Canelo’s promoter calls Saunders a runner, prefers GGG fight
By Scott Gilfoid: WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders won his fight last Saturday night against David Lemieux, but due to all the running he did in winning, he lost out on a chance to fight Saul Canelo Alvarez on May 5.
Canelo’s promoter Eric Gomez of Golden Boy Promotions says he was surprised at all the running that the 28-year-old Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) did in winning a 12 round unanimous decision over Lemieux (38-4, 33 KOs) at the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. Gomez says Saunders’ running was “annoying” to look at, and it reminded him of Erislandy Lara, who Canelo beat by a 12 round split decision on July 12, 2014. Canelo had to chase Lara around the ring for 12 rounds, and it was a terrible fight to watch from a fan’s perspective.
It was so obvious that Saunders was shooting himself in the foot with his decision run all night long against Lemieux instead of having a fight. Saunders probably didn’t understand that he was winning the battle by running from Lemieux, but losing the war for the fight for the Canelo and Golovkin match.
Those guys don’t want to fight runners. That’s the worst thing a fighter can be in the sport when you’re talking about them being interested in fighting superstars. The last thing superstars like Golovkin and Canelo want inside the ring with them is someone they’re going to have to chase around the ring for 12 rounds. Ultimately, they would likely have no problems beating Saunders, but it looks bad for their fans to have to watch them chase the guy nonstop. Canelo and Golovkin’s No.1 priority is to entertain the boxing public with their fights. They can’t do that when they fight a runner like Saunders. As such, Saunders royally blew it by choosing to run from Lemieux. Heck, Saunders probably would have beaten Lemieux if he’d stood his ground and used his hand speed advantage to get the better of the Canadian. Even if Saunders was knocked down 2 or 3 times in the fight, he still probably would have won, and he would have increase his chances of getting the winner or the loser of the Canelo-Golovkin fight.
“We already knew he was a good fighter but what surprised us is how much he runs,” said Gomez to ESPN Deportes in talking about Saunders’ running he did in his ugly 12 round decision win over Lemieux. ”He does not lend himself to a fight, he starts to run, and it’s a very annoying style,” said Gomez in continuing to criticize Saunders’ running against Lemieux. ”Canelo already fought with a similar style with Erislandy Lara and he passed it, so that we keep, the focus is the tiebreaker,” said Gomez.
Oh my, Gomez saying Saunders has “a very annoying style.” So there it is. Saunders is a runner, and Gomez and Canelo wants nothing to do with him. Oh well, that’s how it goes. You run from the battle field, and you lose the fight against Canelo. I guess there’s a lesson here somewhere for Saunders.
At this point I don’t know who else Saunders can fight other than Danny Jacobs. He called Saunders out for April 28. If Saunders is willing to come to the U.S. and deal with the hard shots and the fast feet of Jacobs, the fight is there for the taking. But, the way things are looking, Saunders can forget about a fight against Canelo, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he blew his chance for the Golovkin fight as well.
I hate to say it but one of the worst things a fighter can be branded in boxing is being called ‘a runner’, because once you’re seen as a that type of fighter, you can forget about the top guys wanting to fight you. Look Erislandy Lara; he hasn’t had an important fight since the Canelo match in 2014. He’s called out Canelo many times since then, as well as Golovkin, but he’s not gotten the fight. I doubt that Lara will ever be involved in a huge fight again unless it involves Showtime’s tournament level competition involving the junior middleweight champions. Those aren’t stars those.
Saunders needs to change the way he fights if he wants to get the big names to fight him. It might be too late though for Saunders to get Golovkin or Canelo to fight him. Saunders’ fight with Lemieux was likely seen by Canelo and Golovkin. We already know that Canelo won’t be fighting Saunders. I imagine Golovkin might be having second thoughts about wanting to add the WBO title to his collection of 160 lb. belts. It’s not that Golovkin is afraid of Saunders. It’s more likely the case of Golovkin not wanting to have to be seen chasing a fighter for 12 rounds, dealing with the running and holding. The boxing fans will likely be booing without stop, and Golovkin will look bad by association due to it being a fight he’s involved with. Lemieux would have looked bad even if he’d won last Saturday, because he was involved with the fight.
If Canelo and Golovkin choose to never fight Saunders, it puts him in a position where he’ll have to fight guys like Jacobs instead. I don’t think Saunders will keep his title if he’s forced to fight Jacobs. That’s not a good fight for Saunders.