By Keith Idec
Daniel Jacobs’ manager dismissed Billy Joe Saunders’ assertion that Jacobs signed with promoter Eddie Hearn as a way to avoid fighting him.
Saunders’ statements were made in an interview with iFL TV, which posted it Tuesday (https://www.boxingscene.com/saunders-if-jacobs-wanted-me-signed-with-hearn--125021). Keith Connolly, Jacobs’ manager, told BoxingScene.com on Wednesday that Jacobs wanted to challenge Saunders for the British southpaw’s WBO middleweight title on April 28 at Barclays Center.
Hearn informed Connolly that Saunders wasn’t at all interesting in boxing Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs), who’ll instead battle Poland’s Maciej Sulecki (26-0, 10 KOs) in a fight HBO will televise from Jacobs’ hometown. Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) will make the fourth defense of his WBO 160-pound championship against England’s Martin Murry (36-4-1, 17 KOs) on April 14 at 02 Arena in London.
“Obviously, B.J. Saunders’ comments about Danny signing with Eddie Hearn to get away from B.J. Saunders are absolutely ridiculous,” Connolly said. “Danny will fight B.J. Saunders anytime. We actually, after the [Luis] Arias fight, asked to fight B.J. Saunders and Eddie said that they had no interest in fighting us. So Saunders is just hiding behind his promoter. It’s his way of getting out of the fight, and that’s typical for Saunders. He doesn’t really wanna fight Danny.”
Saunders is promoted by Frank Warren, Hearn’s rival in the United Kingdom. Their contentious relationship is viewed as an impediment toward making a Saunders-Jacobs bout, but Connolly contends one of the best fights that could be made within the middleweight division could become reality if Saunders really weren’t just playing it safe while waiting for the winner of the Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez rematch.
“Danny is his own boss,” Connolly said. “Frank Warren obviously is Saunders’ boss, and I think he’ll be happy just to hide behind him for the next year or two. If Saunders wants to make the fight with Danny, all he has to do is go to his promoter and tell him to make the fight. Eddie Hearn is not stopping this fight. It’s Saunders that’s stopping it.”
Meanwhile, an official announcement on Jacobs-Sulecki is expected soon.
“As far as Danny’s fight against Sulecki,” Connolly said, “we’re fighting an undefeated guy, the guy that knocked out the guy [Hugo Centeno Jr.] that [Jermall] Charlo is fighting. Danny’s not afraid to fight anybody. Even though Sulecki isn’t a big name, it’s because nobody out there wants to fight Danny at this point. He’s too high-risk. Everybody is waiting for Golovkin and Canelo.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.