By Jeff Aranow: WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (23-0, 12 KOs) turned down a bunch of money from K2 Promotions, the promoters for IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin, to fight him on April 23. Instead of making in what was said to be seven figures, Saunders will be defending his title against #11 WBO Max Bursak (32-4-1, 15 KOs) on April 30 at the Copper Box Arena in London, UK.
It’s a questionable move by Saunders because he could have taken on Golovkin and won a lot of respect and gotten a big payday in the process. It would have been a good fight if he had taken it. What’s sort of disappointing is the Saunders-Bursak fight is being talked about as a prelude to Saunders fighting Golovkin in the near future.
However, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen, but you can understand why it makes good business sense for them to be mentioning Golovkin’s name. if the British boxing public believes that Saunders will face Golovkin in 2016, then they’ll be more likely to purchase tickets for his fight against Bursak on April 30.
“Nothing comes easy in boxing and I’m definitely not taking Bursak for granted. He’s a good, good, fighter and very dangerous and if I don’t come in 100 percent then he could cause an upset in my first title defence. I’ve worked long and hard to get where I am and look at the massive fights ahead of me against the likes of Golovkin. So no, I’m going to make sure I’m in perfect shape and give Bursak the toughest night he’s ever had, he’s never been stopped before so that’s something I’m looking at doing,” said Saunders.
I don’t think Golovkin is going to just sit around and wait for Saunders to eventually fight him, because I have my doubts whether the fight will happen in the next two years. Golovkin has bigger fish to fry than fighting what many boxing fans see as a paper champion in Saunders. If Golovkin gets a clue that it’s pretty much useless for him to be wasting time on winning paper titles, then he’ll focus instead on going after the opponents that really matter for him.
That means guys like Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, Peter Quillin, Daniel Jacobs, Miguel Cotto, Andre Ward, Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, Erislandy Lara and Jermell Charlo.
Saunders won the WBO middleweight title last December in beating champion Andy Lee by a 12 round decision.