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Saunders’ promoter says they’re interested in Golovkin fight

Billy Joe Saunders boxing photo

By Jeff Aranow: WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders’ promoter Frank Warren refutes what IBF/IBO/WBA/WBC middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez said last weekend about Saunders not being interested in facing GGG. Warren says it’s not true. They are interested in the Golovkin fight, and Billy Joe (26-0, 12 KOs) had even signed his part of the contract for a fight against the Kazakhstan fighter.

Never the less, the Golovkin-Saunders fight didn’t happen. Golovkin defeated Vanes Martirosyan last Saturday night by a 2nd round knockout, and now he could be facing Saul Canelo Alvarez in a rematch next on September 15 if the two sides can agree on the purse split, drug testing and venue.

“This is just simply not true!,” Warren said about Sanchez’s comments about Saunders not wanting the fight with Triple G. “Billy Joe Saunders signed his part of the contract to face Gennady Golovkin in Kazakhstan last June and then GGG’s side wasn’t signed.”

A unification fight between Golovkin and Saunders will need to wait until both fighters win their next fights, and even then, it’s still unknown if the match will get made. Saunders will be making his fourth defense of his World Boxing Organization 160lb title against 35-year-old Martin Murray (36-4-1, 17 KOs) on June 23 at the O2 Arena in London, England. Saunders is currently injured – again – and looking to get back into the ring to face Murray next month. The fight had to be postponed already due to a hand injury Saunders suffered. This is the third time that Saunders has been injured since he won the WBO belt in beating Andy Lee by a 12 round majority decision in December 2015. Saunders took a year before defending the title for the first time in beating fringe contender Artur Akavov by a 12 round unanimous decision in December 2016.

If Golovkin and Saunders lose in one of their title defenses, then they can forget about a fight between them being worthwhile. The GGG-Saunders fight is only interesting now for the boxing fans is because they’re world champions and they’re unbeaten. The American fans aren’t excited about seeing Golovkin fight Saunders. They would rather see Golovkin fight Canelo, Daniel Jacobs and Jermall Charlo. Saunders isn’t someone that the American fans care about, and that’s because they don’t know who he is. The U.S hardcore boxing fans obviously know who Saunders is, but they’re impressed by him and they just see him as a defensive fighter who spoils. Saunders is not viewed as an exciting fighter. He’s an acquired taste.

Here’s what Golovkin’s trainer Abel Sanchez said last Saturday night about his doubts that Saunders would ever face GGG:

“We know now that he’s never going to be unified champion,” Sanchez said last week following Golovkin’s 2nd round knockout win over Vanes Martirosyan at the StubHub Center in Carson, California. “Saunders is never going to fight him, because Saunders is looking for lottery money. He’s waiting for the opportunity and Saunders doesn’t want to fight him. He asked for $7 million to fight Jacobs. Imagine [what he’d want for a fight against] Golovkin, Anthony Joshua money. So, we’re kind of certain we’re not going to get that belt. The belts are not as important as what is in Gennady’s best interest,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez is assuming that Saunders will price himself out of the fight with GGG by asking for $7+ million to fight him, when in fact there’s not likely going to be much money for the fight on the U.S side. You can’t see Golovkin vs. Saunders on HBO PPV, because it won’t sell. Saunders is an unknown, and his defensive style of fighting suggests that the fight is going to be a track meet with Saunders running the ring for 12 rounds trying to keep away from Golovkin.

“If you are really serious about fighting for all the belts, get your promoter to call me and let’s get the fight made,” Warren said.

Sanchez said that the guy that he wants Golovkin to fight if the Canelo rematch doesn’t take place in September is WBA World middleweight champion Ryota Murata. Sanchez likes that fight because the fight will bring in a lot of money in Japan, and a lot of tickets will be sold in that country. Murata is popular in Tokyo, Japan due to him being 2012 Olympic gold medalist for that country.

Sanchez thinks Golovkin-Murata will sellout a stadium in Japan. Golovkin vs. Saunders probably won’t sell out any venue in the U.S. or in the UK for that matter. Golovkin wants to win the last remaining title not in his possession in going after the WBO strap, but unfortunately, it’s not in his best interest to do that. GGG can make good money fighting the likes of Murata, Jacobs and Charlo rather than wasting time defending his three middleweight world titles and going after the final world title not in his possession.

Saunders is coming from a 12 round unanimous decision win over former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux last December in Canada. Saunders looked good in winning a 12 round decision. The performance might have hurt Saunders’ case for him to get a fight with Saul Canelo Alvarez, because his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions didn’t like the running that he was doing. Canelo doesn’t like to fight runners after his fight with Erislandy Lara in 2014.

Saunders needs to hope that Golovkin beats Canelo in the rematch because he might not ever a chance at fighting the Mexican star.

Golovkin’s team will be meeting with Golden Boy next week to put together a deal for a rematch on September 15 on HBO PPV.

It’ll be bad for Saunders if the International Boxing Federation strips Triple G of his IBF 160lb title, because then it’ll be pointless for him to go after the WBO belt. Golovkin’s dream of unifying the middleweight division will be dashed. GGG can still pursue that dream, but with the time wasting mandatory defenses slowing him down from winning all the belts, it would be better for him to forget about collecting the titles. Golovkin is better off making the fights that the fans want to see rather than collecting meaningless titles over weak champions.

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