Talks have begun over a potential bout between former WBO World middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders and former unified kingpin Gennady Golovkin, according to Saunders’ promoter Frank Warren.

After a turbulent 2018 in which Saunders was stripped of his World title following a failed drugs test for the banned stimulant oxilofrine, the 30-year-old Hatfield man made his return to the ring on December 22nd as he stopped the unheralded Charles Adamu in four rounds on the Warrington-Frampton undercard in Manchester.

Now, it appears, Saunders is ready to once again return to challenge the elite in the middleweight division – starting with recently deposed WBC belt-holder Golovkin, who himself suffered a year to forget as he lost his title and undefeated record in a September reverse to Mexican star Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

With Warren revealing the two men had come close to sharing a ring on a number of occasions previously, he went on to outline plans for a potential Golovkin-Saunders bout in 2019.

“We signed for the fight twice, they sent contracts and we signed them and sent them back.” said Warren on a recent appearance on the Pound for Pound podcast.

“Will they want that fight with no titles on the line? Maybe money will talk, and in fact my son spoke to Tom Loeffler today so we’re exploring that.

“We want to make the fight, it would be a fantastic fight.” he continued.

Though Warren was hopeful in a bid to strike a deal for the two men to meet, he seemed decidedly less enthused at the prospect of Saunders stepping into the ring with Golovkin-conqueror Alvarez, who recently captured the lightly-regard WBA ‘Regular’ super middleweight title with a third round TKO of Rocky Fielding in December.

“He [Saunders] will never fight Canelo.” said Warren.

“They don’t want that job, not after Billy did a job on David Lemieux.”

With southpaw slickster Saunders representing a tricky outing for any of the 160lbs proverbial top dogs, it remains to be seen whether ‘GGG’ would be prepared to step into the ring with the former Olympian.

Now belt-less and having served a drugs ban, Saunders finds himself in the unenviable position of bringing little to the bargaining table.

With Golovkin also reportedly weighing up offers from multiple platforms with regards to his next broadcasting deal, a bout with Saunders could only realistically take place should the Kazakh KO artist sign to fight on ESPN+ – the streaming service that homes both Bob Arum’s ‘Top Rank’ and Warren’s ‘Queensberry Promotions’.

Having made no secret of his desire for a trilogy fight with the aforementioned Alvarez, a deal to face Saunders would come as a surprise to many. Nevertheless, a pleasant one for boxing fans…