Saunders vs Monroe Jr Odds For Saturday – WBO world middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (22-0) defends his title this Saturday against Willie Monroe Jr (21-2) at London’s Copper Box Arena.
For Saunders, the fight is being called a “return” as this will be his first fight of 2017 and just his second in the last 20 months. Saunders captured the WBO belt at 160 pounds with a slim majority decision win over Andy Lee back in December of 2015 but since then he has done more talking than fighting. Saunders made a successful title defense a year later, in December of 2016, against relative unknown Artur Akavov for his only bout since winning the belt, though he has called out everyone from Julio Cesar Chavez Jr to Gennady Golovkin.
So it is understandable when fans were disappointed in Saunders’ choice of opponent. Monroe Jr is not exactly the top shelf of middleweights, but he is serviceable. The biggest name on Monroe Jr’s resume is Gennady Golovkin, whom he fell to in six rounds after a credible performance. This is world title shot number two for Monroe Jr, but it is his first time fighting outside of the United States. Since that loss to Golovkin back in May of 2015, Monroe Jr has gone 2-0 against respectable opposition to set up this second world title chance.
Aside from Lee, Saunders has a win over Chris Eubank Jr on his resume and those wins buoy fans hopes that he can compete with other top middleweights. The fact is that Team Saunders was smart in signing this fight. Saunders had several fights fall by the wayside and he was healthy, so his inactivity was addressed.
With IBF, WBA and WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin signed to take on Mexican superstar Saul “Canelo” Alvarez on the same day, it behooves Saunders to hold on to his belt beyond Monroe Jr. As the owner of the only other major world title at 160 pounds, Saunders becomes a target for the winner.
Saunders would be in a good situation to lure either Golovkin or Alvarez to England, and both men would be big ticket attractions as Saunders’ next opponent. Saunders will be fighting under pressure, as a win keeps the hopes of those big money superfights alive.
Saunders has not been the biggest crowd-pleaser in years past and the need to win combined with the inactivity could lead to a stinker of a bout if Saunders is less than ready.
Veteran promoter Frank Warren has a big 12 fight boxing card planned, so check back later in the week for more odds for Saturday’s fights. The main events are set to air on BT Sport in the United Kingdom, check your local listings for start times.
Two of the support bouts are already getting a look. Undefeated light heavyweight Anthony Yarde (12-0) faces Hungary’s Norbert Nemesepati (25-6) with a pair of European titles on the line. Yarde is a massive favorite, as is heavyweight Daniel Dubois (4-0), who faces AJ Carter (8-3) for a southern area title in his first 10 round bout.
Copper Box Arena – London, England
Middleweight 12 rounds –
Willie Monroe Jr +185
Billy Joe Saunders -225
Light Heavyweight 12 rounds
Norbert Nemesapati +2000
Anthony Yarde -5000
Heavyweight 10 rounds
AJ Carter +2250
Daniel Dubois -5625
Saunders vs Monroe Jr Odds For Saturday/ Check out more boxing news and features at The Sweet Science, where the best boxing writers write.
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