Fighter Diary by Billy Joe Saunders
In his third exclusive diary entry, world champion Billy Joe Saunders assesses what he is up against when he faces Willie Monroe jr at the Copper Box on September 16
WHEN I MET my next opponent, Willie Monroe jr, at the opening press conference at BT Sport last month a lot of people suspected I was striving to land a couple of low blows by pointing out a bit of his previous – and I suppose I was – but I was also just telling the truth.
Like it or not, sometimes the truth hurts.
I was referring to his first world title challenge against Gennady Golovkin in May 2016 – Monroe has had two fights since – when he chose not to carry on after being put down in the sixth.
Yes I was trying to push his buttons, but I was saying was what is real and what is true. He quit in a fight.
He quit and there are no two ways about it, it was shown everywhere. I am not lying or making things up, that is the end of it.
If he had fought Golovkin and went the whole 12 rounds, I couldn’t have called him a quitter. He said ‘I am done’ and in my eyes that makes him a quitter.
If he is saying any different then he is a liar because the boxing world saw it.
What I am not saying is that Monroe isn’t a worthy challenger this time around because he is one of the top middleweights around.
What’s he got? He’s got skill. Has he got determination? I don’t know. Will he want it when it is getting tough? Don’t know.
Can he box? Of course he can. Is he a world class fighter? Yes he is, in my opinion.
We’ll see, I’ll start picking things off one by one. Please God everything goes well for me on September 16 because I want a big fight in December.
The little Canadian – David Lemieux – has had enough to say about it, but he didn’t want to fight me this time as mandatory, so we will see about next time.
First things first though and that is Monroe and I have been asked whether this is a fight that will gel stylistically.
Listen, we’re both boxers and we both like to take our time. I will make him work out of his comfort zone where he doesn’t want to work.
I will push that through and make sure it is me defending the WBO world middleweight title come December.