Andy Lee dismisses whispers over Golovkin talks
WBO middleweight world champion Andy Lee has shot down rumours that his camp are in talks with Gennady Golovkin before he has even won his hotly-anticipated bout against Billy Joe Saunders.
Lee and Saunders fight at the Manchester Arena on December 19, after the clash was postponed twice due to injury.
However, rumours are rife that Lee’s team have already opened talks with the unified WBA, IBF, WBC and IBO middleweight champion for a shot at his belts.
But Lee has played down the gossip.
One fight at a time
“It would be stupid of me or [trainer/manager] Adam Booth to look past Saunders, as he’s the next man I’m facing in the ring and he’s a dangerous fighter who could take my title,” Lee said.
“There’s no way at all I’d be overlooking him. Golovkin is the golden carrot for everyone in the middleweight division, but I have to deal with Saunders first.”
Saunders also had his own opinion on the rumours: “I do hope that Lee is concentrating on this fight because I’m going all-out to take his title,” Saunders said. “He’s a clever man and I know he wouldn’t be looking past me, so I was surprised to hear that. Golovkin is the main man in the division at the moment, but when I win the title, then he’s going to be calling me out for the WBO belt if he wants to unify them.”
In the pre-fight press conference Frank Warren stressed that this is the ultimate fight at the moment between the two best middleweights in Europe.
Lee has a record of 34 wins, two defeats and one draw in his career, with that draw coming in his last bout against Peter Quillin back in April.
Unbeaten Saunders has won all 22 of his fights since making his debut in 2009, and he thinks the fight will be one for the ages.
“This is the fight to watch. Everyone’s talking about Chris Eubank Jr and Sullivan, but these are the the real boxing match,” he said.
Lee agreed. “Look if you want people who are good at tweeting and talking then watch that fight, but this will be about boxing and boxing only. I think I can win but it’s not a certainty, I know Saunders is at the top of his game.”
Both fighters come from the travelling community and admitted that there will be a lot of money put down on the fight.
Saunders said: “I’ve had Whatsapps coming in all week asking, are you sure you’re definitely going to win, I want to put £5,000 on you. I’d say there’ll be millions backed on this fight.”
Neither of us are going to want to lose this fight as we’re going to have to live with it for the rest of our lives,” said Lee.
“The fight is only 36 minutes long but when you’re in there it feels like a life time, so what happens in those 36 minutes will be with us for the rest of time. No matter where we go or the people we see, we will constantly be reminded of what happens in this fight.
“If he lands a good punch on me and snaps my head back and the crowd reacts then it’s going to be hard to hold onto your emotion.
“Whoever makes that first imprint will have the advantage. Whoever lands that first telling punch will set the tone for the fight. Anything could happen in this fight on December 19. It could be an all-out war or a chess match.”
Saunders is also wary of his opponent, but confident of his chances, and manager Warren has already stated that if he wins he would want him to gain a bit more experience before taking on Golovkin.
“You’ll never see anything like this again for a lot of years and I believe this bout is all going to be about game plan and who’s going to be up in the first half of the fight,” said Saunders.
“I’ve got to watch his left hand and right hook, he’s a very dangerous man and many people underestimate his boxing. I’m confident that there will be knockdowns in this fight. Every fight I have I’ve just been able to go in there and do enough. I knew I was a class above them but in this fight it’s a real 50/50 against a world champion.
“I have to go in there and pull something out the bag to take that belt. It will be about who gets the best start. The one who doesn’t get the best chance will have to take a risk.
“For this fight I will be switched on from the first to the last, if I have to fight for the three minutes of every round that’s what I’m going to do.”
Tickets are available from £46.30 from www.eventim.co.uk