Middleweight king Gennady Golovkin's climb up boxing's pound-for-pound rankings looks set to continue, with the hard-hitting Kazak expected to add another world championship belt to his growing collection.
With a fight against Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez seemingly further away than it was a month ago due to the Mexican vacating the WBC middleweight title rather than entering discussions with him, Golovkin is rumoured to be eyeing up Billy Joe Saunders' WBO strap in order to unify the division. One of the most feared men in boxing, the 34-year-old is already considered by many as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the sport.
Having been elevated to full champion by the WBC, GGG now holds three of the four major belts, with Englishman Saunders in possession of the WBO belt. While talks haven't opened between the two parties as of yet, it does appear as though both are open to a fight that would feel somewhat of a let-down considering all the talk of a Canelo vs. Golovkin mega bout. Saunders might be no easy touch and is currently unbeaten in his 23 fights. The boxing world was briefly extremely excited about the prospect of watching two of the most exciting fighters in the sport do battle in a meeting that would likely split those interested in the online gambling odds at Paddy Power.
Since winning the WBO title after beating Andy Lee at the end of last year, Saunders has been frustrated with injuries and has failed to defend his belt due to a hand problem. Now on the road to recovery, a potential return in late summer has been mooted, with the Englishman now admitting he would be open to fight with the division's other champion - for the right price. While Saunders hasn't faced anyone of the calibre of Golovkin throughout his career, he has always been able to step up his game when facing world class opposition, most notably Lee and Chris Eubank Jr.
GGG, however, is a different beast entirely to anyone who Saunders has ever stepped into the ring with, and it's hard not to feel as though Canelo's promoters, Golden Boy, rather than the Mexican himself, are apprehensive of throwing their cash cow to the lion. Unbeaten in his 35 professional fights, Golovkin has destroyed all but three of his opponents inside the distance and he is currently on a run of 22 knockout wins. The only man who has come close to lasting the full 12 championship rounds was England's Martin Murray last year and Saunders would head into any potential fight as a massive underdog with many in boxing.
While Canelo's camp has insisted their decision to vacate the WBC title after beating Amir Khan wasn't a sign they had no intention of fighting Golovkin, it's looking as though the Kazakhstan champion will need to continue to search for that star name to step up and take the challenge. With the majority of big names either up the weight classes or down them, GGG may well end up moving weight in order to truly establish himself as boxing's pound-for-pound king.
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