WBO world middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders insists that he is ready to face either Gennady Golovkin or Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in his next fight, as long as a fair and concrete offer is put on the table.
Saunders had been scheduled to make the first defence of his belt last month but regrettably had to pull out of a fight with Max Bursak due to a hand injury. That setback quashed any plans of the 26-year old being in a summer stadium fight and Saunders is now looking at September to make his ring return.
Being one of only two legitimate word champions at the 160lb limit, Saunders (23-0, 12 KO) has become a major player in a division that is dominated by the WBC, WBA and IBF pound-for-pound rated titlist Golovkin. It is no secret that the Kazakhstani wants to become the undisputed middleweight king and a win over Saunders is all that stands in his way.
Saunders’ promoter Frank Warren has already stated his intentions to get the Hatfield southpaw a major fight in September so time will tell whether a Golovkin fight comes to fruition.
“Firstly, the hand is healing up really well and it’s good to have given it a rest,” the 26-year old Saunders exclusively told World Boxing News. “It is perfect and ready to go and it is now just about getting an opponent.
“September is the plan and I will be meeting with Frank soon to sort an opponent, although at the moment it seems that the big names are looking elsewhere. We get people contacting us all the time but they never really show too much intent. It’s a lot easier to talk up a fight but when it comes to signing papers it becomes a nightmare – that’s the side people don’t see.
“The super-fight with Golovkin is the big one and the one that can change everything for me and my family. I want the fight and I understand that he is one of the biggest names in boxing so it shouldn’t be all my own way. Even so, I have a lot of say and there are just a couple of little things I want my way, then we can fight,” he continued.
“Golovkin’s team say to the public that they’ve offered me the fight but we never even had an offer, money was discussed, nothing else. If everyone is paid well and we have decent judges, I am happy to fight. You saw it with Canelo against Khan and all the judges somehow had Canelo – the big PPV star – winning before the KO and it’s not fair on the challenger.
“Of course, I would rather fight at home but at the end of the day, you have to beat the best to be the best, whether it’s England or the USA and if I have to travel I will.”
Saunders concedes that there only a few names in the division that could make this potential ‘super fight’ a reality and one name he has been very vocal about is Canelo Alvarez who recently vacated his WBC belt which Is now held by Golovkin.
“I think Canelo is a coward and he has lost my respect through vacating the belt. I would never vacate my title to avoid someone and when you are in his position, held in such high regard, you should fight the best and not con the fans.
“My team has been speaking to Canelo’s team and they’re not sure whether he wants to fight at 160. He wants to fight at a lower weight but it’s all just to avoid Golovkin. I would never in a million years go down to 155, I’m a 160 champion, and that’s where I stay. If he wants to fight me, I’ll give him a shot but it’s got to be at the weight.
“There are three names in the hat for this super fight, Golovkin, Canelo and Chris Eubank Jr. but I want the Golovkin fight.”
Matt Horan is lead writer for WBN. Follow on Twitter @mhoran123