Cooper’s Corner: A Look at Business of Boxing & A Certain Middleweight

What’s ahead for Saunders 

Being able to write cheques with your mouth that your fists can cash is a wonderful thing. I’m not sure that I’m alone in my thinking. But it seems as though the sport of boxing is devoid of the plethora of brash in your face trash talkers we once knew. Ali, Tyson, Jones Jr, Hopkins, James Toney hell even Ricardo Mayorga would all let you know what they thought of you before the ink was dry on the contract. But with the possible exception of one of the aforementioned names, every single one of those men could back up their words nine times out of ten. However, all of that seems like a long time ago.

These days things are very different, whilst the characters are still there you can be forgiven for thinking of them as lesser sons of greater sires. There seems to be some form of cold war that exists between fighters and promoters. The weapons are primed but no one seems willing enough to actually step into action and in some instances you might mistake what you see for Vince McMahon’s WWE. Boxers in 2018 give fantastic promos, but from this boxing purists standpoint Elvis Presley said it best ‘A little less conversation, a little more action please’.

Whether we like it or not, in this day and age boxing is business first. ‘Oh you want me to fight this guy? … I need this much’. ‘He isn’t on my radar right now’. ‘My promoter doesn’t play well with his’. Does this sound familiar? Remind you on anybody. I’ll give you a name for nothing…. Billy Joe Saunders.

Billy Joe talks a good game, real good. In fact he’s one of the best out there at verbal sparring. Since beating Andy Lee at the end of 2015 however his mouth has been working far harder than that of his fists. That was of course until he stepped into the ring to fight David Lemiuex, making the long journey to Canada to beat his foe in his challengers back yard. Great, after years we finally seem to be going forwards with the man from Hertfordshire. Or are we?

Obviously all eyes will be on the middleweight division come May when we will see the rematch between Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin. But in most boxing circles its widely accepted that a third fight between the pair will happen.

So where does Billy Joe go from here? Whilst he does have an ace in the hole that is his WBO middleweight title as a bargaining chip. I would like to see more of him. I’d like to see him challenge himself, because while he could lay claim to be one of the best middleweights in the world at face value, from a purist perspective I’m not so sure he even makes my top 5 right now. Danny Jacobs was available, but I get a sense that the promotional issues between Britain’s two promotional bigwigs gave way for an easy out, although it would certainly be his biggest payday outside of the champions. Jermall Charlo while untested at 160 would be very high risk low reward until he comes through his WBC interim bout as I expect that he would. Those two getting it on would certainly put the winner in the frame for a big money fight against the victor of Golovkin/Canelo.

Or could we see him step up to the Super Middleweight division. A rematch with Chris Eubank Jr or a fight against stablemate James DeGale would certainly put coin in the bank.

I feel frustrated by Saunders, all the tools are there. I hope in time to see him back up his words with harder tests.

By: Aaron Cooper 

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