The Big Question: Lee vs Saunders - who wins?
This Saturday finally sees the long-awaited confrontation between exciting WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee and undefeated No.1 contender Billy Joe Saunders. Our ‘Big Question’ this week is a simple one – who wins? Boxing Monthly's online team give their verdict.
I’m struggling to remember the last time I picked somebody seen as a puncher to beat a boxer but I’m going to go for Andy Lee to stop Billy Joe Saunders in the final quarter of a nip and tuck fight. I think Lee’s skills are underrated and they will keep him in the fight throughout. He will probably find himself a round or two behind but should find a way to win as the final bell looms.
It is one of the hardest fights of the year to predict but, when in doubt, follow the wise words of Roy Walker and, "Say what you see." Billy Joe has never shown any weakness in regards to taking a punch, but has faded in a couple of fights whilst Lee has shown that he can maintain his belief when behind and turn things around with a single shot. - John Evans.
Don't remember the last time I tipped a fight to be a draw but I'm doing it for Lee vs Saunders. I don't see anything else other than a fast start by Saunders, banking the early rounds before Lee takes over in the second half of the fight. Andy carries his power 1-12, but I'm convinced he doesn't stop or KO Saunders. What may swing it is what each man does in each half of the fight where they are - by history - least strongest. They might nick a round here or there but I see neither man being separated by the judges in an absorbing contest that might get repeated somewhere down the line. - Shaun Brown.
Saunders carries plenty of momentum coming into this bout and has youth on his side as well. But when it comes to experience there is no comparison. Lee has faced the greater opposition and, although he hasn't looked spectacular as of late, he's the bigger, more battle-tested veteran and thus should be favored. Look for a fast start from Saunders in the early rounds, then Lee narrows the gap in the middle rounds and takes over late with that monster right hook of his. - Michael Montero.
Saunders' high work-rate and solid chin give him a real opportunity to dethrone Andy Lee on Saturday night but the champion will be out to prove that he has more in his arsenal than a dangerous hook.
Billy Joe will start quickly but Lee's boxing skills are underrated and, although I can see him trailing on the cards by halfway, he will still be in touching distance to test the challenger’s stamina in the championship rounds.
This fight is one of the harder picks to make, but I'm going to say Saunders will build up a big enough lead and survive a few rough moments late on in the contest to take the title via a spilt decision in an absorbing battle. - Danny Winterbottom.
If Saunders wins, it's on points through a cute performance, behind a sterling southpaw jab. If he gets caught up in a scrap, his granite chin will be put to the test by Lee's right hook. If Lee wins, I'd say it's got to be via stoppage. I just can't see him outworking Saunders. Verdict - Saunders on points. - Paul Zanon.
I'm having a tough time seeing how this goes, but when you combine Saunders’ work ethic with his chin, I have to favour him to win. It's a very close fight and wouldn't surprise me in the least if Lee found a way to victory, but Saunders is the more well-rounded boxer and should win if it goes to the scorecards. - Shawn Smith.
A real Christmas cracker to end a great year of boxing. The bookmakers can't separate these two (both men were 10/11 the last time I looked) and I'm also finding it fiendishly difficult. The greater power rests with Lee, while the superior work-rate resides with Saunders. Add to this the fact that both men possess huge amounts of heart and you've got all the ingredients for a total thriller. I've got a feeling that Lee will pull it off by nicking a split decision victory courtesy of scoring a flash knockdown at some point. Due to the inevitable controversy of such a tight decision, they'll probably have to do it all over again in 2016. - Luke Williams.
I'll go with Saunders: the wolf climbing the hill is a tiny big hungrier than the wolf on top. - Colin Harris.
When this fight was first announced, my thoughts were that Lee would be too big, too experienced and hit too hard for Saunders. As the fight gets nearer, I'm starting to think that the timing might be right for Saunders, yes Lee hits hard but Saunders has a good chin and, despite getting hit by some big punches by Eubank, he wasn't seriously troubled. The truth is this fight is very evenly matched on paper and pretty much anything can happen but the pick is for Saunders to start fast and build a solid lead, Lee will rally late on but he will leave it too late and Saunders will take the title by a comfortable decision, something around the 116-112 mark. Saunders by UD. - Callum Rudge.
Lee: 3 votes. Saunders: 5 votes. Draw: 1 vote.