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Canelo & Golovkin vying to fight Saunders

Is the WBO middleweight championship the hottest property in boxing right now/

By Aaron Cooper   - @intuboxingfm

News of WBO middleweight champion, Billy-Joe Saunders withdrawing from his voluntary defence against Martin Murray at London's O2 Arena is not even a day old. But that hasn't stopped the talk of two of boxing's biggest stars setting the Hatfield man firmly in their crosshairs.

Both Gennady Golovkin (WBC, WBA, IBF & IBO champion) and Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez (Lineal Middleweight champion) are now chasing Saunder's after negotiations for their long-awaited rematch have all but collapsed. Golovkin is thought to have walked away from the negotiating table, citing an unhappiness with the split on offer. Golovkin had accepted a 65/35 split for the rematch that was originally supposed to take place on May 5th. However, the Kazakh native is now thought to want a 50/50 split due to all the hassle that Canelo's failed drug's test has caused. So now both men are chasing the WBO champion as an alternative.

Poor Martin Murray has seen the prospect of finally winning a world title dashed not once, but twice due to 'injuries' suffered in the champion's camp. Firstly a hand injury forced the original date of April 14th to be postponed, and now a hamstring injury has seen the bout cancelled once more. Although many are questioning the legitimacy of the champion's injury given his activity on social media in the last few days.

So why has this 'injury' been called into question? 

Primarily because Saunders took to social media to state that should Golovkin's team offer the same deal as originally proposed last year then he would sign. Saunder's and Golovkin have been entwined in talks since Saunders relieved Andy Lee of his title in December 2015. A deal was nearly concluded in June of last year. Saunders camp claiming the contract was signed at their end, but not by Golovkin. Golvokin then stepped into the ring with Canelo five months later, the fight as we all know ended in a draw. Kicking off the saga we are all too familiar with today.

So why Saunders and not a rematch?

Canelo rightly or wrongly thinks that Saunders is an easy route to a world title. As he holds not titles he has no obligations over future fights, unlike Golovkin. Canelo NEEDS a credible opponent for his first fight back after suspension. The date of September 15th, Mexican independence day is set in the diary. The T Mobile Arena seemingly the likely destination. Canelo's brand has taken a HUGE hit, there is no question about that. But he still brings an awful lot of cash to the table, which will no doubt tempt Saunders.

But ... Provided that Tom Loeffler, Golovkin's promoter can work his magic with the IBF and WBC who are chasing Golovkin to fight his mandatories (Sergey Derevyanchenko, IBF & Jermall Charlo, WBC). Then a fight for the undisputed middleweight title would be on the line, And, for someone of Saunders ego this fight would be too big to miss out on. Golovkin has fought on British shores once before, stopping Kell Brook in five rounds in September 2016. With news of Warren signing a deal to house his fights on the BT Sports Box Office platform, a fight of this magnitude would no doubt sell out a London football stadium, maybe even at Wembley. 

News of Murray pulling out suggests that Warren has taken advantage of the situation between Canelo and Golovkin and has come to an agreement in principle with Canelo or Golovkin or perhaps even both. After all, Saunder's WBO middleweight title appears to be one of the hottest properties in the world of boxing.