By Scott Gilfoid
WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders says he’ll still give Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin a crack at his WBO title even if he loses his May 5th fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez. However, for Golovkin to get the title shot against him, Saunders says he’ll have to understand that he’s the B-side in the negotiations, and he’ll need to agree to fight him in the UK.
That’s not all. Saunders says Golovkin will also need to get a victory under his belt against someone else before he faces him. Saunders won’t fight Golovkin straightaway with him coming off of a defeat to Canelo. In other words, Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) will need to earn the title shot against Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs).
Golovkin would likely have no issues with fighting Saunders in the UK, as he’s already fought over there two years ago when he stopped Kell Brook in the 5th round in September 2016. However, it’s doubtful that GGG will accept the smaller purse than Saunders, and I doubt that he’ll agree to earning the title shot first by beating someone else. I don’t see that as being realistic. It’s more likely that not that if Saunders insists on getting the bigger purse than GGG on top of having him come to the UK, that will be enough to keep the fight from taking place. Insisting on Golovkin winning a fight before he agrees to face him would be the clincher for the fight not taking place.
“He has to realize that if he sits at the table without all his belts, then he becomes the B-side and I become the A-side, because most definitely it’ll happen in England,”Saunders said to Behind The Gloves about a fight against Golovkin with him coming off of a loss to Canelo. “Certainly, 100 percent, I’ll give him a shot and a chance, but I think he’ll need to find to get a win first.”
Wow, Saunders really talking himself out of another fight with Golovkin. It’s strange that Saunders seems to want the fight with GGG, but then when push comes to shove, he sets it up to where it’s impossible fight to be made. I don’t think Golovkin is going to grovel to get the fight with Saunders. He’s not going to slink to the negotiating table and give in to whatever conditions Saunders wants. If that’s what Golovkin must do to get the fight with Saunders, then there won’t be a fight between them. Saunders will need to soon defend against Demetrius Andrade or Daniel Jacobs, as those two are rated #1 and #2 respectively with the world Boxing Organization. It’s in Saunders’ best interest to try and make the GGG fight happen soon before he’s eventually ordered to face one of those guys. It’s not going to work for Saunders to try and get Golovkin to agree to be the B-side in the negotiations.
“I beat Spike, so I would have thought that Canelo would be looking for a unification,” Saunders said to Behind The Gloves about who Canelo will fight in September if he defeats GGG on May 5th. “Hopefully, Golovkin wins, because that fight can be easily made. I’m hoping he wins that fight with Canelo. I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Golovkin to win. I know the fight with Canelo won’t happen. My style is wrongly suited for Canelo, and he knows that. I’m not saying Canelo is scared. His team knows my style is not suited for him. Amir Khan was beating him. I don’t think my style of boxing suits his style for the business point of view. If I was a slugger that would stand and half a fight like Spike will, then it puts the chips in his corner a little bit. I’m not that kind of fighter,” Saunders said. “Hopefully, he wins [against Canelo]. I think it’ll be a very tough job. He’s against the judge, he’s against the referee, and he’s against Golden Boy. He’s got the cards stacked up against him, because I thought he won the last time clearly by 3 points, but they gave it a draw,” Saunders said.
Saunders is just a one-belt champion, and that’s the World Boxing Organization strap. That’s not the title that the boxers covet with the WBC strap. Saunders is a belt holder. He’s not considered the champion at 160. The middleweight champion of the division is Golovkin right now. Even if Golovkin loses to Canelo, Saunders won’t be considered the champion. Saunders would need more than the WBO strap for him to be the A-side against Golovkin. Saunder’s resume is empty of quality wins. He has the victories over David Lemieux and Chris Eubank Jr., and that’s it.
Saunders doesn’t have enough cache for him to dictate terms for a fight between him and GGG. It’s too bad but I don’t see a fight between Saunders and Golovkin happening under a scenario where the Kazakhstan fighter is coming off of a loss to Canelo Alvarez on May 5th. However, there’s a very good chance that Golovkin will beat Canelo in their rematch two months from now. If Saunders really wants the fight with Golovkin, he’ll have to realize that he’s the worldwide star. A loss to Canelo won’t change that one bit. If another controversial fight between Canelo and GGG, then it won’t matter if he loses the fight. Golovkin will still be viewed as the champion by the boxing world. Hopefully, the judges have their heads screwed on straight on May 5th, and they don’t come up with some wacky scores like in the first Canelo-GGG fight.
“Most definitely not,” Saunders said when asked if he thought Canelo accidentally tested positive for clenbuterol. “The bulk up in size; if a fighter goes into camp 12 weeks before the fight, and he’s got 6 weeks to make weight and he’s only got 6 weeks to train, if you take them [clenbuterol], you might have 9 weeks to rain and only 3 weeks of losing weight. So it helps a lot. It helps with breathing. Personally, I like him as a fighter, but he’s a drug cheat,” Saunders said of Canelo.
Saunders has been very vocal about his belief that he thinks Canelo cheated when he tested positive for clenbuterol twice last February during the VADA conducted tests for the Canelo-GGG 2 rematch at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Saunders says Canelo’s weight bulking up was a sign to him that he was using clenbuterol. Never the less, Saunders still sees the Canelo vs. Golovkin 2 fight happening without a drug suspension for the Golden Boy star.
“Doing that, you put other people’s lives at risk,” Saunders said about fighters that use performance enhancing drugs. ”It’s not good because I’ve seen a lot of deaths in the sport lately, and that brings a black cloud over the sport when someone gets caught at that level. You can’t do that. It’s bizarre to do something like that. One million percent, I think they should be banned for life, and not be allowed to box and compete. Boxing needs to be kept fair and on an even playing field,” Saunders said.
Since the Commissions aren’t about to start giving fighters lifetime bans when they test positive for performance enhancing drugs like clenbuterol, you can only hope that they make sure they make it less tempting for fighters to use the drugs by handing out length suspensions and big fines.
Saunders suffered a hand injury this week while training for his April 14th title defense against Martin Murray. The fight has been postponed until June 23 at the O2 Arena in London, UK. The postponement works Well for Saunders, as he can likely face Golovkin in November or December of this year. Of course, if Golovkin loses to Canelo on May 5th, then a fight between GGG and Saunders would seem unlikely if he has to agree to being the B-side and fighting in the UK.