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GGG wants unification fight if no Canelo rematch

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez David Lemieux Gennady Golovkin

By Dan Ambrose: Gennady “GGG” Golovkin is ready to go after the winner of the December 16 fight between WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders and David Lemieux if he can’t get the rematch against Saul Canelo Alvarez on May 5, 2018.

IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) would prefer to face Canelo (49-1-2, 34 KOs) in a rematch so that he can prove to the boxing public that he’s the better fighter, but if that fight can’t be made, then GGG wants to face the Saunders-Lemieux winner to try and win the WBO belt.

Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) is in possession of that title, but he’s been ordered to face mandatory challenger Lemieux (38-3, 35 KOs). Here’s where it gets tricky. Lemieux is with Golden Boy Promotions, the same promoters that manage Canelo’s career. They’ve already made it clear that Lemieux is a potential opponent for Canelo if he wins the WBO belt off of Saunders. If Lemieux gets his hands on the WBO belt first, then Golovkin will need to likely wait until Canelo faces Lemieux before he can fight for that title.

“I would love to fight three or four times a year but I know it’s difficult,” said Golovkin to ESPN Deportes. ”If Canelo does not want the fight, obviously I would love to unify. I cannot put pressure on the WBO champion but if he wants, I will be willing because my dream is to have all titles,” said Golovkin.

Saunders is on board with fighting Golovkin if he gets past Lemieux. It’s going to be hard for Saunders to win that fight because he’s out-gunned in the power department by a huge margin, and the fight will be taking place in Lemieux’s home country of Canada. That means it’s going to be hard for Saunders to win a decision if the fight goes the full 12 rounds. Saunders would be better off not to even think about trying to make the fight last 12 rounds.

Saunders barely beat a very limited fringe contender in Artur Akavov in a narrow 12 round decision last year in December in the UK. Saunders possesses the stamina or the power to win a 12 round decision over Lemieux. If Saunders gasses out after the 5th round like he’s been doing, Lemieux is going to have a great chance of knocking him out.

Golovkin says he might move up to super middleweight in the future under the right circumstances for the right fight. With the pressure that Golovkin has on him to fight Canelo at least 2 more times, and then face Danny Jacobs, Jermall Charlo and whoever emerges as the winner of the Saunders-Lemieux fight, Golovkin could devote the remainder of his career just fighting those guys. Out of all those fights, there’s the potential for Golovkin to eat up the next 3 years of his career.

Golovkin also has the IBF mandatory challenger Sergiy Derevyanchenko that he’ll need to deal with sooner or later. Once the International Boxing Federation orders Golovkin to fight Derevyanchenchenko, he’ll have no choice but to take the fight if he wants to hold onto his IBF title. The IBF will strip Golovkin quickly if he fails to defend against their mandatory challenger once they get around to ordering him to take that fight. Derevyanchenko looked very good in stopping Tureano Johnson in the 12th round in their IBF 160 lb. title eliminator last summer on August 25. Derevyanchenchenko might prove to be more difficult than Charlo, Jacobs and Canelo for Golovkin, because he’s a sturdy fighter with excellent punching power and boxing skills.

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“I feel comfortable in 160 but if there is a big fight in 168 clear that it would go up,” said Golovkin. ”I would love to fight many years, three or five, but sometimes a blow can change the life.”

One appealing option for Golovkin would be for him to fight the winner of the World Boxing Super Series (WBSS) super middleweight tournament. Golovkin could gain a lot of attention if he moved up to 168 to face whoever emerges as the winner of the tournament. Golovkin could face one of these 4 fighters in the future if he moves to 168: Chris Eubank Jr., George Groves, Callum Smith or Juergen Braehmer.

Groves is expected to win the WBSS, but Eubank Jr. could pull off an upset by beating Groves in their next fight. Golovkin was in negotiations to fight Eubank Jr. last year in September in London, England. However, Eubank Jr’s promoter at the time, Eddie Hearn, chose to pull the plug on the GGG-Eubank Jr. negotiations and offer the same deal to welterweight Kell Brook, who readily agreed to it. In hindsight, Hearn should have stuck it out with the Golovkin vs. Eubank Jr. negotiations because Brook ended up suffering a bad eye injury in his loss to Triple G in their fight last September. Brook’s didn’t look like the same fighter in his last fight against Errol Spence Jr.

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Golovkin feels like he understands now how to beat Canelo now after their first fight on September 16. Golovkin feels he just needs more time to get to Canelo. Golovkin is not predicting a knockout, though. Golovkin realizes how hard it would be for him to KO a guy of Canelo’s class.

“I think I just need more time (to beat him),” said Golovkin about Canelo. ”I feel like I won the first fight and I’m not going to say I’m going to knock him out because this is a tough sport, and I think it will be a tough fight for both of us,” said Golovkin.

Golovkin should worry about getting the Canelo fight before he starts thinking about whether he’ll win or not. It’s unclear whether the rematch will take place next May. They will fight each other again, but it might not take place in May. Golovkin should think about trying for the winner of the Saunders-Lemieux fight or taking care of Jacobs, Charlo or Derevyanchenko. With the huge amount of interest coming from the WBSS, Golovkin could also move up to 168 and take the winner of that tournament straightaway in the first half of 2018. That would be one way for Golovkin to take advantage of the interest that will surround the winner of the WBSS.

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