It's an all-British world title fight this weekend as Saunders and Murray go toe-to-toe. Betfair's Frankie Monkhouse aims to pick you a winner...
"Those after a better price may want to chance a bet on Murray to be knocked down."
All British clash
The title fights keep coming this week as boxing gets the month of December off to a thrilling start. Friday's show comes from Wembley Arena where Eddie Hearn for Matchroom Boxing presents a seven-bout card. The line-up is packed with domestic stars but there can be no doubting the main event as Billy Joe Saunders faces Martin Murray for the WBO super middleweight world title.
This all-British clash has fans excited as the hard-earned experience of Murray takes on the polished skills of current champion Saunders over 12 rounds. This promises to be a fascinating grudge match with the victor in the running for the winner of Saul Alvarez v Callum Smith.
Saunders aiming for a perfect 30
Saunders is the belt holder and a two-weight world champion after winning titles at both middleweight and super middleweight. The talented southpaw boasts a perfect 29-fight record with 14 of his victories coming by way of knockout. That form has him ranked fourth in the world at super middle, a list currently topped by Mundo Smith.
31-year-old Saunders makes his long-awaited return to the ring after more than a year on the sidelines. The Englishman was last seen stopping Argentina's Marcelo Esteban Coceres in 11 rounds at the Staples Center, Los Angeles. It was a win that promoted Billy Joe's talents to an American audience with the hope of forcing a fight with Canelo.
That meeting with the Mexican didn't work out and Saul will battle Smith later this month leaving Saunders with a fan-friendly fight against Murray. The current betting for this one has BJS as 1.11/10 favourite with a KO/TKO 3.02/1 and the points victory 1.444/9.
Murray has 16 more fights on his record than the champion and is a battle-hardened challenger who is no stranger to mixing it with world-class opposition. The 38-year-old from Merseyside brings a professional record of 39 wins against five defeats and one draw, scoring 17 knockouts but being stopped once himself.
Many of Murray's defeats are easy to forgive as they have come against high-ranking opponents. He took the big-punching Gennady Golovkin 11 rounds in 2015 and lost a split decision to Arthur Abraham later that year before losing to George Groves on the scorecards in 2016. His last defeat came against African Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam in Manchester two years ago, missing out on a majority decision for the WBC Silver title at middleweight.
Since that loss, Murray has collected wins in his two comeback fights with each coming on the scorecards. He was last seen in action out-pointing Sladan Janjanin at the Olympia, Liverpool last November by a comfortable margin. There's 10.5 on the Betfair Exchange for Murray to win with 10.09/1 for the points verdict and 12.5 a KO/TKO.
Saunders should be too slick
The pre-fight betting suggests Murray is little more than an opponent aimed at keeping Saunders busy until the big names come knocking. That's not the case, as can be seen by his record and BJS will know just how dangerous it is to take this one lightly.
Murray has the experience, but Saunders boasts the skills, speed, momentum, and youth. The champion will aim to box and move, racking up a wide points margin while showcasing his talents. It's worth backing Saunders to win on points but those after a better price may want to chance a bet on Murray to be knocked down at any time during the contest at 6/4 on the Sportsbook.