By Shaun Brown
Despite being Billy Joe Saunders’ promoter, Frank Warren admits there is a good argument for both he and WBO World middleweight champion Andy Lee to come out as winner on Saturday night in Manchester.
Lee’s first defence of the title, he won last year against Matt Korobov, will be shown live and exclusive on Boxnation. While Warren is hoping for his unbeaten star to come out with his hand raised he knows that there is little to separate them.
“I fancy my man, I’ve got to fancy my man but it is a close fight,” Warren told Boxing Scene. “The people that I speak to in the business keep changing their mind.”
‘Scene asked Warren, whose final promotion of the year also features Liam Smith making the first defence of his WBO light middleweight title against Jimmy Kelly, if the pace that both Lee and Saunders are notorious for starting and finishing fights could set things up for a grandstand finish.
“Good observation. I agree. But if you look at the [Chris] Eubank [Jr] fight when everyone keeps banging on about the second half of the fight, the last couple of rounds Bill was on top. You actually score the rounds, Eubank was actually punching the air a lot! And one thing about it is Andy has got the equalizer but I think Bill’s a great boxer.”
With the power of Lee’s shots being one of the fight’s main talking points in the build-up will Saunders’ chin be able to stand up the punches which has ended 24 of his 37 contests to date?
“It’s stood up to now and he’s been in with some good punchers,” he answered.
“At the end of the day he’s got to be caught to do it. And if boxing was all about biggest puncher winning you wouldn’t need judges!”
Warren said that should his man be victorious the new champion will be looking for the big fights straight away.
“He wants to go into the big fights and we want to look at each opportunity as it arises. First of all we have to get this one out the way but if he comes through this one he puts himself in that mix and it’s a very exciting mix with some seriously good quality fighters.”
And with a fight that has, in some areas, split some of the boxing public right down the middle could we possibly see a rematch if the fight ends in a draw or the winner walking away by the finest of margins?
“I just feel that Bill’s class will tell,” Warren countered. “Let’s see how the fight turns out first. But if it’s a great fight of course we wouldn’t be against that.”
Shaun Brown is Boxing Scene’s UK News Editor. Follow him on Twitter @sbrown2pt0. Contact him at [email protected]