Unbeaten WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) outboxed five-time world title challenger Martin Murray (39-6-1, 17 KOs) over twelve one-sided rounds on Friday night at the SSE Arena in London. Saunders completely befuddled and neutralized the 38-year-old Murray en route to scores of 120-109, 120-109, 118-110.
“I wasn’t really happy with that performance,” Saunders told Matchroom after the fight. “I’m not taking anything away from Martin, he came with a good game plan. He got through it. He tucked up and survived well. I can only be a bit critical of myself because I had a bit of ring rust. My jab was there but there was just that bit of snap missing. I was trying to look for stuff when naturally it’s there.
“When you’re in a training camp getting ready for Canelo Alvarez and you’re in the biggest fight of your life, you’ve got that fear factor and everything there, and then the pandemic came and I can only be thankful to be out this year. But then you’re back in camp and it’s a defense against Martin Murray, I was penciled in to fight him twice in 2018. It was sort of like a hard kick in the teeth. But look, I’ve got to be thankful my management team MTK that I’m even out this year.
“It is what it is, and we move on. I’m 30-0 and still unbeaten and still world champion. I’ve been world champion now since 2015. People can run my performance down but let’s make the big fights, because it’s certainly not me turning them away. Eddie knows that I’m always there to sign. I had the Canelo fight signed and it fell through, that’s nobody’s fault.
“Martin was a cunning old fox, he knew what he was doing and he had the ref on his side, he had the ref eating out of his hand. Fair play to him. I learnt a lot from him to be honest. Perhaps everything happens for a reason and I learnt a hell of a lot from the fight.
“Fair play to Callum Smith and I really do wish him all of the success in that fight. I think he’s got the tools to do the job. Canelo would have been training since May for this fight. He would have had Smith in his eyesight from day one. It’s been sprung on him at five or six weeks. They’re very clever in the way they work. If Smith has done his homework and prepared well then I give him a good chance of winning the fight. We are pushing for big fights constantly. After the Canelo fight, I want to know my next date. I’m not getting any younger and I want to show my full potential.”