Promoter Lou DiBella and his protege Avtandil Khurtsidze have started the pre-fight hype with some strong words about Billy Joe’s latest performance. In his last fight Saunders faced Artur Akavov and went through a bit of trouble but eventually got the W via points. Still, DiBella wasn’t too impressed apparently.
“The fight with Akavov was a close, competitive fight. No one predicted that and Billy Joe hasn’t looked the best of himself in a long time,” said DiBella.
The New Yorker believes his fighter has a good chance of upsetting Saunders because of his knockout power. He insists Khurtsidze a legitimate threat.
“The one thing about Khurtsidze is that he’s hungrier than Billy Joe, he’s relentless with his attacks and capable of doing damage at any stage of the fight. Khurtsidze could be down by four or five rounds and still mount offensive attacks that could win him the fight. He is dangerous from the first bell until the end of the 12th round,” told DiBella.
The winner of this fight will most likely be in line to face the winner of Canelo-Golovkin. Saunders is putting his WBO middleweight title on the line against the Georgian. If he retains his title, then he has a shot of fighting for the mantle of undisputed middleweight champion of the world. Saunders actually had a chance to fight Golovkin instead of Khurtsidze but the powers chose otherwise.
“I don’t think missing out on the Golovkin fight will affect Billy Joe. He knows the importance of this fight. If he does beat Khurtsidze there is a big, big money fight there for him. I give Billy Joe enough credit that he understands the importance of this fight and will be prepared and ready,” stated DiBella.
With both Saunders and Khurtsidze being a bit loose at times, DiBella expects a good show from them.
“When I saw Frank Warren had called the fight ‘Mad Men’, I thought that was perfect because these are two crazy SOBs. It is hard to say who is the craziest. The irony of all the fire and craziness of their first press conference is that away from it all they would get along.”
Billy Joe Saunders and Avtandil Khurtsidze will fight for the WBO middleweight championship on July 8th at the Copper Box Arena in London.