Danny Jacobs calls out Billy Joe Saunders
By Scott Gilfoid: Billy Joe Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) doesn’t have to look very hard for his next opponent, as former WBA middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs) has already officially called him out for early 2018. Jacobs says there’s no excuse for Saunders not to take the fight with him, because he’s not going to be able to fight the top dogs at 160 Saul Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin, since they’re fighting a rematch on May 5.
Jacobs says a fight between himself and Saunders makes the most sense, considering they both must wait for the smoke to clear from the Canelo-GGG rematch before they can make their move to fight the winner.
Saunders, 28, defeated former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux (38-4, 33 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision last Saturday night to raise his profile in the boxing world. It was easily the best performance of Saunders’ career against a world class fighter. Saunders had looked shaky in his recent wins over Willie Monroe Jr. and Artur Akavov.
The only negative about Saunders’ win over Lemieux was the running that he did in the fight. Saunders fought on his back-foot way too much for him to look good and entertain the boxing fans. The fight was televised in the U.S, and American fans like to see action, not running. Boxing competes with MMA for eyeballs, and it doesn’t look good when you’ve got a runner like Saunders putting the fans to sleep. The Saunders-Lemieux fight took place at the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada.
“I thought it was what I expected, a boxing clinic by BJ Saunders,” said Jacobs on his Instagram in talking about Saunders’ one-sided win over Lemieux. “He looked really impressive. I think any skilled boxer would make Lemieux look really frustrated like that. I called him [Saunders] out several times, and he said he was willing to fight, we we’ll see what happens. What do you guys think about Billy Joe Saunders vs. Daniel Jacobs? Do you want to see it?” said Jacobs.
Saunders and his promoter both mentioned after the fight that they’re going to need to fight someone while they wait for the Canelo-Golovkin rematch to conclude. Saunders says he’s tired of fighting dog meat, and he wants to fight the top guys. Well, here’s Saunders’ chance of proving that by taking on Jacobs in the first half of 2018. If Saunders is willing to get back into the ring in the first quarter of next year, it would fit Jacobs’ schedule perfectly. He plans on fighting in April on HBO, and he still doesn’t have an opponent. It would be great for Saunders to take the fight with Jacobs at that time instead of waiting an entire 12 months before defending his title again like he did after he won the WBO belt in 2015. Saunders was out of the ring for exactly 12 months before he made his first defense against Artur Akavov in December 2016. After that fight, Saunders was out of the ring for 9 months before he defended his WBO title against Willie Monroe Jr. in September of 2017.
”This is an official call out. I want the fight,” said Jacobs in saying he wants to fight Saunders next. ”I want to make the fight happen. It’s so easy to make, and it makes so much sense, because Canelo and Triple G are fighting soon. There’s no other opponent for you, so let’s make the fight happen. People say he doesn’t want to fight. He’s mentioned before that he doesn’t want to fight me. He’s actually said it. There are no other fights that make sense to him right now. If he’s trying to get to the top dog, he’s tied up right now,” said Jacobs about Golovkin being tied up with Canelo.
Maybe Saunders will feel brave enough to take the fight with Jacobs after beating Lemieux? It’s possible that Saunders might feel he can defeat anyone in the middleweight division after his win over Lemieux. Unfortunately I don’t think that’s going to happen. When given the choice to pick opponents, Saunders has generally taken the easy route during his career. The Lemieux only happened because the World Boxing Organization ordered the title defense by Saunders. If they hadn’t done that, I suspect that Saunders would have picked out another bottom feeder for him to milk his WBO title.
“He’s a champion, but people consider me above him, as far as fans and the general consensus,” said Jacobs about Saunders. “People consider me one of the best if not the best middleweight in the world. Billy Joe Saunders just made a statement, but he still has go through Daniel Jacobs and top guys like that. Let’s make the fight happen. 2018, Saunders vs. Jacobs,” said Jacobs.
Jacobs is good at tooting his own horn, but he does have a point in saying that the boxing fans place him above Saunders in the middleweight division. I agree with Jacobs. Saunders is rated below Jacobs by a lot of boxing fans. Even after last night, I doubt that anyone will have Saunders above Jacobs, because he was just spoiling against a slow guy that looked thick around the midsection in Lemieux. It looked like Lemieux rehydrated too much. Lemieux looked really thick around the middle last night. It might be time for Lemieux to move up to the 168-lb. division, because he’s looking kind of portly now.
“You guys can expect to see me back on HBO in April,” said Jacobs. “Would I fight Billy Joe Saunders in England? Absolutely. I’d love to come to England, especially for a world title fight,” said Jacobs.
I highly doubt that Saunders will want any part of fighting Jacobs, because it’s too risky of a fight. Saunders will likely see his fight with Lemieux as being a big enough win for him to be given a free pass by the boxing fans to take another easy soft voluntary title defense for his next fight. Saunders will likely take on Martin Murray or Tommy Langford for his next defense of his WBO belt, and then look to try and fight the Canelo-Golovkin winner in September of next year. The sad thing about Saunders facing another weak opponent is he won’t be doing Canelo or Golovkin any favors, because the boxing public isn’t going to get excited about either of them fighting the little known WBO champion.
Saunders need to raise his profile in the U.S by taking a risky fight against Jacobs so he can make sure he gets the winner of the Canelo vs. Golovkin fight. I don’t think Saunders will do that though. I think he’ll do the opposite. Saunders will probably pick Murray or Langford for a safe title defense for domestic consumption. Saunders vs. Langford or Murray would interest British boxing fans, as they’re well-known over there. But it’s not going to increase his popularity where he needs it most in the U.S, because those guys aren’t well known to the casual boxing fans. Murray is known to the hardcore U.S fans as the guy that has been given multiple title shots that he’s lost. Langford is known for being the guy that was knocked out recently by Avtandil Khurtsidze.