LONDON — Billy Joe Saunders will fight in December even if it is not against Gennady Golovkin in a world middleweight title unification fight.
The English boxer defended his WBO belt — the only title not in Golovkin’s possession — with a unanimous points win over American Willie Monroe Jr at the Copper Box Arena in London Saturday.
After being given a charmed life in a second defence by an overly cautious challenger, Saunders declared he was ready to face the winner of the big middleweight showdown in Las Vegas a few hours later between Golovkin and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
Judge Adalaide Byrd raised eyebrows with a scorecard giving the fight 118-110 to Canelo Alvarez, which prompted NSAC executive Bob Bennett to say, “sometimes you have a bad day.”
Twitter reaction to the middleweight title bout between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez praised the quality of the fight but was critical of it being ruled a draw.
But Golovkin-Alvarez was judged a points draw and both then claimed they wanted to do it again.
Saunders will not wait around while talk of an Alvarez-GGG rematch simmers, and even claimed he would be ready to face Amir Khan, the English welterweight who has not fought since stepping up two weight divisions to get knocked out by Alvarez in May 2016.
“Amir Khan has boxed at 160lbs before and I would love that fight, what a fight that would be between me and him,” said Saunders at a press conference.
“I just want a good fight, a big fight, that’s what I’m in boxing for — to get fights which will get me up. He’s a very good name and I rate him. I’ve watched him for years and years.
“I know him and Kell Brook, who is a stable mate of mine, haven’t got it on but if Khan’s looking for a big UK fight then I’m willing to fight him.
“I don’t call his name out being disrespectful to him. I call it because I think he’s a good fighter who I’ve watched for years. He and Kell seem miles apart at the minute so if he’s willing to come up to middleweight, like he did for Canelo, he might think he’s got a chance of winning my world title.”
Saunders is preparing to face another opponent and improve before a unification fight against Kazakstan’s California-based Golovkin.
“I don’t think they will be ready for December,” Saunders said.
“Maybe Golovkin would have it because he’s [nearly] 36 and that name alone would bring 25 per cent out of me. I knew that natural ability in me would see me beat Monroe but there’s loads more improvement to come.
“If they aren’t ready I want to be out again in December. I want Golovkin because he’s the invincible man. He’s nearly 36 and if I’m not going to beat him now I will never beat him.
“I feel I’m maturing now and I know I’ve got the beating of him. I’m not waiting around for anybody though. I want to be out of the game when I’m 31.
“There’s no excuses now. They [Golovkin and Alvarez] both told me to get in shape. I’m in shape now and who ever wants it next, I’m game. If they want to be unified champion of all four titles they have to win my title.”
Saunders thanked trainer Dominic Ingle, who he worked with for the first fight, in ensuring he delivered an improved performance on his last fight.
Ingle says Saunders has some more improving to do if he wants to beat either Golovkin or Alvarez.
“He wouldn’t have beaten Canelo or Golovkin on that performance, he has to improve on that in the next ten weeks,” Ingle said.
“I would prefer him to fight someone else before facing either of those two guys and get him in tip top shape. There’s a lot more to come.”