By Tim Royner: Billy Joe Saunders (28-0, 13 KOs) will be making his defense of his WBO super middleweight title in November or December, potentially in Los Angeles, California, according to promoter Eddie Hearn.
Eddie’s not saying who Saunders will be defending against, but he does say it’s a “credible opponent.” That could mean anything unfortunately. The World Boxing Organization’s top 15 is mostly beatable guys that a fighter like Saunders will take with zero problems.
Fans wants Saunders to fight Golovkin or Callum Smith
The fans want to see Saunders face WBA Super World champion Callum Smith in a unification match, but that’s not going to happen. Fans are also hoping that Hearn will put a fight together between Saunders and former middleweight champion Gennady ‘GGG’ Golovkin. Hearn just signed a deal with GGG, and he spoke of wanting to put him in with Saunders. However, Golovkin is already fighting on October 5 against Sergiy Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF 160-lb title at Madison Square Garden in New York. Golovkin isn’t going to be able to fight Derevyanchenko, and then face Saunders in November or December. Hearn will likely look to match Saunders with Golovkin and Callum in 2020. There’s not enough time to put those fights together this year.
— billyjoesaunders (@bjsaunders_) August 24, 2019
Saunders fighting a “credible opponent” in next fight
“He’ll be going in early November in the States,” said Hearn to IFL TV about Saunders’ next fight. “It’ll be announced next week. West. Possibly,” said Hearn when asked if Saunders’ fight will be in Los Angeles. “We’re looking at a good opponent. A credible opponent at super middleweight. He’ll be defending his WBO title,” said Hearn.
Erik Bazinyan likely next opponent for Saunders
With Saunders’ next fight taking place in the U.S, that’s a big hint that he’ll be fighting an American or a Canadian. Given that DAZN is looking to increase subscribers in Canada, it’s a no-brainer that Saunders will likely be fighting #1 WBO Erik Bazinyan (23-0, 17 KOs). This guy lives in Canada, and is ranked #1. He’s probably going to be the one that Saunders faces.
The other option would be #7 WBO Willie Monroe Jr., but Saunders already beat him decisively in 2017. There’s no interest from Boxing fans in seeing Saunders fight Monroe again. Monroe is coming off of a nice win over Hugo Centeno Jr. last June, but still he’s not a good option for Saunders. The Canadian based Bazainyan is likely going to be the guy due to DAZN having a presence there. Golovkin recently fought Canadian Steve Rolls last June.
Hearn wants to deliver big fights for Callum Smith
“I saw Joe Gallagher’s comment,” said Hearn about Callum Smith having been given some offers from rival promoters. “Callum is in the position where we need to deliver some big fights. He’s had a couple of offers, as you would expect. Like I said, he is certainly the number one super middleweight in the world. And he came out of the [World Boxing Super] Series, the series was so good for him for money, and he won a world title.
The bad is he was kept away, and didn’t get the exposure he could have had. But he’s in a great position, and we’ve got to capitalize on it. He’s another guy that we’ve got an option on for his next fight, and we have to look where we go with that, where we go with our guys, and how they fit in our plans. Callum, we’ve had him since his debut. For me, this is the place for him to be. If a big deal comes in, they’re going to look at it like Billy Joe Saunders,” said Hearn.
Getting a credible opponent for Callum Smith to fight will be tough job for Hearn, because he’s someone that is considered the #1 fighter at 168. The contenders aren’t going to want to fight Callum for chickenfeed, and same goes for the other champions. If a promoter knows his fighter has little chance of beating Callum, they’re not going to willingly make that fight.
Hearn will have difficult time getting the top fighters to face Callum
If Hearn can throw a lot of money at one of the top guys at 168, then it’s possible he can get a quality opponent. Callum is going to have problems with any other promoter other than possibly Top Rank. Hearn wants to match Golovkin and Saul Canelo Alvarez against Callum, but that’s a pipe dream. Those guys aren’t going to fight him, because he’s not a big enough name. He’s also dangerous.
What Callum should do is move up to 175, and go after the lions in that weight class. He probably won’t do it though, because he would be dealing with guys his own size. Callum’s main advantage at 168 is he’s bigger and stronger than his opponents. If he moves up to 175, then suddenly Callum will be fighting opposition that hit as hard as him. That could be bad news for him. On the positive side, Callum will no longer need to complain about no one wanting to fight him. All the top guys at 175 will want to fight him.