Yesterday it was announced that Billy Joe Saunders would link up with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing after Saunders ten year tenure with rival UK promoter Frank Warren. The switch of allegiances will come as a surprise to some as Saunders and Hearn have certainly had some choice words for each other over the years, especially when Saunders failed a test for consuming a nasal spray that was allowed by UKAD but not by US based VADA (see previous posts for meaning of these acronyms!) when he was about to fight Matchroom middleweight Demetrius Andrade. Since that incident Saunders has been struggling to get his career back on track, and despite becoming a two time world champion back in May, it’s became clear that under Warren he wasn’t in a position to get the huge fights he wanted at the 160 or 168 pound limit.
Now though under the Matchroom banner, which of course is now coupled with US streaming service DAZN, Saunders will likely now stand a much better chance of getting the fights he desires on both sides of the pond. It now looks like Warren’s last ditch attempt to keep Saunders was to offer super-middleweight king Callum Smith a ‘seven figure sum’ to fight Saunders for what would be an all British super middle unification bout. At the time the offer was squatted away by Smith’s trainer Joe Gallagher but now it’s clear that reason for the quick rejection of Warren’s offer was the fact that Saunders was on his way to Matchroom, which Smith is also a member of. So naturally Smith/Saunders is now much easier to make now that both men fight for the same promoter and indeed that showdown would be a brilliant one for UK fans to witness if it were to materialise.
However, Saunders displayed his lofty ambitions at his unveiling on Tuesday afternoon when he said he felt ‘he had the beating’ of all the big names in the middleweight division, a weight that most see as Saunders’ natural weight limit. Big names such as Genady ‘GGG Golovkin’, Danny Jacobs, Demetrius Andrade and the pound for pound contender that is Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Saunders chased GGG in particular when with Frank Warren but he never seemed close to being able to get a name such as Golovkin in the ring. Eddie Hearn, in interviews after Saunders’ unveiling as a Matchroom and now Sky Sports fighter, asserted that the reason Saunders hadn’t gotten the fights he wanted was that he wasn’t a big enough money draw for opponents to risk facing is awkward and high skilled southpaw style. Now though with Matchroom/DAZN fully behind Saunders it’s likely that he can offer the type of money that may well tempt the list of world class names listed above to face him.
So finally at the age of twenty-nine after threatening to be a world class star for UK boxing it looks like Saunders now has his chance to get his name on the bright lights of Vegas or New York. His superb boxing skills will no doubt trouble any middleweight on the planet however having witnessed his great pal Tyson Fury robbed of a clear decision win in America in recent times, Saunders and trainer Ben Davidson may have to work on his punch power if they are to get the wins that Saunders claims he has the ability to claim. Either way, Saunders is now in prime position to fulfil a potential that many within the trade claim could be limitless. Only time will tell if he really is as good as he and those around him say he is.
If you enjoyed this article or any others on thesixyardring feel free to like/share/RT them or alternatively mention them to friends as you all wonder if Saunders will be allowed to start a chicken fight with Deontay Wilder in Nandos again now he is aiming for the big leagues.