WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez will now be fighting WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders in June, and then taking on IBF 160lb champion Gennadiy Golovkin in September in a pair of unification fights for the Mexican star. His planned May 2 fight against Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) is moved back a month to June, according to ESPN MX, but at least it appears to be still on.
By staging the Canelo vs. Saunders fight in June instead of May, it could save it from being postponed because of the coronavirus. That may be wishful thinking though. There’s a good chance that the coronavirus will still be around in June, rearing its ugly head in the U.S, and making it impossible to fight in large arenas.
The Canelo-Saunders fight is being moved to June because of the coronavirus threat. If the fight can’t take place in the first half of June, then Canelo will go straight into September for his next contest. What happens with Saunders at that point is anyone’s guess. Canelo won’t be fighting Saunders in September, but maybe in 2021 or later if there’s a demand for that fight at that time.
Canelo vs. Billy Joe announcement delayed
Golden Boy Promotions was going to announce the Canelo vs. Saunders fight a week ago, but they held off to wait and see what’s going on with the situation with the coronavirus within the U.S.
Saunders, 30, is in the U.S training for the Canelo fight, and he likely won’t return to the UK until he faces him. With the travel restrictions between the U.S the UK, it would be a risky situation for Saunders to go back home to England.
The more important trilogy fight between Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) and Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) will go ahead for September, provided that the two superstars win their next fights. At this stage, you can’t assume that either fighter will fight again until September.
Could Canelo-Saunders be moved to 2021?
What’s not being said is if the Canelo-Saunders fight requires one more postponement into July or August, then it’s possible that fight won’t happen in 2020. The reason being that Canelo can’t afford to miss out on the Golovkin trilogy in September because that’s the fight that DAZN and the world want to see. Canelo WON’T be able to fight twice in 2020 if his fight with Saunders requires a second postponement.
Golovkin is the money fight for Canelo, and it’s the one that will bring in the subscribers to DAZN. In contrast, Saunders is a record-padding type match-up for Canelo to add a title, albeit a paper one, to his resume.
— billyjoesaunders (@bjsaunders_) March 17, 2020
If Canelo chooses to stick with the Saunders fight by facing him in August or September, then that’ll likely be the Mexican star’s only fight for 2020. That’s bad news for DAZN, given that Saunders is about as popular in the U.S as former Canelo victim Rocky Fielding. In other words, Saunders doesn’t hold any appeal for U.S boxing fans.
It’s Canelo that wanted to fight Saunders, and his decision to do that has been widely criticized as a cherry-pick by a lot of fans. They wanted Canelo to fight one of the talented super middleweight or light heavyweights, but he chose Saunders.
GGG to defend against Szeremeta
Golovkin is supposed to be defending his IBF middleweight strap against his IBF mandatory Kamil Szeremeta (21-0, 5 KOs), but he’s been slowed by a calf injury that has made it problematic for him to return to the ring.
Golovkin, 37, can’t afford to take a fight that could result in him putting his September trilogy match against Canelo in jeopardy. It’s not that GGG could lose to Szeremeta. It’s more of a case of him potentially getting injured during the fight, which would make it difficult for him to heal up in time to face Canelo in September. Few boxing fans would cry if Golovkin vacated the IBF title, and forgot about fighting Szeremeta.
This is another fight that fans aren’t particularly interested in. It’s unclear whether Golovkin needs the IBF title for him to get a third fight with Canelo. Although Canelo wanted Golovkin to have a title for when they fight again, he’s under contract with DAZN, as GGG is, and they want that fight to happen.
Golovkin making needless title defenses against a little known fighter like Szeremeta might be a waste of time for him and for the fans.