By Keith Idec
Billy Joe Saunders interpreted Daniel Jacobs signing with British promoter Eddie Hearn last fall as a subliminal sign that Jacobs doesn’t really want to fight him.
Hearn is a bitter rival of Frank Warren, Saunders’ promoter, which makes Jacobs’ partnership with Hearn a complication in putting together a Jacobs-Saunders bout.
Jacobs expressed interest in fighting Saunders on April 28 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. HBO’s Peter Nelson would’ve welcomed airing that fight on the network as well.
Saunders intelligently and skillfully dominated David Lemieux in a 12-round fight HBO broadcast December 16 from Laval, Quebec, Canada. Jacobs has an exclusive multi-fight deal with HBO.
Regardless, both boxers are headed in different directions.
Brooklyn’s Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs) likely will oppose Poland’s Maciej Sulecki (26-0, 10 KOs) in a fight HBO will air April 28. England’s Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) will make the fourth defense of his WBO middleweight title April 14 against fellow Brit Martin Murray (36-4-1, 17 KOs) at 02 Arena in London.
“If Danny Jacobs wanted to fight me, he wouldn’t have joined Eddie Hearn,” Saunders told iFL TV during an interview posted Tuesday. “It’s like me, it’s like Canelo now having all the titles, me leaving Frank Warren and going with Top Rank. Never gonna happen, is it? [Instead of] joining Eddie Hearn, he should’ve took a little bit less money, or maybe more money, and joined Frank Warren. And then I would’ve loved to box him on the 14th of April – loved to. He’s good, but listen, if I can’t beat the likes of him, I’m not gonna do what I said I was gonna do. And that’s what’s in my head.”
Jacobs and Saunders ultimately want to fight the winner of the Gennady Golovkin-Canelo Alvarez middleweight championship rematch May 5. That opportunity might not materialize in the foreseeable future, particularly if Golovkin and Alvarez fight a third time.
Fighting each other is the next most meaningful fight available for Jacobs and Saunders, who might prefer to keep busy elsewhere while waiting for the Golovkin-Alvarez winner.
“To be honest with you, I couldn’t give two sh*ts about [Jacobs],” Saunders said. “Yeah, he’s good. But one-million percent, I’m better. So if they can work it out between them [Warren and Hearn], I would love to make it. He don’t sell 10 tickets in America. That’s why he’s with Eddie Hearn. You know, if they can make it financially work, viable for both of us, then I’m sure that me and him has not got a problem fighting each other, one-million percent.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.