Billy Joe Saunders has confirmed they are looking at three potential opponents for his next fight on November 9 in LA and it’s not Gabriel Rosado (24-12-1), Fedor Chudinov (21-2) or Maciej Sulecki (28-2), despite speculation.
The WBO super-middleweight champion defends his belt for the first time at the Staples Center on the undercard of the controversial YouTubers professional boxing debut fight featuring KSI and Logan Paul.
Despite the general disagreement from the wider boxing community, the boxing event will likely be the biggest of the year, with an audience of many millions expected to tune in to watch.
The 30-year-old from Hatfield commented on the event in an interview with iFL TV, “I’m actually looking forward to it, I boxed in front of 20,000 people; look, people talk rubbish, ‘This is Billy Joe, this is a disgrace’… first of all, are they best fighters technically in the world? Definitely not. Do they deserve to be in that position they’re in? I’m gonna’ cut to the chase, yes. Anyone that can put themselves in that position with big companies like Matchroom, like DAZN, they’re clever businessmen, they might not be best fighters in the world but their audience is buying into it and, ya know, it makes money and you’ve got to take your hat off to them.
“So, if I can get on that bill, I’m not really known in America, alright I might be known by the boxing people but non-boxing people don’t know me, so if I put good performance on, financially, it’s a pretty good bill to be on.”
Regardless of the uproar, BJS, a two-weight world champion, is not embarrassed about being on the undercard of two debutants, stating that he is, “Far from insulted, I’m enjoying my first fight in America, I’m gonna’ go over there and put a good performance on and get a good win, that’s the aim and the goal, and hopefully I can get some new followers.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn added his take on the event, “You’ve got to use your brain, so do you wanna’ box on a show or box on a show that's 10 times bigger. They’ve built that profile, they’re not idiots, they’ve earned the right to make that kind of money because they’ve built this brand. Are they gonna’ win world titles? No, but, someone will knock someone spark out in that fight and it’ll be very amusing to watch. 10 oz gloves, no headguards, I don’t think they know what they’ve let their selves in for!”
Hearn then gave a very small vision into who his newest signing could be defending his world title to next, “I’d like an American,” he said. “Obviously he’s fighting in America and I think it makes sense – England v America.”
American fighters ranked highly with the World Boxing Organisation are Willie Munroe Jr (24-3) and Steven Nelson (15-0).
Billy defeated Willie on points in September 2017 at the Copper Box Arena, which was a fight designed to determine the next challenger to Canelo or Golovkin, which, of course, didn’t ever occur.
Other potential opponents have been speculated as James DeGale conqueror Caleb Truax (30-4-2); Mike Gavronski (26-3-1); former George Groves victim Dennis Douglin (22-6); and Peter Quillan (34-2-1), who narrowly lost just last weekend to Alfredo Angulo (26-7).
Eddie Hearn then alluded to a ‘monster fight’ for BJS in 2020, he stated, “Get this win and I can’t wait for 2020. I’m gonna’ call this now, I believe he’ll get the Canelo fight on Cinco de Mayo. I do believe that,” he assured adamantly.
“We’ve got the three fighters that I believe that a lot of people don’t want to fight – Billy, Callum [Smith], Demetrius [Andrade]. So if they don’t get those big fights then they’ll fight each other.
Canelo (52-1-2) next faces Sergey Kovalev (34-3-1) for the Russian’s WBO world light-heavyweight title in a bid to become a four-weight world champion.
The Mexican is significantly smaller than the six-foot-tall former unified champion, but Saunders doesn’t believe that will matter.
“Kovalev is past is sell by date,” Saunders quipped. “He’s a bigger version of Golovkin, but more slower. He’s only got that piercing jab, he hasn’t got as much pressure as Golovkin. He hasn’t lived the life as good as Golovkin, it’s no secret he likes a drink and I think it’s the right time.”
Saul Alvarez’s last fight was on May 5, Cinco de Mayo, a huge annual Mexican celebration, which is historically linked to big boxing events.
Canelo has fought on the Cinco de Mayo weekend for the past four years, starting with his third-round KO of James Kirkland in 2015. The Mexican superstar defeated Daniel Jacobs by UD on May 5 this year, fellow Mexican Julio Cesar Chavez Jr by UD on the same weekend last year, and Amir Khan by a brutal sixth-round KO in 2016.
If Eddie Hearn’s prediction comes true, then 2020 Cinco de Mayo will see Canelo face Billy Joe Saunders in what will be the biggest fight of the North Londoner’s entire boxing career, and a win that will determine either fighters' legacy.