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Billy Joe Saunders suffers hand injury, pulls out of Bursak fight

Billy Joe SaundersBy Patrick McHugh: WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs) has suffered a hand injury in training for his April 30 title defense against #11 WBO Max Bursak at the Copper Box Arena in London, England.

The injury to Saunders’ left hand was serious enough for the 26-year-old to pull out of the Bursak fight entirely. Saunders suffered the hand injury training, and he’s said to be quite unhappy about it. This was considered a very winnable fight for Saunders, but by no means a wealk in the park for him. Bursak would have been a tough out, and Saunders would have needed to be at his best to get the victory.

With Bursak now out of the way, Saunders is in a good position to fight the winner of the April 23 fight between IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady “Triple G” Golovkin and Dominic Wade. That fight will be taking place in the States at the Forum in Inglewood, California. Golovkin’s promoter Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions very much would like to match Golovkin against Saunders if they can’t get a shot against WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in September, which would seem to be the case.

Canelo’s trainer Chepo Reynoso said this past week that Canelo won’t be ready to fight at the full weight of 160 for the middleweight division for at least three more fights. Golovkin says he doesn’t want to fight at 155. This means that Golovkin could turn to his Plan-B option of fighting Saunders. It would make for a good stadium fight in the UK between those two fighters if Saunders’ promoter can get Golovkin and Loeffler to agree to take the fight. It makes no sense to have Golovkin face Saunders in the States because there’s no money in the fight over there. Golovkin wouldn’t be able to sell out a comparable stadium like they could if they fought in the UK in a big football stadium.

“I’m bitterly disappointed. I was really looking forward to making the first defence of my world title against Max Bursak but this is boxing and these things happen. Now it’s all about recovering properly and looking forward to a big 2016,” said Saunders.

Some boxing fans will doubt the authenticity of Saunders’ hand injury. These fans will think that Saunders is just faking so that he can be in a better position to get the winner of the Golovkin vs. Wade fight right away. Saunders isn’t the type of fighter that would fake an injury though. One can only hope that his hand injury heals fast enough for him to be in the running for the Golovkin fight because there’s a lot of money that can be made in that match.

Golovkin vs. Canelo very likely won’t happen with the stance that Canelo is taking towards needing a catch-weight for him to face Golovkin. This puts Saunders in a good position to get a unification fight against golovkin if thst fight doesn’t happen.

Saunders is coming off of a 12 round majority decision win over WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee last December in Manchester, UK. Saunders knocked Lee down twice in the 3rd round, and then cruised to a 12 round victory. Saunders did fade a bit in the last half of the fight, but he had a big enough lead in the fight to hold on for the win.

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