There is a strong possibility that Billy Joe Saunders’ first appearance under the Matchroom/DAZN banner could be on an undercard at the Staples Centre in Los Angeles on the 9th November.
Where this may not be entirely bizarre, the main event to which Saunders would be playing second fiddle to is nothing short of embarrassing.
There will be no pound for pound megastar, no recognised World Champion, and no household names topping the bill in California. Instead, Eddie Hearn has decided that money talks, and is promoting a rematch of a meeting between two vloggers that took place at a packed Manchester Arena in August last year.
On that summer’s night, KSI and Logan Paul fought to a six round draw on an evening of “white collar” boxing, with the pair’s total earn from the fight reported to be near “£150 million”.
KSI had previously fought for You Tube viewers’ pleasure at the Copper Box Arena in London in February 2018, defeating fellow Social Media personality, Joe Weller, drawing over 1.5 million live viewers, but his match with Paul far surpassed these figures.
With the two fighting to a draw, things were seemingly left there, with everyone getting out of the event what they wanted. But, in true boxing style, we learn to expect the unexpected, and the two will now rematch under professional boxing rules, thus, being licenced as professional boxers.
Quite how two men with no prior boxing experience, are allowed to be granted a licence for a full blown professional bout is nothing short of astonishing.
Matchroom USA are on board for the farcical contest, along with DAZN, and the strong rumours that have been circulating suggest that Saunders will make a maiden first defence of his WBO Super Middleweight Title, not as the main event, but on the undercard. This is a real slap in the face to Saunders if true, as he would have surely hoped to kick on immediately after his much publicised move to Hearn.
His old boss, Frank Warren had stern words on the rumours.
“When I parted ways with Billy Joe, Hearn told him, ‘Welcome to the big time.’ Now he’s apparently destined for the undercard of an event like this? Welcome to the big time, indeed.”
The opponent also being strongly linked for Saunders is Gabriel Rosado, another uninspiring choice, as, although Rosado brings heart and entertainment, ultimately he has been defeated twelve times and has been recently campaigning at Middleweight.
You would hope that Matchroom would sell the event for what it is, and not involve any high profile boxers at all. I’d much rather see Saunders in a defence at the O2 or similar before the year is out, before maneuvering into a rematch with Chris Eubank Junior or a blockbuster with Callum Smith in 2020.