By Keith Idec
If Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin can’t come to an agreement for a rematch proposed for May 5, Billy Joe Saunders “would love” to face Alvarez after he defeats David Lemieux on Saturday night.
The unbeaten Saunders has traveled to Lemieux’s native Quebec to defend his WBO middleweight title at Place Bell in Laval, near Montreal. The supremely confident southpaw is sure beating the hard-hitting Lemieux will put him in perfect position to become Plan B for Alvarez if Golovkin negotiations don’t lead to finalizing a deal for what would be boxing’s biggest fight of 2018.
“I want whoever’s next, but I would love a fight with Canelo Alvarez,” Saunders said during a conference call Monday. “I would love to fight him.”
Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions represents Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) and Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs). Saunders still is confident his promoter, Frank Warren, and De La Hoya could come to an agreement “when” he overcomes Lemieux in a dangerous title defense HBO will televise as the main event of a “World Championship Boxing” tripleheader (9:40 p.m. EST).
“When I win this fight, that’s the one I want, Canelo,” Saunders said. “He’s a global superstar, the one you have to beat to be recognized at the highest potential of this game. I would love to work with Oscar De La Hoya and Frank Warren Promotions to make that fight after. I’ll be all up for that fight, me and Canelo.”
The 28-year-old Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) added that he’ll gladly travel to wherever De La Hoya and Alvarez would want them to fight.
“Listen, if I will come to Canada to spank David, I will go to Las Vegas, Mexico, wherever they want involved in that package for the fight,” Saunders said. “Because, listen, I’m not in it for money, I’m not in it for anything else. I’m in it because I wanna be involved in these big fights. … I don’t wanna make any slip-ups, so I’ve gotta make sure I’m a hundred-million percent on Saturday night, which I will be.”
Saunders also remains interested in challenging Golovkin in what would be a full middleweight championship unification fight. Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) and Saunders had an agreement in place to fight June 10 in Golovkin’s native Kazakhstan, but it ultimately would’ve taken place too close to the Alvarez-Golovkin fight for Golovkin to box Saunders and properly promote that pay-per-view event.
If Golovkin would’ve beaten Saunders, he wouldn’t have had much time, either, between that bout and when he would’ve had to go back into training camp for his fight against Alvarez. That September 16 showdown resulted in a controversial draw at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“Look, I know that Canelo and Golovkin hold the ace card,” Saunders said. “They hold the ace card. I signed to fight Golovkin in June. So he passed up on the opportunity. Not that he was scared or frightened, that he had big business to do with Canelo. So if them two are not fighting, it makes more sense now that me beating one of Oscar De La Hoya’s boxers in Canada, it gives me more of a chance to fight Canelo. So, you know, if either one of them come along, but I’d love to fight Canelo.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.