Billy Joe Saunders encounters little difficulty in latest defence of his WBO title 4 years ago

Billy Joe Saunders encounters little difficulty in latest defence of his WBO title

And still!

It wasn't a classic by any means but Billy Joe Saunders won't be bothered by that because he got the job done as he outpointed opponent Willie Monroe Jr. and successfully defended his WBO middleweight title on Saturday night.

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In the main event of the show at London's Copper Box Arena, Saunders extended his perfect professional record to 25 straight victories as he claimed a unanimous decision over his American opponent.

In reality, there was likely more captivating action at the weigh-ins for the fight, when Saunders' son bizarrely punched Monroe Jr. below the belt, than there was in the bout itself, which lacked any real fireworks.

Saunders realised early on that he was simply more comfortable in the ring than Monroe Jr. and while the Brit might be criticised for not pursuing the finish more aggressively, much of the blame has to be put on the challenger for failing to pull the trigger when he had to know he was trailing on the scorecards.

Not a great deal happened in the opening round as both men measured one another up and it was likely a round apiece by the time the third frame arrived.

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A clash of heads in the fourth round resulted in a nasty cut over Saunders' eye and it was initially bothering the 28-year-old in spite of his corner's assurances that it was "just a scratch."

There was a question of an elbow from Saunders on his opponent in the fifth round but the referee didn't deem it necessary to take a point and the contest continued.

If it was Saunders' intention to rattle Monroe Jr. with his dirty in-fighting at the midway point or even force him to open up with more emotional output, it didn't seem to work and viewers were beginning to lament the quality of the match-up as both men were accused of holding back.

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The pattern had been well-and-truly established in the second half of the tilt as Saunders knew that he just had to avoid the knockout, take a round or two off if he needed to and just use his sound basics in order to coast to a decision, which he did.

The judges scored the fight 117-111, 115-114 and 117-112 in favour of the champion, who has now defended his belt on two occasions since dethroning Andy Lee in late 2015.

Next up for Saunders could possibly be a unification clash with the winner of the long-awaited meeting of Gennady Golovkin and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, who take centre-stage in Las Vegas in just a few hours for a fight that has been years in the making.