Billy Joe Saunders’ promoter Eddie Hearn says he’s reached out to the promoters for Canelo Alvarez at Golden Boy to reengage with them to begin negotiations for a fight in September. Canelo and Saunders were almost set to fight on May 2 when the pandemic caused an interruption in finalizing the deal.
Hearn is now hoping that Golden Boy Promotions will want to put the Canelo-Saunders fight together, and he suspects they will. Canelo doesn’t have a lot of options available to him, and if he decides to go the cheap way by finding an opponent that will agree to less money, DAZN may not accept the fight.
We already heard rumors of Anthony Dirrell, Willie Monroe Jr, and Sergiy Derevyanchenko all being approached by Golden Boy to gauge their interest in a Canelo fight. Dirrell is coming off of a loss, and Monroe has done nothing with his career aside from losing to Gennadiy Golovkin and Billy Joe Saunders.
Saunders isn’t a great choice either as far as the U.S boxing fans are concerned because he’s not well-known, and his fighting style is negative. The best thing Saunders has going for him is his ability to drive interest with fans in trash talking.
Saunders is probably the best trash talker in the 168-pound division. Talent-wise, Saunders is perhaps sixth-best fighter in the division, but that won’t bother Canelo. He’s not been fighting the best lately, so he won’t complain if Saunders is the one he faces in September.
Hearn restarting Canelo-Saunders negotiations
“Right now, we’re reestablishing where the fights are going to be, the budget for the show, and are there going to be a crowd?” said Hearn to SI Podcast on his efforts to contact Golden Boy to restart negotiations for Canelo vs. Saunders fight.
“I sent an Email to [Golden Boy president] Eric Gomez a couple of days ago just saying, ‘We had a deal in place for Billy Joe Saunders. I understand it’s not in place anymore, but we want the fight, and we’re happy to talk about the fight,'” said Hearn.
This is going to be interesting to hear what Hearn says about Golden Boy’s response to his attempts at restarting the Canelo negotiations. They might realize that Saunders won’t agree to a significant pay cut, which is probably what they’re going to be asking him to take.
Will Saunders willingly agree to have his purse offer reduced 50% from what it was previously to face Canelo? Probably now, which is why that Golden Boy might not even bother asking Saunders.
Golden Boy could pick a cheap opponent for Canelo
“Everybody is being asked at the moment, ‘if you want to fight now, here is the new deal. If you want to wait until next year, of course, that’ll be honored, but if you want to get out and progress your career, you have to understand, the game’s changed, and the landscape has changed,'” said Hearn.
“That question will probably be asked of Canelo Alvarez for Golden Boy to say, ‘There’s no gate, but we were going to take 8 million dollars, and now we’re not. So what’s going to happen to that $8 million. Do we try and find a cheaper opponent, do we try and find a smaller crowd and do you try and take less money, Canelo Alvarez?’ That’s going to be an interesting conversation.
“I’ve seen fighters like Terence Crawford come out with, ‘You’re not going to pay me less money during the pandemic.’ ‘Alright, then maybe you have to wait.’
And maybe he says, ‘Okay, I will wait.’ But it’s the guys that want to progress their careers like AJ. We were supposed to fight in June, but now he’s going to fight in November. No problem.
“But other guys, they need to fight, and I feel the ones that are going to take chances are the ones that can really establish themselves as stars. The ones that sit out and grow stale are going to grow into irrelevance. So it’s an important time for fighters to make the right decisions as well,” said Hearn.
There’s a very good chance that Golden Boy will pick an opponent that will agree to the least amount of money to face Canelo. That may not be Dirrell, Derevyanchenko, or Monroe Jr. Canelo could follow the lead of Top Rank, who has been putting on a lot of mismatches between good fighters facing over-matched opposition in their recent cards in Las Vegas.
If Canelo and Golden Boy go for the absolute rock bottom cheapest opponent they can get, it wouldn’t be surprising if they pick Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan. The problem with him being chosen is DAZN would need to agree to let Canelo fight him on their platform.
You have to remember that DAZN is paying Canelo millions upon millions for each fight, and they ideally want him to face opposition that will bring in the subscribers. If Canelo selects some poor sap that is just happy to get any money they offer him, DAZN might remind him that they want value and not just a body inside the ring with him.
Canelo’s options are to offer Saunders a new deal
“I think the options are for him to come back and offer Billy Joe Saunders a new deal, and again, maybe Billy Joe Saunders won’t take anything less than what they agreed,” said Hearn in predicting what Canelo will do next.
“They [Golden Boy] could try and find a cheaper opponent [for Alvarez], but is that an opponent that will be approved by DAZN? A cheaper opponent generally means a fight that fans aren’t interested in. So we’ve got to get the balance right.
“People have all got to understand that we’ve got to dig in right now and do our bit. It doesn’t mean that you should fight for money that you don’t feel presents your value, but you have to understand that in this moment in time, things have changed and we all need to get back on our feet and move forward collectively as a team,” said Hearn.