Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders have agreed to meet in May in a unification fight at 168. The fight will take place on either May 1st or May 8th, and the location is still yet to be determined. The number one choice is the new Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
If not there, the other options are to stage the fight in Texas or Florida. Those are two states that are allowing crowds for sporting events.
Canelo, 30, prefers the May 8th date for the Saunders unification bout over the May 1st date.
For the match to happen, Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) will need to beat his WBC mandatory Avni Yildirim on February 27th.
Also, Canelo can’t afford to suffer an injury because that would cause the match with WBO super-middleweight champion Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) to be postponed until after he’s healed.
Saunders isn’t a big puncher, and he’s not viewed as a real threat to Canelo. He’s a more technical fighter than Yildirim, but he lacks world-class punching power.
Saunders has gotten this far in the sport with a combination of his slick fighting style and careful match-making.
He’s captured two world titles without facing anyone dangerous like Jermall Charlo, Gennadiy Golovkin, or David Benavidez.
The fighters that Canelo should be fighting are Charlo, GGG, Benavidez, and Bektemir Melikuziev.
Boxing fans will likely need to wait until 2022 for Canelo to fight Golovkin and Benavidez. It’s inconceivable that Canelo won’t fight at least one of those guys in 2022.
This year, Canelo has an excuse to take arguably easy fights against Yildirim, Saunders, and Caleb Plant. But in 2022, he’s going to have to step it up and face the quality.
It’s not a good sign, though, that Canelo’s manager/trainer Eddy Reynoso is saying that they really want to fight in Japan. What this means is we’ll almost surely see Canelo taking an easy fight against Ryota Murata.
What many boxing fans are trying to figure out is why Canelo is bothering to defend his WBC 168-lb title against mandatory Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) when he opted not to defend his WBC 160-lb belt against Jermall Charlo when he was his mandatory.
Instead of Canelo facing Jermall, the World Boxing council stepped in and elevated him to WBC Franchise champion, which freed him of the burden of having to face Charlo.
Canelo is still the Franchise champion, and he doesn’t need to defend against Yildirim. He wants that fight for some reason, and it’s hard to know what’s different about Yildirim that makes Canelo want to fight him.
What’s also interesting to note is Canelo vacated his WBC middleweight title in the past when the then 34-year-old Gennadiy Golovkin was his mandatory in 2016.
Although Canelo did eventually fight Golovkin in 2017, it was a year later after GGG had put in a less than impressive performance against Kell Brook in 2016.