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Who can be the man to defeat Golovkin? Ranking the contenders – Billy Joe Saunders

Andy Lee Billy Joe Saunders Daniel Jacobs David Lemieux Gennady Golovkin Peter QuillinBy Al Classico: Billy Joe Saunders (23-0, 12 KO’s), The undefeated WBO champion threw a real spanner into the works when he defeated Andy Lee in late 2015 and derailed a potential, higher profile  Lee- Golovkin showdown this year. With the defeat of Lee and the acquisition of a ‘world champion’ belt, his name was immediately thrust into the conversation as a next up Golovkin opponent.

According to some reports, there was an offer tabled to Saunders for a fight against Golovkin in April, however the negotiations collapsed, with money allegedly being the biggest barrier to the deal being struck. Saunders has since opted to go in a different direction at this stage of his career but hopefully this fight can be made at some point in the not-too-distant future as it will be a really intriguing match-up. So if the fight does eventually get made, how would Saunders fare if he were to step up and step into the ring with Golovkin?

Aside from Golovkin, I see Saunders as having the best fundamental boxing skills out of any other middleweight and I feel that he has the ring intelligence to match those skills. His footwork, jab and defense are all textbook. He is able to control range through his lateral movement and pivoting ability and whilst he doesn’t have huge punching power, he does have a fast jab and combinations to score points with and a great defense which allows him to get his shots off and then get out. Aside from his clear fundamental skills, he is a very intelligent fighter who doesn’t take any unnecessary risks, has slick inside movement and lots of tricks up his sleeve. He is also tough as nails which is a necessary pre-requisite to having any chance against a monster like Golovkin.

Just like any other fighter, he does posses weaknesses but the good news for him is that he is still relatively young at 26 and has the time to improve them, especially when his main weaknesses are not related to his boxing ability, but more to do with his fitness and stamina as he has shown a tendency to physically fade over the second half of fights.

His other big weakness is that he does not have huge punching power for a top tiered middleweight as is obvious from his knockout ratio, therefore he has had to rely on his skills alone to get the job done in nearly half of his fights. Compared to the other top middleweights such as Jacobs, Quillin, Lee, Lemeiux and of course Golovkin, who all boast above 80% knockout ratios, his power is meek which has resulted in more reliance and emphasis on skill. So far though, he has proven that he hasn’t needed power to get victories as he is still an undefeated fighter, however there is no doubt that he would like to have more firepower in his fists to go with his genuine boxing talent.

How is this fight likely to play out once the bell rings?

If they happen fight within the next year, then Golovkin will hold a big advantage, mainly due to his stamina, punching power and chin. I feel that Saunders will prove to be a real handful in the first half of the fight with his clever movement and range control, however once his stamina starts to fade, Golovkin will start timing and catching him and depending on Saunder’s ability to take Golovkin’s power, it could be a late TKO or if he hangs in there it may well go down to a rare decision win for GGG.

If this fight happens to take place in about a year or so, then I feel that it will be a lot closer than what most people would predict. If Saunders can get into tip top physical shape with a strict diet and lifestyle regimen and in the meantime have two more big fights against the other top 5 middleweights, then I feel he would have a real chance of upsetting Golovkin. There is almost a zero chance that Saunders will be able to knock Golovkin out but I feel that he certainly has the skills and capability to go 12 rounds with Golovkin and maybe even eek out a points decision win.

Most casual fans will  disagree with this prognosis as will many pure boxing fans, but none the less I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below on how you think this fight will play out if it does get made?

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