by Tamas Pradarics
It seemed to be a clear path in front of Billy Joe Saunders, who was scheduled to defend his WBO middleweight championship on Sept 16 in London. Beat Willie Monroe Jr in a twelve round mandatory matchup, take a shower, and sit down with a beer and enjoy Gennady Golovkin vs Saul Alvarez on TV that was about to start a couple of hours later. Whoever the winner is, he would have become the next opponent for the undefeated Englishman.
Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) decisioned Monroe, took the shower, and, possibly, grabbed the beer. The only problem is the Las Vegas super-fight that was about to decide who the new standard-bearer in the sport will be ended up being a draw. Given the fact Golovkin and Alvarez were making huge numbers with their highly celebrated showdown, the two most likely keep concentrating on each other rather than thinking about a fight with Saunders.
Frank Warren, the promoter of Billy Joe made it sure his protégé is about to return in a December date with or without GGG or Canelo. With Saunders handling his mandatory obligations this past Saturday, the return could be a voluntary against any of the top rated contenders by the WBO.
One of the ranked fighters has already offered his services for a showdown against the reigning belt holder. Walter Kautondokwa (15-0, 14 KOs) currently stands at No. 7 by the Puerto Rico-based organization, and he would happily take the spot as the next challenger of Saunders.
”Let me first congratulate Saunders for yet another win. He is the current WBO champion and for that, I respect him like I respect all champions. That said, I do not think any fighter in this division will stand any chance against me. I bring something new to boxing which has not been seen in a long time, which is a real educated power that will send you straight to sleep,” said a confident Kautondokwa to BoxingScene.com.
The Namibian contender has yet to leave his continent but has already proved he is the next worthy pugilist Africa can offer the world stage. The undefeated Kautondokwa’s manager, Nestor Tobias is not quite impressed by the recent performance of Saunders and thinks his fighter could have fared way better for the championship.
”It was a poor performance from Saunders and congratulations to him. I just wish it was Walter in the ring with him because things would have turned out very different for him,” Tobias said.
The manager, who has already given boxing three Namibian world champions in the last couple of years, doubts Billy Joe could surprise the best 160-pounder and one of the finest P4P fighters in Golovkin in a fist fight.
”I do not think Saunders would stand any chance against Golovkin. GGG has a big heart and he has a good chin, he knows how to fight and he is a warrior. He fought like a true warrior against Canelo and he deserves respect. Anyway, I am sure GGG would go for a rematch against Canelo next.”
So what kind of offer does Tobias have for Team Saunders if Golovkin and Alvarez are going for an anticipated rematch against one another?
”We have always wanted to fight Saunders and when that opportunity comes along, we will embrace it fully and happily fight him in his own backyard. They must just ensure they have a rematch or optional clause in the contract because we will walk away with his belt,” said the Namibian manager.
Walter, who struggles to secure a bout with a name opponent based on the high risk/low reward ratio given his unknown profile and impressive skills, is scheduled to step back into the squared circle on October 21 to defend his WBO Africa title against Tanzanian Meshack Mwankemwa (17-3-2, 10 KOs) at the Windhoek Country Club in his native Namibia.
According to Tobias, once Walter took care of his next opponent, they are ready to travel to the UK to face Saunders, and they know exactly what to do against him.
”We have studied Saunders for a long time now. He is not too bad of a fighter, and he has done well for himself but we have him all figured out strategically. A combination of speed and power should get the job done.”
The 32-year-old Kautondokwa also suggests he is up for the challenge regardless of the fact he has only faced moderated opposition compared to the world championship level in the 160-pound division.
”I am ready now and have been ready all along. Look, I understand why most of the opponents in my weight avoiding me. I am not an easy fight and nobody wants to lose their hard-fought belt so easily. For that I need to respect them because in life you need to understand which fights to take and which to escape,” said Walter, who still has a message to WBO champion Saunders.
”Let’s go champ! It is time to fight one of the best in your division! I am right here and available to fight you anywhere and anytime!”
You can reach Tamas Pradarics at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @TomiPradarics.