Billy Joe Saunders: I Want The Fights With Canelo, Jacobs, GGG

Billy Joe Saunders has been in boxing too long to be overly worried about getting second billing to a pair of YouTube personalities. After the way his career has stalled over the past two years, the WBO super-middleweight champion is just happy to be boxing.

Saunders faces the little-known Argentinian Marcelo Coceres at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles, on Saturday night, the first defence of the title he won by beating the equally obscure Shefat Isufi in Stevenage in May.

Nearly two years on from his “breakthrough” win over David Lemieux, Saunders will be in action on the undercard of the celebrity fight between Logan Paul and KSI, some fall from the fights against the likes of Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez that he hoped that win in Canada would have set up.

Of course, he had hopes to make his US debut a year ago, against Demitrius Andrade, until an adverse finding in a drug test cost him his WBO middleweight title and the biggest purse of his career.

“I am looking forward to it because it is my American debut. I am up for the challenge and I am going over there to put my name out,” Saunders said.

“There would not be much point in sending me out there as chief-support on a 4,000-seater fight when I can go to LA in front of a sold-out 20,000 with two guys who got 10 million views on just their press conference.

“If I can take five or 10 per cent of their crowd with a good performance then I am establishing my name in America and giving myself a better chance of getting a Golovkin or Canelo.”

Saunders’s own forays into the world of social media have proved less successful than the bill-toppers aa he was fined £100,000 by the British Boxing Board of Control for his role in a video where he offered to give a woman some crack cocaine if she hit a passer-by.

He understands that most of the people who have bought a ticket for Saturday night will have no idea who he is.

“I don’t what sort of crowd it is, when you got out to a packed arena that lifts any fighter and you thrive on that energy,” he said.

“I hadn’t heard of KSI or Logan Paul but people should take their hat off to them because they have come from nowhere to have Matchroom, Sky Sports and DAZN all fighting over them. That demands respect because they have both done great business.

“I have always thought that ‘main event’ and ‘chief support’ is bullsh-t, the best fight of the night steals the show.

“Being told ‘you are top of the bill’ is boll-cks to me because long before the fight you know your opponent and your purse, the rest doesn’t matter as long as you put on a good performance.”

At 30, Saunders admits that if a big fight does not happen in the next 18 months, it probably will not happen for him at all.

“I made a lot of mistakes early on in my career but now I want my name out there for the right reasons,” he said. “I want the fights with the likes of Canelo, Golovkin and Danny Jacobs.

“I want to impress on my Matchroom, DAZN and Sky Sports debut and I was instantly interested in it when the offer came through. Tyson boxed at the Staples Center but I missed it because I was in training camp.

“All this show does is benefit me because, as long as I look good, the Americans are going to remember me for when I come back again. Eddie (Hearn) and my management have done their job so I have to do mine now.

“You want to call it ‘undercard’ I just know I am on the bill, end of story.”