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Warren says Saunders to fight next in spring

By Tim Royner: WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders will be fighting an opponent still to be determined in the spring of next year, according to his promoter Frank Warren. He wants the Saul Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin winner for Saunders. However, that fight won’t take place until May 5, 2018, and that leaves Saunders with a lot of free time while he waits for the outcome of that mega-fight.

In the meantime, Warren is going to match Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) in the first half of next year against somebody. Saunders needs a big win to keep the momentum going following his nice 12 round decision win over David Lemieux (38-4, 33 KOs) last Saturday night in Quebec, Canada.

“We’re going to find someone for him, and get him out in the spring,” said Warren in talking about Saunders’ next fight. “We take a risk when we feel it’s worth it.”

This is the WBO’s top 15 ranking that Saunder’s next opponent will likely be chosen from for the spring:

2. Rob Brant

3. Jermall Charlo

4. Daniel Jacobs

5. Francis Lafreniere

6. Walter Kautondokwo

7. Antoine Douglas

8. Alantez Fox

9. Maciej Sulecki

10. Martin Murray

11. Luis Arias

12. Hugo Centeno, Jr.

13. Tommy Langford

14. Conrad Cummings

15. Rafael Bejaran

“That’s the art of boxing. The art of hitting and not getting hit, and master class,” said Warren to IFL in talking of Saunders’ win over Lemieux. “They’ll be watching that fight. Of course, they will,” said Warren about Canelo and GGG having watched the Saunders-Lemieux fight. “They’ll be fighting each other in May. Bill has got to be in the picture [for GGG and Canelo]. That’s why we’re here tonight. We’re wanting HBO to push for that fight. This guy just did a master class. We want to see the winner [Canelo vs. Golovkin] in with him to see him unify the belts,” said Warren.

Canelo might not have watched the Saunders-Lemieux fight, but you can bet that Golovkin did. He’s the one that wants to fight for the WBO middleweight title.

Golden Boy Promotions saw their fighter Lemieux lose an important fight to Saunders. Lemieux was one of the options for Canelo to fight in May if the negotiations with Golovkin didn’t work out. Now there’s no way of using Lemieux for the Caneo fight in May. Lemieux is no longer an option for Canelo for the near future.

“We want either of them,” said Warren in talking of the Canelo or GGG for Saunders. “If that fight doesn’t come for us, then the first one that comes to us with the right money, we’re on.”

It’ll likely need to be a big offer for Warren to put Saunders in a risky fight against someone while he’s waiting on the Canelo vs. Golovkin winner. Danny Jacobs is an option for Saunders if the money is right. That might be too big of a risk though.

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