Saunders targeting Golovkin or Eubank Jr. for next fight
By Scott Gilfoid: WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs) says he’s interested in facing either IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin or #1 WBA Chris Eubank Jr. for his next fight. It’s unclear which of the two of them the 26-year-old Saunders will be facing.
Saunders already beat Eubank Jr. in 2014, and Eubank Jr. has done very little since then in terms of beating quality opposition to redeem himself unless you consider fringe contender Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan, 40-year-old Tony Jeter and Dmitry Chudinov as quality opposition. Saunders would want his next fight to take place in the UK.
Golovkin, 33, seems to be on board with fighting in the UK, so that shouldn’t be a problem. It basically comes down to money and how much of a risk that Saunders wants to take. The Golokvin fight should pay more than a rematch with Eubank Jr., but it also pretty much guarantees a knockout loss for Saunders.
“The next time I’m here I either want to be playing as Arsenal’s new signing or a more realistic option is to fight Golovkin or Eubank,” Saunders said. “Golovkin would be a tremendous fight for British boxing. Muhammad Ali fought Henry Cooper at Highbury so in this new millennium what better than a super-unification fight between me and Golovkin? I know he was at West Ham the other week, but the Emirates is the place it has to be at. As for Eubank Jnr, he’s already had his backside kicked by me, what better than me kicking it again in front of 60,000 at Arsenal!”
I would be so surprised if Saunders chooses to fight Golovkin. I just can’t see that happening in his next fight. In my analysis of Saunders, he just doesn’t strike me as a risk taker. I see him as a play it safe type of guy that just wants to make a nice living without taking chances. I mean, Saunders would be impressing the heck out of the fans if he stepped up and fought Golovkin, but I just don’t see it.
There’s too much of a chance of Golovkin of giving Saunders a royal thrashing in front of his fans, and for some reason I don’t think Saunders fancies that idea too much. As such, I see him looking to go the retread route by facing Eubank Jr. again in hopes of duplicating the victory he got over him in 2014.
The thing is Saunders will likely get beaten sooner or later jus defending his title against the World Boxing Organization’s bottom ranked contenders. The WBO doesn’t have too many easy marks for Saunders to pick through for him to milk his title if that’s something he wants to do.
About the only guys in the WBO’s rankings that I would give Saunders a better than 50% chance of beating is #14 Kerry Hope and #15 Dominic Wade. Saunders could milk his title for two fights against those guys in voluntary defenses, but I don’t know if the fan interest would be there for those mismatches.
If Saunders fights any of the other top 15 contenders, I think there would be a good chance that he would get beaten, because most of those guys have more punching power than him in my view and would be all over him looking to blast him out. They wouldn’t be fighting timidly the way that former WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee was in his fight with Saunders last December.
Eubank Jr. created the blueprint in how to beat Saunders. He showed that if you come right at Saunders and pressure him for three minutes, he falls apart and gives up every round. Saunders has terrible stamina, and that’s also an area where the top contenders could expose him. In both of Saunder’s fights against Lee and Eubank Jr., he ran out of gas after just six rounds. That either could be a built in problem that will never be fixed, or it could be a sign that he’s fighting in the wrong weight class.
If Saunders is taking too much weight off to get down to the 160lb limit for his fights, then he’s probably going to continue to have stamina problems until he eventually moves up to 168 so that he doesn’t have to lose as much water weight to get down to the weight limit.