By Keith Idec
If Billy Joe Saunders could choose, he’d rather fight Canelo Alvarez next, not Gennady Golovkin.
First and foremost, the unbeaten WBO middleweight champion would make more money for facing the Mexican superstar than he would for battling Golovkin in what would be a full 160-pound title unification fight. Alvarez also has had difficulty dealing with southpaws who can move, evident during his narrow wins against Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout.
Saunders’ trainer still would prefer a shot at Golovkin before squaring off against Alvarez.
“They’re tough fights in a different way,” Dominic Ingle, Saunders’ trainer, told BoxingScene.com following Saunders’ win against David Lemieux on Saturday night in Laval, Quebec, Canada. “They’re great fights. I’ve been across from Golovkin [in Kell Brook’s corner]. He’s the consummate professional. He’s seen it all, he’s done it all. It’s gonna be a tough fight.
“But when you have had a bit of insight into how he works – you know, Kell Brook had a great game plan. Unfortunately, he got damaged, but he was a lighter guy. He went up against a bigger guy. But Billy is. He’s 5-11, he’s a natural middleweight, he’s got more strength.”
England’s Saunders (26-0, 12 KOs) isn’t likely to box either fighter next because Alvarez (49-1-2, 34 KOs) and Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) are expected to meet in a middleweight championship rematch May 5. Nevertheless, Saunders is at least positioned to land fights against Golovkin or Alvarez now that he has dominated David Lemieux (38-4, 33 KOs) in their 12-round fight for Saunders’ title.
“Golovkin is still putting on great performances, but at some point, he’s gonna start sliding,” Ingle said. “Age is gonna catch up with him at some point. So, you know, whichever fight comes along – look, I’d like him to fight anybody because he’s at that point he is the champion, Golovkin’s the champion, and I think Golovkin wants to finish his career unified champion, like Bernard Hopkins, you know, to go into the history books. So for me, either fight would do. But I think, for me, it would have to be Golovkin.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.