By Keith Idec
Gennady Golovkin still wants to fight Billy Joe Saunders.
Even though Golovkin was able to finalize a deal Wednesday for a lucrative rematch against Canelo Alvarez, Golovkin expects to face Saunders in his following fight. Golovkin had a deal in place to face Saunders if negotiations with Alvarez’s handlers didn’t result in a completed deal by the Wednesday deadline issued by Golden Boy Promotions.
Kazakhstan’s Golovkin (38-0-1, 34 KOs), the WBA/WBC/IBO champion, and England’s Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs), who holds the WBO title, would’ve fought in an HBO Pay-Per-View main event August 25 at The Forum in Inglewood, California.
If Golovkin beats Alvarez on September 15 in Las Vegas, a long-discussed Saunders fight wouldn’t afford Golovkin the chance to own all of boxing’s middleweight titles because the IBF stripped Golovkin of its 160-pound crown June 6. It’s still the fight Golovkin wants if he can beat Alvarez in their rematch at T-Mobile Arena.
“That’s a great fight between two champions,” Tom Loeffler, Golovkin’s promoter, told BoxingScene.com before a press conference Monday in Los Angeles. “That’s a fight Gennady has wanted for a long time. My understanding was Canelo was gonna go in the direction of Danny Jacobs, although it doesn’t seem like they had a deal in place.
“We already had a deal in place with Saunders. But naturally, the Canelo fight trumps any other fight and I was up front with Frank Warren [Saunders’ promoter]. And we have to give Billy Joe Saunders credit, that he did agree to the fight. And hopefully if Triple-G is successful in September, we can make that fight next.”
Saunders was supposed to defend his title versus Martin Murray this Saturday at O2 Arena in London. The defending champion pulled out of that fight June 3, supposedly due to a hamstring injury.
England’s Murray (36-4-1, 17 KOs) doesn’t believe Saunders suffered an injury. Murray contends Saunders withdrew from their fight for the second time because he felt he could fight Alvarez or Golovkin for more money if the Alvarez-Golovkin rematch fell apart.
Saunders and Murray initially were scheduled to fight April 14 at O2 Arena. It was postponed March 20 to June 23 because Saunders suffered a hand injury during training camp.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.