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Jermell Charlo: Billy Joe Saunders is losing his title this year

By Jeff Aranow: WBC junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo says WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders is the least popular of the 160 lb. champions, and he’s going to be getting beaten this year. Saunders is looking to play it safe in his next fight by defending his WBO title against #10 WBO Martin Murray (36-4-1, 17 KOs) on April 14 in the UK.


This will be Saunders’ 3rd voluntary title defense since winning the WBO 160 lb. title 3 years ago in December 2015. Saunders has not been taking any real risks in defending his WBO title in voluntary defenses against fringe contenders Artur Akavov, Willie Monroe Jr. and now Martin Murray.

The World Boxing Organization recently made things easy for Saunders by installing David Lemieux as his mandatory challenger and ordering him to defend his belt against him last December. For all intents and purposes, Lemieux was another voluntary defense as well, because he had no real talent and it was one-sided win. It was an easier fight for Saunders than in his mismatches against Monroe Jr. and Akavov.

Charlo (30-0, 15 KOs) hopes Saunders will lose to his brother Jermall Charlo (26-0, 20 KOs), who now fights at middleweight and is ranked #5 by the World Boxing Organization. The 27-year-old Jermall Charlo is ranked high enough for the WBO to order Saunders to face him, and that’s probably only way he’s going to ever get a fight against him. Saunders already turned down a fight against #4 WBO Daniel Jacobs by saying he needs a $7 million payday to fight him. Saunders is certainly not going to take on a dangerous fighter like Jermall or Jermell Charlo. If Saunders isn’t willing to fight Jacobs, then he sure as heck won’t agree to face the dangerous Charlo brothers.

“Billy Joe Saunders, he needs to build his name up,” Jermell Charlo said to Fighthype. ”For a UK fighter, he is the least popular guy. This guy is going to lose his title this year. I hope it’s to my brother. I don’t know what this clown is talking about. I’m waiting on whoever wins. I’m moving up in levels. I do live a very prestigious life,” Jermell said.


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There’s no question that Saunders is the least popular of the main champions at 160. There’s also Ryota Murata, who technically is one of the champions at middleweight, but he’s not popular at all in the U.S. He’s not well-known. Jermell Charlo won’t get a shot against Saunders at this point. He’s no better shape than his brother Jermall Charlo in terms of being able to get a title shot against Saunders. Both Charlo brothers would likely beat Saunders with ease, but they’re not going to get a chance to prove that because he’s not going to let them get a chance to beat him.

Saunders is waiting for that big money fight against Canelo or Triple G. If that fight doesn’t take place, then Saunders will likely continue to milk his title in facing weak opposition in his voluntary defenses while waiting/hoping that Canelo and Golovkin eventually look his way for a big payday fight. It would be in Saunders’ best interest to change his fighting style to become a little more willing to engage in terms of his fighting style, because he’s too much of a spoiler for his own good.

Saunders is not going to step up the way that Charlo wants him to to build his name up. I mean, Saunders is hoping to step up to face the winner of the rematch between Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin and Saul Canelo Alvarez on May 5, but that’s a big payday cash out fight for him. Saunders isn’t going to beat the winner of that fight if he can even get the winner. Saunders is taking it easy until then by fighting Murray instead of a good fighter like Jermall Charlo or Daniel Jacobs.

If the winner of the Golovkin-Canelo 2 rematch doesn’t take the fight with Saunders, then we’re likely going to see Billy Joe take another voluntary defense against another bottom feeder. Saunders likely isn’t going to fight anyone good in a title defense unless the WBO. He’s not going to fight Charlo, Demetrius Andrade or Jacobs unless he’s forced to. The WBO will probably give Saunders the option of taking another voluntary defense after his fight against Martin Murray on April 14 if he doesn’t face the winner of the Canelo-GGG in a unification fight.

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“He fought the kind of fight that he needed to fight against a dead man,” Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez said to Fighthype about Saunders in his recent win over David Lemieux. “He fought a guy with 2 left feet. Golovkin proved that when he fought him. I hope that if this fight with Canelo gets made, then the winner will get the WBO shot and make it a unification fight. I hope he doesn’t price himself out,” said Sanchez in talking about Saunders. “But was talking after his last fight that he wants to fight Danny Jacobs, but he wants $7 million dollars. That amount is ridiculous. He can’t draw that kind of money,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez is being naïve here. Saunders isn’t going to get $7 million fighting Golovkin. That’s not going to happen. Maybe if Saunders fights Canelo, he might get that kind of money, but I doubt it. Canelo-Saunders won’t draw flies in the U.S in terms of PPV buys. Few boxing fans are going to want to order a fight like that.

I don’t think Sanchez quite understands why Saunders was asking for $7 million for the Jacobs fight. Saunders wasn’t asking for that money because he thought he had any chance of getting it. He was basically pricing himself out, so he would have an excuse not to fight Jacobs and potentially lose the fight. Saunders isn’t serious about wanting to fight anyone good other than Canelo or Golovkin, because those guys will give him a big payday, which is all he’s interested in.

”Maybe the winner of Canelo-Golovkin can support that,” said Sanchez in talking about Saunders and him wanting to get $7 million. ”He seems to be wanting to wait around for the winner of Canelo-Golovkin. Hopefully, the winner of this fight will be big enough to support that kind of pay for an opponent like Billy Joe Saunders. I saw that Lemieux was not very creative. He did the same things over and over again. Billy Joe is a decent boxer,” said Sanchez.




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