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Billy Joe Saunders vs. Willie Monroe Jr. Boxing Preview, Pick, Odds, Prediction - 9/16/17

Monroe vs. Saunders

Boxing: Saturday, September 16, 2017 (Copper Box Arena)

The Line: -- Over/Under: See the Latest Odds

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Billy Joe Saunders and Willie Monroe Jr. fight Saturday at the Copper Box Arena for the WBO World middleweight title.

Billy Joe Saunders enters this fight with a 24-0 record that includes 12 knockouts. This will be Saunders’ second fight since 2016, and he’s coming off a December win over Artur Akavov. Saunders has had plenty of time off after his bout with Avtandil Khurtsidze was canceled due to an arrest. Saunders is a 28-year-old southpaw who stands at 5’11” and continues to make a case as the best middleweight in the world. Saunders is a lengthy fighter with great movement, solid defense and an aggressive offensive attack that overwhelms opponents. While Saunders isn’t known for his pure punching power, he does swing for the fences and has these rapid combinations that he lands from a distance and can be tough to overcome. Saunders is known for breaking down his opponent, but he has the offensive attack to end things at any moment as well. Saunders has fought his whole career in the United Kingdom, his birthplace. 

Billy Joe Saunders vs. Willie Monroe Jr. Boxing Preview, Pick, Odds, Prediction - 9/16/17

USA TODAY Sports

Willie Monroe Jr. enters this fight with a 21-2 record that includes six knockouts. Monroe has won five of his last six fights, and he’s coming off a September win over Gabriel Rosado. Monroe is a 30-year-old American who can throw his name in the hat as the best middleweight if he can get this victory here. Monroe is a 5’10” southpaw with a 74 inch reach and his only recent loss came to Gennady Golovkin in 2015. Monroe is mostly known for his defense and ability to counter, but he also works his jab very well and has quick hands that allow him to get in and out. Monroe has good lateral movement and has shown he can also take a punch, as he’s only been knocked down against GGG, which is obviously nothing to criticize. The knock on Monroe is his lack of punching power, and he hasn’t produced a stoppage since his 2013 bout with Toris Smith. This will be Monroe’s first fight outside of the United States.

We’re going to earn a lot about Monroe in this fight, as he’s fought talented guys before, but this is the first time he’s left the comfort zone of the United States. It’s different when you take the trip across the pound and it’s just you against everybody in the building. Monroe’s stance, quickness and athleticism could make it tough for Saunders to get comfortable, giving the American a chance here. However, Saunders is the more complete boxer overall and is more effective on the offensive end with better punching power. Saunders will likely be able to walk Monroe down due to the lack of punching power and wear him down with combinations to the body.

Monroe always has a shot with his athletic ability, but Saunders is the guy to beat here.

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