenge and he will know it is probably his last so he will be desperate to grab his final chance.
Saunders was terrific when he outclassed David Lemiuex in Canada before Christmas and he will need a repeat performance to ensure Murray leaves London empty handed.
Murray is a tough opponent and lasted 11 rounds with Golovkin in one of his four world title challenges.
So if Saunders can finish him earlier then that it would send a message to the Kazakh star.
But first of all he just needs to make sure he gets the win and looks good doing it.
Manchester man Flanagan will be aiming to become an unbeaten two-weight world champion as he steps up from lightweight.
We were ready to sign to face WBA champion Jorge Linares but making the lightweight limit was becoming too hard for Flanagan.
He steps up to face the towering Hooker who is unbeaten in 26 fights and the Dallas man is no cowboy when it comes to his ability in the ring.
Victory for Flanagan will open the door to bigger fights in the light-welterweight division against the likes of Mikey Garcia while Linares and Vasyl Lomachenko could soon be mixing it at 10st.
It is an important night for both Saunders and Flanagan.