WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders wants a unification bout against the winner of Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez, but his promoter said he'll have to fight someone else first.
Frank Warren, Saunders' promoter, spoke with ESPN and said Saunders won't be fighting on the July 4 card he was set to headline due to the recent arrest and indictment on his opponent Avtandil Khurtsidze. Saunders will instead fight in September, but is unsure of who his opponent will be. Khurtsidze is still tabbed as the mandatory challenger to Saunders' title, but his career is in doubt with the possibility of him facing jail time for a couple of decades if found guilty.
"We're upset with what has happened but Billy will fight now in September," Warren said. "He has got to have a fight that week of the Golovkin-Canelo fight, but not on the same bill. Billy has to fight his mandatory which is Khurtsidze, but I can't see how it's going to be him."
Golovkin will defend his unified WBA, WBC and IBF middleweight titles against Alvarez on September 16 in Las Vegas. Hearn said the plan is for Saunders to win his next fight and hope to have a unification bout afterwards.
"That's what Billy wants to do, to face the winner of that fight," Warren told ESPN. "If the winner of that fight wants all four belts, he will have to fight Billy. Billy has just been unlucky with injuries and now this. It will happen for him he just has to keep the WBO belt."
Saunders has only fought once since winning the title off of Andy Lee in late 2015, a unanimous decision victory against Artur Akavov late last year. There's no indication of who will fight Saunders if Khurtsidze is unable to fight, but the next challenger down the ranks would likely be former middleweight world champion David Lemieux. Hearn had said Daniel Jacobs, who lost his version of the WBA title to Golovkin back in March, is not being considered as an opponent.
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