Andy Lee and Billy Joe Saunders are finally set to fight for Lee's WBO middleweight title on December 19 in Manchester, after two fight dates this fall were pushed back. The two sat down with BoxNation's Steve Bunce for the "Head to Head" feature, which is similar (or a carbon copy of) HBO's "Face Off."
Unlike some promos of this sort that we've seen, this isn't bombastic or combative. The two fighters are cordial with one another, showing a lot of respect and honesty about their styles, and about this matchup.
Lee (34-2-1, 24 KO) has leaned on his power in recent fights, coming from behind to beat John Jackson and Matt Korobov by stoppage, and using it to secure a rally draw against Peter Quillin, too. Lee believes he'll stop Saunders after the fifth round.
"I don't think Billy would disagree, I've been known to start slow, and he's been known to finish slow a little bit. Somewhere in the middle we're gonna meet, after five rounds," he said.
As for his power and his penchant for the comeback, Lee remarked, "If I have to draw upon it, I have to draw upon it. It's in my armory to do that, you know what I mean? As big as my punch is, my will is just as big. In those fights, being behind, to come back when everything was against me, that just shows my character. If I have to do it again, which I might have to do against Billy, I have to do it."
Saunders (22-0, 12 KO) says that he's going to have to be better than ever if he wants to take the belt from his opponent.
"To be honest with you, every fight I go to bed thinking all the time the worst case scenario. You've got to expect everything in that right. I've been in some fights where I think, this is gonna be a hard, hard fight. And all of a sudden I pull something out of the bag I don't know I've got," Saunders said.
"But this is something different. This is for something that since I've been five years old, I've been in the gym for. It's all been building up to this. Every fight I've been in knowing that I can go in and just do enough. Even the Eubank fight, go in there, just do enough, and take the win. I know I'm a class above them. But when you're fighting the world champion, you know this is a genuine 50-50 fight. I'm going to have to go in there and do something I haven't done before to win that belt."