Now that Billy Joe Saunders has silenced his doubters and beat former world champion David Lemieux, his sights are now set on getting the big money fight with either Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin.
Speaking to the media after his lopsided unanimous decision win over Lemieux on HBO, Saunders said he’s now ready to face two of the sport’s top global stars. Saunders made his third successful defense of his title on December 16, now about two years into his current reign.
“I’m the best now. That’s what [the victory] means. I’m world champion, performing like a world champion. Golovkin or Canelo, I’m ready. Don’t call me out when I’m fat and unfit and not in love with boxing. Fight me now, when I love boxing and I’m performing. Now fight me,” Saunders said.
Saunders will likely have to wait a while before getting to fight either man. Canelo and Golovkin fought in a megafight on September 16, but their fight ended in a split draw and now the two of them will probably fight next May. A rematch had been ordered by the WBC and negotiations for a rematch are nearing completion with a reported May 5 date at Las Vegas, the site of the first fight between the two.
Should Saunders fight the winner of the Canelo vs. Golovkin rematch, it will likely be a unification of every major organization’s main world title. While Saunders holds the WBO title, Golovkin holds the WBA “super,” WBC and IBF titles. A unification of that magnitude is a rarity within the sport and it would leave the middleweights with just two world champions (Ryota Murata holds the WBA “regular” title). Saunders had been trying to get a fight with Golovkin for some time, even going as far as to issue an ultimatum of sorts, but a fight between the two never entered serious negotiations.