WBO middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders is tired of waiting for a mega fight with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin and could make a move to the super-middleweight division following his next fight.
Saunders, 28, makes the second defense of his belt against the slick Willie Monroe Jr. on Saturday at London’s Copper Box Arena.
Although a victory could land him a shot at the winner of Canelo-GGG, who fight on the same night at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Saunders, who has fought just twice since December 2015, has been heavily criticized for his inactivity.
“I signed to fight Golovkin and Canelo, but one of them have come off. If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen,” Saunders said via Boxing Scene. The inactivity has been stressful, but you crack on and deal with it. My last opponent, Avtandil Khurtsidze got arrested, and the fight was canceled. You just have to deal with it.”
Hatfield’s Saunders, reminiscent of former world champion Daniel Jacobs, is a naturally big middleweight and walks around 190 to 200 pounds. A majority of super-middleweight fighters also walk around that same range.
“I am a big middleweight and don’t want to give my advantage away, but there is not a super-middleweight that I fear,” he added.
“Most of the top super-middleweights I have sparred, and they will tell you I did well. Callum Smith [No. 2 ranked WBC contender] is the only top British one I haven’t worked with. I will go to that weight, but when I have done my work at middleweight.”
If Canelo-Golovkin is close enough to make a rematch, it’s possible that Saunders will move on to 168 even sooner.
As far as inactivity is concerned, it could benefit Saunders in the long-term. IBF super-middleweight world champion James DeGale is looking for a fight, and WBA Super champion George Groves would be a great challenge down the road. Those are just a few U.K. fights that could be made, and it’s guaranteed to generate a huge crowd.
Albeit it’s understandable why Saunders would want to wait for a fight with either Canelo or Golovkin, his future is brighter as a super-middleweight.