There may be bigger prizes around the corner, but Billy Joe Saunders is keeping his feet on the ground.
His WBO world middleweight title defence against Martin Murray on April 14th may prove to be the final step before securing a lucrative unification with either Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez.
However, standing in his way is a tough Brit and former World Title challenger who has nothing to lose. Murray has admitted that this will be his last chance and Saunders is wary of the danger he poses.
"I'd be a fool [to overlook Murray] because of what's waiting behind the door for the winner of this fight. People need to understand that I picked the best I could pick that was available," he explained to iFL.
"You've got to give Martin credit and respect. I personally think he should've beat [Sergio] Martinez and he certainly beat [Felix] Sturm. He's been through all that. He's got nothing to lose and everything to gain. If he wants to call it his last shot, then I know I'm getting the best of Murray."
Usually Saunders likes to get inside his opponent's head, as displayed before his last two fights against David Lemieux and Willie Monroe Jr, but he says this time those tactics are not needed.
"Everyone knows I like to play the mind games and other stuff. But with Martin he's been around the world boxing, so if I thought I can get inside his head...he's too clever for that. He's always been the underdog so he's seen it all. It's pointless trying to get into his head, because you're wasting your breath," explained the Champion.
Saunders has been training out in Marbella alongside stablemate Terry Flanagan, who faces Maurice Hooker on the same O2 bill.
"I haven't watched much of Hooker, but Terry is out here is on a mission. He's training flat out, he wants to push it every day. That shows the sort of mentality he's got in that ring. When someone's in that mindset, they're hard to un-tie.
"It's different experience as well. He's fighting a tall, awkward, long, gangly man. Maybe he's out here getting a taste of the Ingle style a little bit, you know just to get used to it," added Billy Joe.
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