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GBP still wants Saunders for Canelo vs. Smith card


By Dan Ambrose: Golden Boy Promotions are hoping to add WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders for the September 17 card headlined by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez vs. WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Golden Boy vice president Eric Gomez is reportedly trying to work a deal to get Saunders on the undercard against an opponent still to be determined.

This would potentially help setup an eventual fight between Canelo and Saunders at some point in the future for his WBO middleweight title. It would make the young Canelo look good if he can be seen taking two scalps back to back in winning the WBO 154lb strap from Liam Smith and then the WBO 160lb belt from Saunders.

I think it’s a smart move by Golden Boy if they can swing it. However, the money would have to be worth it for Saunders to fight on the undercard of the Canelo-Smith card. Saunders is a popular fighter, and he obviously wouldn’t go for the idea of fighting for chump change on an undercard.

“We are in talks, trying to make it happen,” Gomez said to “Now that we’re back from this (press) tour (for Canelo and Smith in Texas and England) — now we can start going over the undercard and the details to see if we can get it done. As of right now, everything is up in the air. If we can make a deal, he’ll be on the card. We are in talks right now. We’re going to try and make it happen.”

The real question is would Saunders take less money to fight on the undercard of the Canelo vs. Smith card if he got an agreement in writing that he would get a fight against Canelo for December? That’s the only way I could see it worthwhile for Saunders. Otherwise, he would be better off headlining his own card in the UK against someone like Andy Lee or Tommy Langford.
Canelo might have some problems against Liam Smith. I wouldn’t look past that guy, because Smith can do a lot of the same things that Canelo can do as far as fighting on the inside and throwing body punches.

What Smith has going against him is the weight advantage that Canelo will probably have in this fight. I think Smith will be outweighed by as much as 15 to 20 pounds by a 180+ pound Canelo. Smith has done well fighting guys his own size during his career, but it could be a different story if Canelo comes into the ring in the 180s on the night. If Smith had a rehydration clause in the contract with Canelo, he’d stand a better chance. However, there isn’t a rehydration clause in the contract for this fight, so Smith will need to do without it.

“Canelo is headed to 160, so we’re trying to do as many middleweight fights as we can,” Gomez said. “But it’s too early to say (if he’ll fight Saunders after Smith). We’re taking this fight very seriously with Liam Smith.”

Saunders is probably not the best guy for Canelo to fight for him to get ready for a fight against Gennady “GGG” Golovkin next year. His fighting style is completely different from Golovkin, and I can’t see Saunders helping Canelo get ready for him. If Golden Boy wants to match Canelo up against Golovkin in 2017, then they need to put Canelo in with guys like Tureano Johnson and David Lemieux to get him ready for that fight. Saunders is not the ideal guy to get Canelo prepared for GGG.

I give Saunders a good chance of out-boxing Canelo if that fight takes place in December. Saunders is fast on his feet like Amir Khan, and slippery as an eel. He’s not easy to hit, and has sneaky power. I rate Saunders’ punching power as more than good enough to hurt Canelo.

Finding an opponent for Saunders to fight on September 17 could be hard if there’s not enough money. The contenders are going to want to be paid to fight Saunders for a world title. Golden Boy will need to come up with some money for this to work. It would be a good build up for a fight between Canelo and Saunders if they can get BJ on the undercard, but it’s going to take some smart negotiating to make it happen on Golden Boy’s part.

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