WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee (34-2-1) faces off against undefeated contender and fellow traveller Billy Joe Saunders (22-0) at the Manchester Arena on Saturday.
Whilst Saunders has stated that he is looking to “outfox and outbox,” Lee whilst the champion himself aims to dominate the fight. “I have a punch that can end a fight, lights out, in any given second,” said Lee. “I won’t rely on the punch. I will look to dominate from the start with educated pressure. I’m feeling very dangerous at the moment”.
Lee considers Saunders to have had an easy ride so far in his career, stating “Saunders’ unbeaten record is a disadvantage. He’s always been in fights he’s expected to win and has been well managed by (Frank) Warren”.
This fight is definitely Saunders most difficult test to date and is a big step up from his biggest win against Chris Eubank Jr. The Eubank fight was a close one for Saunders and he slowed in the final half of the fight. He can’t afford to do that against Lee.
In fact, Saunders conditioning will be crucial in this bout especially if he has struggled to make weight. If he fades in the final half when he’s heavily drained it could mean lights out for the challenger. In order to walk away a champion Saunders will need to control the pace of the fight, staying on the move and perhaps most importantly he shouldn’t try to stand and trade shots with Lee.
Lee will need to tire Saunders by keeping the work rate high, he will also want to get up close and personal with Saunders and look to land his vicious right hook. However, the champion must remain composed if he is to walk away victorious.
Lee said “At the end the day it’s about how good you are and he’s [Saunders] not good enough to beat me”. Is Saunders good enough? Can Lee stop him? Only time will tell and by Saturday night we’ll have the answers.