This weekend two superstars in the world of boxing return to the ring after lengthy absences and both will be looking to put on big performances to set up super fights in 2021.
First up on Friday night at the SSE Arena in London, WBO world super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders headlines a Matchroom card live on Sky Sports as he defends his title against the experienced and dangerous Martin Murray.
Then on Saturday night, unified welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr puts both his WBC and IBF belts on the line against former world champion Danny Garcia at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington.
Super Slick Saunders Motivated?
Slick southpaw Billy Joe Saunders is without a doubt one of the most talented British fighters in recent years, the two-weight world champion technically is a joy to watch when on-song and in full flight.
With just 29 professional fights to his name at the age of 31, he has been relatively inactive and returns to the ring for the first time since a laboured win at the Staples Centre on the undercard of a fight between YouTubers KSI and Logan Paul.
Quotes pre-fight from Saunders, who is a
1/100 favorite for this bout, suggest that he is taking the threat of Martin Murray very seriously and a motivated Saunders is when he is at his very best.
Standout performances from the Hatfield fighter have come when the stakes are high. He was superb when beating WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee back in 2015 and arguably his best career performance came when defending his middleweight title against hard-hitting Canadian David Lemieux in Quebec three years ago.
The 31-year-old has been in camp for a long time for this bout and although much bigger fights are being mooted for 2021, it’s likely we will see one of the better versions of Saunders – making him a very worthy favourite. Able to score punches at will, the technically-gifted Saunders is
5/13 to win this fight on the scorecards.
Final Roll of the Dice For Murray
After four attempts to win a world title during his 11-year professional career, it’s hard to see this not being 38-year-old Martin Murray’s final go at trying to win an elusive belt.
The much-traveled Merseysider has held British and Commonwealth titles as well as an interim version of the belt on the line in the fight. But a controversial draw to Felix Sturm and then defeats to Jorge Navarro, Sergio Martinez and Artur Abraham have meant he has ended up empty-handed.
Murray is tenacious, driven and dogged in the ring and he will no doubt look to get up close and press Saunders throughout the 12-round contest. He is
11/1 for the shock win and
16/1 to win via stoppage.
The Truth Steps Back Into The Ring
December is a sensational month of boxing and one of the most intriguing fights taking place in the next few weeks is the fight between welterweight champion Errol ‘The Truth’ Spence Jr and Danny Garcia.
Unified champion Spence is one of the classiest operators on the planet and UK fight fans will be fully aware of his skills after he took apart Kell Brook three years at Bramall Lane. He has held that IBF title ever since and added the WBC version last year when beating Shawn Porter in a split decision.
But there are serious questions to answer here for the
4/21 favourite, who escaped death in a serious car accident at the back-end of last year and was out of action recovering for a number of months.
He has looked slick and spiteful as ever in the gym, but Spence will need to be sharp to see off
33/10 outsider Danny Garcia in this one. Garcia has lost only on points to Keith Thurman and Shawn Porter in his 38 professional fights.
Another points loss for Garcia is the most likely outcome and that outcome is priced up at
20/27, with Spence expected to showdown with Terence Crawford next year in a huge undisputed title fight.
*All odds correct at time of writing