by David P. Greisman

Even though Billy Joe Saunders isn’t appearing on the undercard to Canelo Alvarez vs. Liam Smith, we may still end up seeing Alvarez’s next opponent on the Sept. 17 pay-per-view show.

That’s because two fighters who were proposed as potential foes for Saunders are instead facing to each other — Gabriel Rosado vs. Willie Monroe.

“The big prize is Canelo. The winner of this fight could very well be fighting Canelo in December,” said Eric Gomez, vice president of Golden Boy Promotions, on an Aug. 29 media conference call.

Saunders turned down fights against Rosado and Monroe. Gomez has said he still will work toward Canelo, the lineal middleweight champion, testing himself for the first time against a true 160-pounder by taking on world titleholder Saunders. But that’s not Gomez’s only option for a presumed December show.

“We’re keeping all the doors open,” he said. “Obviously we weren’t able to get the fight done with Billy Joe Saunders. I haven’t closed the door yet. We got two guys that are going to go at it. This is a real fight. Gabe wants to prove that he still belongs and is in the upper echelon of boxing. Willie Monroe wants to do the same thing. If these guys put on a great fight and a great show, we’re going to keep all avenues open, all doors open.”

Presently, there’s no forward progress in the negotiations for Canelo vs. Saunders.

“Right now they’re stalled,” Gomez said. “We’re going to get together with Frank Warren [who promotes both Saunders and Smith] the week of the fight. I’m interested in seeing the outcome of this fight.”

Rosado vs. Monroe already is a grudge match between two boxers who don’t like each other and sniped at each other during the call. A future fight with Canelo provides extra motivation, but first they need to get past Sept. 17

“I know not to even think ahead,” Rosado said. “They can say that Canelo is next. That don’t mean nothing if I don’t win the fight. I’m just thinking about winning this fight and looking good. I want to do it by knockout.”

“I got to focus on what’s in front of me,” Monroe said. “I can’t look past anybody. You got to focus on what’s in front of you. If Canelo is next, so be it.”

“Fighting Words” appears every Monday on Please consider supporting David’s writing by becoming a patron — visit for more information. Send questions/comments via email at