Gennady Golovkin will target a showdown with Billy Joe Saunders in 2019 if he prevails in a rematch with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, his promoter has confirmed.
Saunders was pencilled in as a backup for this weekend if Golovkin and Alvarez had failed to agree terms on the follow-up to their 2017 draw, but the fight with the WBO champion was put on the back-burner after a deal was struck.
But Saunders remains firmly in Golovkin’s sights as the Kazakh looks to lay his hands on three of the four middleweight belts, with the fourth – the IBF strap – currently vacant.
“Billy Joe Saunders has been on Gennady’s radar screen ever since he won the WBO title,” promoter Tom Loeffler told Omnisport.
“That was the title that Gennady was supposed to fight for when [Dmitry] Pirog had it when he knocked out Danny Jacobs. Pirog, unfortunately, got injured and he never got that opportunity.
“Over the last two or three years we could never make the Saunders fight, so I would definitely [like to see it happen].
“If Gennady is successful this Saturday, I could easily see us making a fight with Billy Joe Saunders.”
And Loeffler has no problem looking beyond Saturday’s bout, which was pushed back from its initial May 5 slot after Canelo tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol and served a six-month ban.
“Saturday is another win,” added Loeffler. ”We felt he clearly won the first fight and we feel he’s going to win again on Saturday night.
“He doesn’t have to change much from the first fight. He will put on more pressure.
“Nobody expected Canelo to move as much as he did, he’s never fought that way before in any of his fights. Now Gennady is prepared for it.
People forget GGG is the champion, Canelo Alvarez is the challenger. A lot of people try to spin it and all these other things but the fact is GGG is not just the world champion, he’s the unified champion, he’s the longest-reigning champion at 160lbs and – if he’s successful – he’s about to break Bernard Hopkins’ [title defence] record. People need to keep that into perspective.
“Canelo Alvarez is the challenger. He’s the one that needs to be aggressive, he’s the one that needs to try to take the titles away from GGG.
“Frankly he’s been promising his fans that. [Golovkin trainer] Abel [Sanchez] doesn’t think he’s going to keep his promise. He thinks he’s lying to his fans again. But there’s only one way to find out on Saturday night.”
Cork middleweight Spike O’Sullivan will be looking to muscle his way into the world title picture when he faces the dangerous former IBF champion David Lemieux on the GGG-Canelo II undercard.