Former middleweight king Sergio Martinez has praised Billy Joe Saunders following the Briton’s impressive victory over David Lemieux late last year.
Saunders silenced any doubters who believed the WBO ruler couldn’t mix it at the top of the division with a masterclass decision over the tough Canadian and Martinez believes the 28 year-old is at the height of his powers.
“I think Saunders really did a great job, he was very smart and won the fight easily against a strong and dangerous guy in Lemieux,” Martinez exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I would also like to congratulate him for this success as he has now shown to everybody that he is in the top fighters of the division.”
Asked about Saunders’ chances against the likes of Gennady Golovkin or Canelo Alvarez, both of whom the Hatfield man wants to face, Martinez was reluctant to make a solid prediction before naming the ideal opponent for 2018.
“I don’t know if Saunders can win GGG or Canelo, but of course he can make a very good fight,” he pointed out.
“I would like to see him facing Danny Jacobs too. He is confident in the ring, and this characteristic is very important. I was confident too when I fought Paul Williams and Kelly Pavlik, and this was the key to my career.”
Pitted against a former Martinez opponent in Martin Murray on April 14, Saunders must win to land a chance against the trio mentioned in the future and ‘Maravilla’ can only see a win for the champion despite holding his old foe in high regard.
“It’s difficult for me to make a prediction because Martin is a great guy and I respect him a lot, but I think that now is Saunders’ time so he will win on points,” added Martinez.
Should Saunders come through Murray, he’s expected to be ringside to witness Golovkin v Canelo 2 in Las Vegas on May 5, with the possibility of landing the winner or even Jacobs in a fall blockbuster.
Phil Jay is Editor of World Boxing News. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay