Saunders 'would love' to fight Cork's O'Sullivan again, but issues stark warning to his friend

Saunders maintains Spike’s power lies a weight above, at 168 pounds, but believes his friend is worthy of a title shot.

WBO WORLD MIDDLEWEIGHT champion Billy Joe Saunders admits he’d ‘love’ to rematch his close friend Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan, but warned the Cork puncher that he stands no chance of pulling off an upset should the pair go at it again.

Saunders and ‘Spike’ fought at Wembley Arena in 2013 with the stylish Brit dominating the fight en route to a unanimous decision victory. In spite of their pre-fight animosity, the fighters grew close and have sparred countless rounds together in the intervening years.

O’Sullivan, who maintained personal problems during training camp and a burst eardrum (a recurring problem throughout his career) during the encounter scuppered his chances, achieved a stunning, career-best victory over the fancied Antoine Douglas in what was the co-main event to Saunders’ recent world title defence over David Lemieux in Montreal.

In doing so, the riotous Rebel propelled himself to the fringe of world title contention, and he made no bones about the fact that he wanted a rematch with his old pal next should the opportunity arise.

Source: Ryan Remiorz

“Spike is a very good friend of mine,” Saunders told Declan Taylor in The Sun. “We had a little fall-out on Twitter but we have made up now.

He is a really good fighter, a lot of people don’t give him credit but he’s tough for anybody — he can punch. I would love to fight him again, I really mean that.

“For one he’s my mate so I’d like to give him a payday, get him in the ring and get him some money. He is also deserving of a world-title shot and guess what? I’ve got the belt.”

But while Saunders would be willing to face O’Sullivan once more, he did insist that the Celtic Warrior-trained puncher loses some of his pop by squeezing down the middleweight limit – this in spite of Spike’s 19 knockouts in 27 wins.

Sparring the Mahon middleweight up at super-middle, per Saunders, tends to be a sorer prospect, and the WBO champ – whose predominant target remains Gennady Golovkin – warned that it would be another long night for O’Sullivan were they to fight again, even in spite of his vast improvement since 2013.

“He won’t beat me, I think he knows deep down he cannot beat me,” Saunders said.

Maybe in his own head he thinks he has got better since last time so he has a chance of beating me. But he won’t. I battered him last time, I’m surprised he wants it again. He has come over for sparring since then and we were sparring at 168. Wow, he can really punch at that weight.

“He can punch like a heavyweight at 168, super-middle, but doing the middleweight limit of 160 just saps a little bit out of him. I’m not saying he’s better off going up in weight but at 168 his power increases rapidly from what it is at 160.

“Making weight saps us all a bit but his power at 168 is frightening. At 160 he hasn’t got enough to stop me and it would be another hard night for him, mark my words.”

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