WBO middleweight champion Billie Joe Saunders defends his world title against American challenger Willie Monroe on September 16th, 2017 at the Copper Box Arena in London, England.

Same Date

Coincidentally (or not ?), this fight happens on the same day Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin dispute majority of boxing’s middleweight belts in Las Vegas, Nevada. Saunders wants a piece of the winner of that bout and if he wants to get noticed, he will have to put on a solid performance against Monroe.

Saunders won the WBO belt in 2015 after defeating Andy Lee via majority decision at London’s Manchester Arena. He has defended the belt only once, defeating Artur Akavov in an unimpressive decision in Scotland last December.

Second Try

This marks Willie Monroe’s second attempt at winning a world title. The 30-year old American southpaw was knocked in six rounds out by Gennady Golovkin during his first crack at the middleweight crown in May of 2015. Since that defeat, Monroe has won back to back fights, decisioning John Thompson and Gabriel Rosado in his two fights last year.

By the time Monroe fights Saunders, it will be exactly one year since his last fight. Saunders himself is coming off a long layoff. And it will be interesting to see who is in better shape. With the winner possibly facing the Canelo-GGG winner, both men are expected to go all out for the victory.

Odds and Prediction

Saunders is currently the favorite at -260 at Bovada and Monroe the underdog at +200. Monroe has the quickness, athleticism and southpaw stance can make it difficult for Saunders to find his comfort zone. The American is known  for his defense and outstanding ability to counter punch but he also has good lateral movement and an outstanding chin. Remember he’s only been dropped once in his career and that was courtesy of Gennady Golovkin. The only drawback on Monroe is his lack of punching power as he has not recorded a knockout since 2013.

Saunders meanwhile is the better all-around fighter between the two. He also has the clear advantage in terms of punching power. Given his skillset and his opponent’s lack of power, Saunders should be able to walk Monroe and wear him down with body shots. Again, Monroe will make a good match out of this but in the end, the better and more powerful puncher should take this fight. We’re not writing off Monroe because of his athletic ability but given that this is his first fight outside the United States, he’ll likely fall against Saunders.

We’re picking Billie Joe Saunders to win this fight by decision or late stoppage.

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