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Frank Warren gives update on Billy Joe Saunders, discusses boxing’s move to streaming platforms

Frank Warren updates us on Billy Joe Saunders, discusses the rise of streaming, and more.

Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Veteran British boxing promoter Frank Warren spoke with Fight Hub TV’s Marcos Villegas recently, and gave an update on former WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, who was stripped of his title earlier this year after failing a VADA drug test.

“He’s appealed the Massachusetts ruling, and we’re in a position now where we’re trying to map out what he’s going to do next. He’s obviously a quality fighter, you’ve seen that against David Lemieux,” Warren said. “Look what he did with Lemieux. They all thought he was going to knock out Bill. Look what he did. Bill’s a quality guy, he’s still a young man, still got lots to give, and he wants to get his title back.”

Saunders (26-0, 12 KO) hasn’t fought since his Dec. 2017 wipeout win over David Lemieux in Quebec, and before the VADA issue earlier this year was thought to be potentially in the running for a fight with Canelo Alvarez.

But Warren doesn’t expect that to come to pass any time soon — or ever.

“I don’t think Canelo would ever fight him. I didn’t think (Canelo) wanted to fight him when (Saunders) was champion,” Warren said. “They talked about it. We never got it over the line. I think especially when he beat Lemieux that night, I remember looking down the line at (Golden Boy executive) Eric Gomez, and I thought to myself, ‘You’ve just absolutely done yourself out of that Canelo fight, they won’t fight you after that performance.’”

He added, “It’s styles. I’s all about styles. You know what you’ve got with Golovkin. He’s a great fighter, Golovkin, no doubt about that, and he did do well, but Bill is a very difficult guy to beat. If he’s up for it and he’s 100 percent — he’s a bit like Tyson (Fury), he’s a very difficult guy to beat. I mean, you saw it. He took Lemieux to school.”

Warren also discussed the rise of streaming platforms in boxing, and the future of pay-per-view.

“At the end of the day, can it generate income? It has to generate income so that the boxers can earn money. At the moment it’s all about investment,” he said. “But no matter how much money you’ve got, no one wants to lose money. And at the end of the day, is that investment going to pay off? And that’s going to tell you whether streaming will work.”

Warren said he expects it’ll be “a couple of years” to see if the model will work, and that he doesn’t think pay-per-view is done in the sport.

“If you said to Floyd Mayweather, ‘We’re going to stream your fight for $10 or I’m gonna do $100 pay-per-view,’ what do you think Floyd Mayweather would do? Pay-per-view’s not over yet.”

Speaking of DAZN specifically, Warren said, “Canelo’s going to fight twice a year for them and he’ll probably deliver some decent numbers for those two fights. But you’ve got to hang on to those fans for the rest of the 10 months, the rest of the 50 weeks. That’s going to be the test.”

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