Billy Joe Saunders refers to Canelo Alvarez as the “invincible man,” and he’s ready to beat him this year. Saunders’ management is attempting to negotiate the fight with Canelo (53-1-2, 36 K.O.s) for September.
Before the lockdown, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn was close to announcing the Canelo vs. Saunder fight. The pandemic has thrown everything off, putting Saunders’ fight in jeopardy. Right now, it’s up in the air whether Hearn can revive the talks and get the match done for Saunders.
What could derail the fight is the problem with crowds not being allowed for live events in the States. If the situation stays this way for the remainder of 2020, then Canelo and Saunders would need to agree to fight behind closed doors.
While Saunders, 30, is agreeable to fighting in an empty arena, it remains to be seen if Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy Promotions would be willing to do that.
There would be a massive loss of revenue for Canelo and Golden Boy in taking the fight behind closed doors, and it might be better for them to wait until this thing blows over. But on the other hand, if Canelo doesn’t fight for the remainder of the year, then he’ll lose even more money.
If Golden Boy is going to wait, then they need to have a cut-off period where get Canelo back in the ring. Canelo can’t afford to wait years for the pandemic to end before he fights again.
“I don’t need people to tell me who I can beat. I know who I can beat Canelo Alvarez by myself,” said Saunders to Fighthype. “I know I’ve got the beating of him, and I will beat him. My boxing speaks for itself. I’ve never been beat, and I believe I’ll end up unbeaten.
“I want to beat the invincible man Canelo Alvarez. He’s the big one that has got the belts. I’m lucky enough to have MTK, and they’re doing everything to make sure this fight goes and ahead and happens.
“That’s the one I want because to be the best; you’ve got beat the best. My boxing alone, it’ll take a lot to untangle me, that’s for sure. So why wouldn’t I want to fight the best, and that’s what I want to do.
Golovkin got beat by Alvarez, but if they said you’re going to fight Golovkin or Alvarez, I’d choose Alvarez. But they are the two I want,” said Saunders.
We’ve seen a decline in Saunder’s physical skills in the last year, and a big reason for that is all the inactivity that he’s had. He’s been plagued by nagging injuries, which has wiped out a lot of his fight.
In the best possible world, Saunders would take two or three tune-ups before facing Canelo, but he doesn’t have that luxury. If Saunders is going to get the fight at all with Canelo, then it’s going to have to happen now.
“All these other superstars like Danny Jacobs, they had their chance, and they were beaten,” said Saunders. “Let me have my chance. If I get beat, I get beat. I’m the fairest man in the world. If I get beaten by someone that I better than me, I can only shake their hand,” said Saunders.
Canelo seems to have reached a point in his career where he’s cherry-picking opponents in selecting the weakest champions at 168 and 175. We saw that in Canelo’s last fight when he moved up to 175 and took on Sergey Kovalev, who many boxing fans rated as far below IBF/WBC champ Artur Beterbiev and WBA champ Dmitry Bivol. Now Canelo is doing it again in picking WBO 168-lb champion Saunders.
The really talented champions at super middleweight are WBC belt holder David Benavidez and IBF champ Caleb Plant. If Canelo fought them, he would have a 50-50 chance of winning if that. A lot of boxing fans would pick Plant and Benavidez to beat Canelo.
“My main goal is to Canelo in the ring and see what I can do.” said Saunders. “The promoters and managers are on the blower trying to make the fight [with Canelo] as we speak, but is the T.V. going to back the fight without a crowd? I don’t know. Is it going to be behind closed doors, or do we have to wait until this is all over?” said Saunders.
It’ll be interesting to see if Saunder’s management can complete the deal for him to fight Canelo.
Saunders is in a better position to get this fight than he may realize because Canelo doesn’t seem to be eager to take on any of the talented fighters at 160, 168 and 175 right now. With Canelo’s contract with DAZN, he at least needs to fight a belt-holder, even if it’s a paper champion like Saunders.
If Canelo doesn’t fight Saunders, then he would need to find someone that DAZN would agree to him facing. They would likely be overjoyed if Canelo fought Demetrius Andrade, Jermall Charlo, Benavidez, Plant, Bivol, or Beterbiev.
The problem is, those guys would have a good shot at beating Canelo. So that’s why Saunders is in a good position to get the Canelo fight. He’s got a world title, and he’s someone that fights on DAZN. Besides that, Saunders is beatable.
He was losing his last fight against little known Marcelo Coceres last November when he rallied to score a stoppage in the 11th. That fight showed how glad Saunders is at this point in his career.
“So those are the type of things that we’re waiting for the government for rather than the promoters,” Saunders said. “These promoters can say that they’re looking to do big shows behind closed doors, but really are they going to be big shows?
In the back of a garden somewhere? They’re not going to be big shows. It’s going to be very difficult to make big fights in an empty arena. We’ll have to take big pay cuts,” said Saunders.
As long as the governments in the U.S. and U.K. aren’t permitting crowds to assemble, then there won’t be any big cards. If Canelo fights Saunders behind closed doors, the undercard will likely be a skeleton crew of prospects and not the talented guys like Ryan Garcia.