If WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders doesn’t accept the offer made to him by IBF/IBO/WBA middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin’s promoters at K2 for a unification fight in April, then Golovkin (34-0, 31 KOs) will face his #1 IBF mandatory Tureano Johnson (19-1, 13 KOs) on April 23rd. The fight will be televised on HBO Championship boxing at Madison Square Garden in New York.
This would not be a pay-per-view bout like the 33-year-old Golovkin’s last fight in October against IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux. Tureano, 31, is a good fighter, but he is not popular enough for Golovkin to fight on PPV against him.
Golovkin’s no1 wish is to get the unification against the 26-year-old Saunders rather than the Tureano fight. The International Boxing Federation will allow Golovkin to take the unification fight against Saunders if it’s there before facing Tureano at a later time.
The problem is Saunders and his promoter Frank Warren hasn’t said whether they’ll take the Golovkin fight next. They want to look at all their options available to them before they make a decision about which direction Saunders will go in. It’s probable that Saunders will choose to make a voluntary defense of his WBO title against one of the fringe contenders ranked near the bottom of the WBO’s rankings rather than taking on a dangerous fighter like Golovkin, who he feels is the best fighter in the 160lb division.
“We’ve had preliminary talks,” Golovkin Boy promotions vice president Eric Gomez said to espn.com. “It’s GGG’s mandatory fight and it’s a fight we’d like to make.”
Golden Boy promotes Tureano Johnson. If Tureano could somehow beat Golovkin, it would clear the way for an in house fight between Golden Boy fighters Tureano and WBC middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez for September this year. It would make things easier for Golden Boy if Tureano beats Golovkin, because he is not nearly the threat that Golovkin would be for a fighter like Canelo. Further, Tureano would likely be more receptive to Canelo’s wishes for a 155lb catch-weight handicap for a fight.
You cannot really call Canelo’s catch-weights a handicap for him, because he probably outweighs both Tureano and Golovkin after he rehydrates. You can argue the 155lb catch-weight is more of a tool to weaken Canelo’s opponents, because they are not likely as good at cutting weight and putting it back on as the younger 25-year-old Canelo.
Golovkin vs. Johnson should be a good fight for the fans. Johnson could give Golovkin problems with his pressure and punching power.