GGG vs. Billy Joe Saunders Unification Possible for June
Gennady “GGG” Golovkin successfully defended his WBC, WBA, IBF, and IBO middleweight titles on Saturday against WBA “regular” champion Daniel Jacobs. Despite Jacob’s size, speed, and age advantages, Golovkin applied effective pressure, knocked down Jacobs in the fourth round, and outlanded the challenger in most of the 12 rounds. It was the first decision victory for the Kazakh knockout artist since 2008.
Golovkin has stated on numerous occasions that owning all of the major titles at 160 is his goal, meaning his next logical opponent would be the United Kingdom’s Billy Joe Saunders. The 27-year-old Saunders is undefeated (24-0, 12 knockouts) and holds the WBO middleweight title. Saunders’ last fight was a unanimous decision win over Artur Akavov in December. In that victory, Saunders at times looked sluggish and certainly vulnerable when compared to the likes of Gennady Golovkin.
GGG vs. Billy Joe Saunders could happen in June, as Golovkin and his team have stated that they are looking into a fight in GGG’s home country of Kazakhstan, which will be hosting “Expo 2017”, an international science expo, from June to September. If the fight were to happen and Golovkin were to emerge victorious as expected, he would be the first unified middleweight champion since Jermain Taylor unified all four major titles by beating Bernard Hopkins (who was the previous unified champion) back in 2005. Before Hopkins and Taylor, we have to go back to the 1980s and Marvin Hagler to find another undisputed unified middleweight champion.
Saunders himself tweeted after Saturday’s fight that he was ready to face the middleweight king:
— billyjoesaunders (@bjsaunders_) March 19, 2017
A rematch with Daniel Jacobs and a potential superfight with Mexico’s Saul “Canelo” Alvarez are potential options for the Golovkin, who turns 35 in April.
Photo by J.R. Necho