By Alex Fesl: Former WBO middleweight and super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders is back in the gym and ready to resume his boxing career. It has been almost two years since we had last seen Saunders in the ring when he was stopped by super middleweight king Canelo Alvarez back in May 2021.
In an interview with iFL TV, Saunders stated that he is hopeful of several potentially big fights at super middleweight going forward. Most notably, Saunders named former multi-division champion Demetrius Andrade as a fight he most wants to happen. “There’s one fight that a hundred percent happens is Andrade,” stated Saunders. “We’ve had meetings and personal talks the last couple of months,” Saunders added.
It will be interesting if Andrade and Saunders can work out a fight after their history together. Back in 2018, while both campaigning at middleweight, Saunders was mandated by the WBO to defend his middleweight title vs. Andrade. The fight was scheduled for August 2018, but days before fight night, it was revealed that Saunders tested positive for the performance-enhancing substance oxilofrine. At the same time, Saunders was at the time also involved with the negative public relations stemming from a social media video of Saunders mocking a supposed drug addict.
Ultimately, Saunders would be removed from the fight card and suspended, and Andrade would take on Walter Kautondokwa for the vacant WBO middleweight belt. Afterward, Saunders would opt to move up to super middleweight rather than face Andrade at middleweight.
Looking forward, Saunders 30-1 (14 KOs) will potentially have some interesting options at super middleweight. While it remains unclear what promotional team Saunders will be working with, some interesting opponents are as follows.
Super Middleweight Landscape
Available quality opponents
Demetrius Andrade 32-0 (19 KOs)
Edgar Berlanga 20-0 (16 KOs)
Zach Parker 22-1 (16 KOs)
Daniel Jacobs 37-4 (30 KOs)
Lerrone Richards 16-0 (3 KOs)
Vladimir Shishkin 14-0 (8 KOs)
David Morrell 8-0 (7 KOs)
Canelo Alvarez 58-2-2 (39 KOs) vs. John Ryder 32-5 (18 KOs) on May 6th
Caleb Plant 22-1 (13 KOs) vs. David Benavidez 26-0 (23 KOs) on March 25th
Carlos Gongora 21-1 (16 KOs) vs Christian Mbilli 23-0 (20 KOs) on March 23rd