Saunders remains the favourite to prevail on Saturday night…
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All eyes are on the Excel Arena in London on Saturday night, with Billy Joe Saunders and Chris Eubank Jr finally set to put their rivalry to bed.
Both men have built this fight through their jibes and taunts through the media, and there is an argument to suggest that the intrigue surrounding their clash has eclipsed that of the main event.
Saunders insists that he is too talented and experienced for his rival, while Eubank Jr is confident that he can now step out of his father’s shadow and arrive on the big stage with an explosive performance.
That only adds to the mystery surrounding this fight as looking at the challenger’s record thus far there are few notable names and he has barely been tested in bouts that have failed to go the distance.
Nevertheless, glowing reports after sparring with the likes of Carl Froch and spending time training in the Mayweather gym has seen his profile grow, and naturally Eubank Sr has done little to suppress the excitement by insisting that his son could beat knock-out king Gennady Golovkin.
Meanwhile, he has attempted to paint Saunders as a near-on disgrace to British boxing, and some of his comments have admittedly done him no favours. However, having had an impressive amateur career before representing his country at the Olympics, Saunders has passed all the tests to date.
Brash claims that he will retire if he loses will only put further pressure on himself, but Saunders has taken his training camp seriously after travelling to Marbella to be put through his paces away from home comforts and distractions.
Unbeaten in 20 fights, he currently holds the British, Commonwealth and European middleweight titles, and the winner of Saturday’s encounter will then go on to fight for a world title.
Is Eubank Jr ready for the step up? No one is quite sure at this stage, but what is expected is that he will deliver on his promise of making Saunders feel his power and we will see whether or not the champion will be able to absorb it and fight on.
Saunders will look to box rather than brawl as his boxing brain and fast hands can take the fight away from Eubank and as he suggested, “make him do what I want him to do in the ring”.
As a result, there are two ways this fight ends. The first is Eubank catching Saunders with his explosive shots and causing an upset. The other is that Eubank isn’t able to keep up the pace and compete at Saunders’ level after making a significant step up in class, and the champion claims a points decision and goes on to fight for a world title.
At this stage, the latter seems more appealing yet Eubank Jr should not be discounted and he remains a real dangerous threat to Saunders on Saturday night.