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Saunders doubts Canelo or GGG will fight him now

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez David Lemieux Gennady Golovkin

By Scott Gilfoid: After his one-sided win over former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux (38-4, 33 KOs) last Saturday night, WBO middleweight belt holder Billy Joe Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) is chomping at the bit to get a big money fight against either Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez or IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin.

Saunders thinks those 2 won’t want to fight him now because he beat Lemieux, 28, so easily in winning a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision at the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec, Canada. The scores certainly reflected a one-sided win for Saunders with him winning by the scores 117-111, 118-110 and 120-108.

The fight was ugly to watch due to Saunders’ running. He was stinking up the joint with his constant movement. In terms of entertainment value, Saunders was a 1 on 10 scale. It was boring to watch Saunders land shots and run away. If you compare how Golovkin beat Lemieux to how Saunders did, it was like night and a day. Golovkin stayed in the pocket all night and pounded Lemieux until stopping him in the 8th. In contrast, Saunders was running from Lemieux the entire fight, and it was hard on the eyes to see the negative way he was fighting.

It’s unclear whether Canelo will be interested in fighting Saunders, because it’s not a fight that would sell in the U.S. Saunders is known in the UK, and he’s not particularly over there either. If Canelo has a desire to shut Saunders up, he might opt to take that fight, but winning all the titles at 160 is not one of Canelo’s goals. He’s more interested in taking on the biggest names out there. Unfortunately for Saunders, he’s not a big name worldwide.

“They won’t want to fight me now,” said Saunders to BoxNation about Canelo and Golovkin.
Well, Golovkin will want to fight Saunders, that’s for sure. Golovkin feels that he needs to win all the titles at 160 for some reason, as if having all the belts will somehow validate him. Personally, I think it’s a waste of time for Golovkin to fight a runner like Saunders.

Golovkin would end up having to chase Saunders around the ring for 12 rounds, and it would look bad. I don’t think the fight would entertain the U.S boxing fans, who prefer to see action when watching combat sports. The U.S fans aren’t going to want to see Saunders with his track shoes on running from Golovkin. It would be better for Golovkin to fight the likes of Jermall Charlo, Daniel Jacobs, Ryota Murata, Demetrius Andrade, Andy Lee and Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Perhaps even a third fight with Canelo would be good for Golovkin.

“So, we have to wait, probably until September,” said Warren to BoxNation about Saunders fighting the Canelo-Golovkin winner. “He has to fight and remain active,” said Warren about Saunders needing to stay active until he can potentially get a fight against the Canelo vs. Golovkin winner in September of next year.

If the 28-year-old Saunders is going to remain active, then it would be nice if he took an actual quality contender for his next fight instead of another bottom feeder. Lemieux was a good opponent, but I can’t say much for Saunders’ first 2 title defenses for his WBO belt against Artur Akavov and Willie Monroe Jr. I thought those were weak, title-marinating choices for Saunders. If you look at the WBO’s current top 15 rankings, they’re some good fighters in the top 4.

Here are the WBO’s top 4 ratings for middleweight:

1. David Lemieux

2. Rob Brant

3. Jermall Charlo

4. Daniel Jacobs

It would be good to see Saunders take on Charlo or Jacobs next. That would show some courage, as those guys have excellent power, and a good set of wheels to chase Saunders around the ring once he starts running from them, which I suspect he’ll be doing. Unfortunately, I don’t see Saunders mixing it up with either of those guys in his next defense.

These are going to be the likely pool of opponents for Saunders’ next title defense:

• Rob Brant – He’s unlikely to get the fight with Saunders because he’s coming off of a loss

• Rafael Bejaran

• Conrad Cummings

• Tommy Langford – recently beaten

• Luis Arias – recently beaten

• Hugo Centeno Jr. – expected to fight Jermall Charlo next for interim WBC middleweight title

• Walter Kautondokwo

• Alantez Fox – recently beaten

• Martin Murray – recently beaten many times

• Francis Lafreniere

• Maciej Sulecki

• Antoine Douglas – beaten last Saturday by Gary O’Sullivan

Of those fighters, I expect Saunders to fight either Murray or Langford, as those guys are both from the UK. If you wonder why Saunders isn’t a popular fighter worldwide, it’s easy to see why. He’s had too much soft match-making. Saunders tends to take the weaker opponents when making his title defenses, and just fighting in general.

If you look at Saunders’ resume, it’s mostly filled with fluff opposition apart from Chris Eubank Jr., Andy Lee and David Lemieux. Those are the only 3 talents on Saunders’ resume. That’s sad. As such, I suspect that Saunders will revert to form and take a bottom feeder for his next fight rather than a talent like Jacobs or Charlo. Coming events cast their shadows before. Saunders will stick to his old routine of taking the easy fights when he makes his next title defense, which is why I don’t see him being worth it for Golovkin or Canelo to fight.

Without Saunders being a popular fighter, he’s not worth it for Canelo and Golovkin to face him. Why go through the aggravation of having to face an unknown paper champion, who runs around the ring for 12 rounds. That won’t be entertaining for the U.S boxing fans that will be tuning in to see Golovkin or Canelo fight Saunders.

“There are loads of fights out there for me,” said Saunders to IFL TV. “I’ve had enough dog meat. Give me the dog himself, give me Golovkin or Canelo. They called me out when I was big and fat, 14 stone. Now come out and fight. Let’s fight now, and we’ll see what happens,” said Saunders.

Saunders is correct; there are loads of fights out there for him if he was only willing to take them. Saunders just wants the Canelo or Golovkin fight, because those matches will give him a big payday. It won’t matter if Saunders loses badly, which is what I predict will happen. Saunders will make so much money from either of those fights that it won’t matter if he’s knocked out or soundly beaten. He’ll get his cash out fight and he can retire after that. I suspect that’s what Saunders will do. I can’t see him hanging around after he loses to Canelo or Golovkin, because he would have to get in the trenches and take on a real contender like Charlo or Jacobs for him to earn a mandatory spot. Those guys will beat the brakes off of Saunders in my opinion.

”I don’t think they want to fight me,” said Saunders about GGG and Canelo. ”They want to stand there and look good against a punch bag. I’m not a punch bag. I won’t stand there and take shots,” said Saunders.

Saunders is partially right when he says Canelo and Golovkin won’t want to fight him. I don’t think Canelo wants to fight Saunders, because he’s an unknown in the U.S, and he doesn’t have a crowd-pleasing style. The U.S boxing fans prefer to see action fighters. Guys that have a spoiling style of fighting like Saunders aren’t the type of fighters that the U.S fans prefer to see. The fans want to action fights, and that’s why guys like Canelo and Golovkin are so popular. They’re not popular because of the way they look. They’re popular because of how they fight. The boxers that are runners aren’t as popular in the States. That’s just the way it is. If you had the misfortune of watching the Saunders-Lemieux fight last Saturday night, you saw Saunders in fine form, running around the ring for 12 rounds, putting the Canadian boxing fans asleep at ringside. The booing from the fans was constant from round 1 until round 12. The reason for that is because of Saunders decision to run from Lemieux.

The fans pay to see action, not running. I don’t think Canelo is going to waste his time fighting a runner like Saunders. Golovkin might want to because he’s interested in collecting all the titles at middleweight. I don’t think it’s a promising idea for Golovkin to take that fight with Saunders.

Golovkin would be better off facing guys that will stand and fight like Charlo, Andrade or Derevyanchenko. Daniel Jacobs uses a lot of movement. I don’t think he’s worth it for Golovkin to fight again unless he becomes his mandatory challenger. Jacobs will run around the ring all night long to evade Golovkin. I thought their fight earlier this year was boring to watch due to Jacobs’ running in the first 6 rounds, and even in the second half of the fight.

”Lemieux was saying I ran,” said Saunders. ”What am I going to do stand there and let you hit me on the chin? I’m a businessman.”

Well, it’s good that Saunders is at least admitting that he ran from Lemieux. It would be disappointing if Saunders tried denying reality by saying that he stood and slugged with Lemieux, because that didn’t happen last Saturday. It was pretty much pure running from Saunders. There are some guys that aren’t worth fighting due to them having a negative style, and I would put Saunders in that category. Nothing good could come of Canelo and Golovkin fighting Saunders, because they would have to chase him around the ring for 12 rounds. It would be a crowd-pleasing fight.

If Golovkin really has a desire to collect all the titles in the middleweight division, then he should go ahead and take the fight with Saunders. I don’t think it’s a fight that will help Golovkin’s popularity in the U.S, which is why I wouldn’t recommend he take it. Golovkin has already fought a runner in Jacobs. He doesn’t need to fight another runner. What Golovkin needs is to fight Andrade, Derevyanchenko and Charlo. Those should be Golovkin’s main targets if he gets past Canelo on May 5 in their rematch. I would place Saunders as a low priority if I were Golovkin. He’s got enough titles in his possession right now. Golovkin doesn’t need to win another middleweight title for him to be validated with the boxing public. He needs to focus what little time he has left in his career in taking the biggest fights, and I don’t consider Saunders a big fight. I see that as a low-level fight for Golovkin due to Saunders not being well-known in the U.S, and him having such an unpleasing style of fighting. Saunders’ performance last night against Lemieux was hard on the eye. I can’t remember the last time I saw so much running from a fighter.

”If they’re tied up for May [Canelo and Golovkin], I’ll sit down with [promoter] Frank [Warren] and we’ll see another match,” said Saunders.

Canelo and Golovkin ARE going to be tied up for May 5 for their rematch on HBO PPV. if Saunders wants to show the boxing world some courage and increase his popularity, he should look to make a fight with Andrade, Jacobs, Charlo or Derevyanchenko. Any of those 4 fighters would be PERFECT for Saunders. Do I see Saunders taking on any of those guys? No, I don’t. I predict that Saunders’ next opponent will be either Tommy Langford or Martin Murray. Those are both fringe contenders in the World Boxing Organization’s rankings at 160, and both are from the UK. Neither of them are a threat to beating Saunders, which obviously will help increase their chances of getting a fight with him. In Saunders’ first 2 title defenses, he milked his WBO title against Artur Akavov and Willie Monroe Jr. instead of taking on a dangerous opponent like Jacobs, Andrade, Derevyanchenko or Charlo.

“He’s a big puncher, but he’s got to hit you first,” said Saunders about Lemieux. “People don’t realize, when you make them miss, it takes a lot out of you. I got a good chin. He hit me with a clean shot once. It didn’t move me. He was a desperate man in there tonight,” said Saunders.

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