If Billy Joe Saunders silences David Lemieux’s home fans on Saturday, promoter Frank Warren says he will fight the winner of Gennady Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez II.
Unbeaten Saunders (25-0, 12 KOs) puts his WBO world middleweight title on the line against Canadian Lemieux (38-3, 33 KOs) at the Place Bell in Laval, Quebec.
Golovkin (37-0-1, 33 KOs) and Canelo (49-1-2, 34 KOs) are in talks for a rematch on May 5 after their controversial points draw on Sep. 16, when Saunders also made a second successful defence of his title — the only world title not in the hands of Golovkin — against Willie Monroe Jr.
“This is a tough fight in the other guy’s back yard, but it’s what Bill wanted, he’s getting great exposure on U.S. TV [HBO],” Warren told ESPN.
“He wants to fight the winner of Golovkin-Canelo, but he’s not going to hang about either and whatever happens he’s going to fight again early in the new year.
“They want to do Golovkin-Canelo on May 5, but they haven’t signed terms, and then the winner of that will be against the winner of Bill-Lemieux in September.”
Englishman Saunders, 28, was better against Monroe than he was in a first defence a year ago against Russia’s Artur Akavov. Injuries and postponements have restricted Saunders to just two performances since he outpointed Ireland’s Andy Lee to become world champion two years ago.
Warren believes Saunders is over his problems with motivation after joining up with trainer Dominic Ingle before he fought Monroe.
“It’s important for Billy to stay busy,” Warren said. “He has got the bit between his teeth and we don’t want him falling back to his old ways.
“We need to keep him focused mentally and physically fit like he is now. He looked terrible against the Russian [Akavov] but he’s honest and he said so himself. Some of it was down to frustration but as long as he’s working towards something he’s OK.
“Lemieux can punch and he’s in front of his home fans, but I’m hoping that Bill has got the class, work rate and defence and chin to come through. I just hope that newfound enthusiasm and love of the sport will get him through.”
There has been speculation of a future fight between Saunders and American Daniel Jacobs (33-2, 29 KOs), if Saunders wins in Montreal. But Warren is not keen on the idea.
“Danny Jacobs fighting Bill, that’s [Warren’s rival British promoter Eddie] Hearn banging the drum, we know what that’s about,” Warren added.
“Bill is the champion and if there’s a fight with Jacobs it will be on our terms. Bill wants money fights but Danny Jacobs’ last fight didn’t draw 2,000 punters, they had to give tickets away, in his own back yard. There are bigger fights out there for him.”