Billy Joe Saunders has missed out on a massive middleweight unification with Gennady Golovkin in August following the Kazakh’s agreement with Canelo Alvarez.
Late on Wednesday, Golovkin and promoter Tom Loeffler managed to negotiate a deal with Canelo’s team at Golden Boy, which is reported to be MORE than the original 42.5% split of the purse.
Golovkin will meet Canelo for a second time on September 15, leaving Saunders out in the cold despite a handshake being in place on an August 25th collision.
Saunders, who is out injured with a hamstring problem, now faces a tough ask to find a high-profile opponent for the summer.
A fight in 2018 is highly unlikely for Saunders against either Golovkin or Canelo as Irishman Gary O’Sullivan has stated he’s featuring on their rematch undercard and will then fight the winner in December.
Asked on social media a couple of weeks ago if he was fighting Canelo next, O’Sullivan revealed all by saying: “As far as I’m aware the fight between GGG and Canelo will go ahead and I’ll be on the undercard. I’ll fight the winner once I win my fight.
“I was scheduled to fight Canelo in September after he was originally meant to fight GGG in May (but) then they got rescheduled for September.
“Now I’ll fight the winner of those two. (That) is my understanding and most likely in December, I hear.
“It’s been a long hard road but I’ve stayed on and learned from my defeats. I’m at my best and ready to take those belts when the time comes,” he added.
O’Sullivan’s revelation means the best Saunders can hope for is to offer the loser a shot at his belt, although whoever that is may need to get back in the win column first.
Should Canelo lose out to Golovkin in the second bout, the Mexican could then potentially be free to meet Saunders in Cinco de Mayo of next year.
A win for Golovkin and a December defense against O’Sullivan could then see Saunders hold out for the middleweight king, but even then, that still leaves April as the earliest opportunity.
Two injuries have blighted Saunders’ attempts to fight Martin Murray, and with Golovkin and Canelo trading blows again, the Briton could be on the outside looking in for the best part of ten months.
The IBF belt is back in play again with Sergey Derevyanchenko ready to meet the highest available contender, meaning Saunders has the option of chasing down the winner of that for a separate unification in the future.