Canelo vs. Saunders: 60,000 expected for May 8th fight at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX

Super middleweight champions Canelo Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs) and Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) will be headlining potentially in front of a crowd of 60,000 fans on May 8th live on DAZN at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX.

Staging the Canelo-Saunders fight on Cinco de Mayo increases the chances that fans will want to come to see the fight at the AT&T Stadium, even though it’s a mismatch and not a compelling fight.

It will be a testament to Canelo’s drawing power if he’s able to bring 60,000 fans during the pandemic for a fight that no one in the U.S or the UK is demanding. Saunder is an OK stay-busy fight, but it’s not one that you envision selling out a stadium.

Alvarez will have his WBA, WBC, and Ring Magazine super middleweight titles in play against WBO champion Saunders. Canelo’s goal is to win all four of the 168-lb titles in 2021.

“This fight is the biggest of 2021 so far with Canelo looking to unify the division once more against undefeated two-weight World champion Billy Joe Saunders,” said Eddie Hearn.

“We want to thank Jerry Jones, the Dallas Cowboys, and AT&T Stadium for their efforts to bring this global event to their stunning facility.”

Billy Joe Saunders, Canelo Alvarez, DAZN - Boxing News

The promoters for the event at Matchroom Boxing are banking on a massive crowd attending during the still lethal pandemic in Texas. 60,000 is a wildly ambitious number for the U.S for a fight between Canelo and Billy Joe.

If this were the UK, where fans are familiar with Saunders and admire him, maybe it would bring in 60,000 fans. That’s not the case here.

Saunders isn’t a household name with Americans, and the fan does know of him in the U.S sees him as a spoiler type of fighter who specializes in fighting B & C level opposition.

Saunders tends to get injured a lot during training camps, which leads to him postponing fights. He does a lot of that. Billy Joe’s recent fights against mediocre opponents – Martin Murray, Marcelo Esteban Coceres, and Shefat Isufi – show that he’s been willing to take A-level opposition.

It’s guesswork at this point how many fans are willing to take the risk to see what likely be another ‘Bum of the month’ mismatch for Canelo against another over-matched fighter.

“It was a mandatory fight for me, and now I got to move up to 168 pounds against Billy Joe Saunders, and I’m looking to collect more belts and add more gold to my resume,” said Canelo to Mike Tyson’s Hot Boxin this week.

“He’s a champion with the WBO,” Canelo said of Billy Joe. “It’s difficult to go too much weight up,” said Alvarez when Tyson asked him if he wants to go up to 175.

“168 is my weight now, and I feel good. I feel this is my best moment. I feel like nobody can beat me right now. I’m going to fight the best fighters out there.

“I’m fighting Billy Joe Saunders, one of the best fighters at 168. I just fought last December against #1 at 168 [Callum Smith]. I beat him, and I’m going forward,” said Canelo.

Callum Smith definitely wasn’t the #1 fighter at 168, although he was called during the marketing for his fight with Canelo. Smith is perhaps #5 or #6 at 168, but clearly not #1.

It’s good that Canelo beat Smith, but he didn’t beat the best at super middleweight. Most boxing fans see David Benavidez as #1 and Canelo as #2.

An interesting fight would Canelo facing David Benavidez, Jermall Charlo, or Gennadiy Golovkin. Saunders doesn’t fit in that group. He fits better in the Avni Yildirim, Rocky Fielding, and Callum Smith group.

Billy Joe Saunders, Canelo Alvarez, DAZN - Boxing News

Four of the last five of Canelo’s fights have been boring affairs beating up on fighters that didn’t belong inside the ring with him:

  • Avni Yildirim
  • Callum Smith
  • Sergey Kovalev
  • Rocky Fielding

The one competitive fight Canelo had in the last two years was against Daniel Jacobs, and even that wasn’t a great match-up.

After the Mexican star finishes unifying the 168lb division this year, Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn said Canelo wants to go on a world tour in places like Japan and Mexico.

It’s unknown who Canelo will fight in those places, but my guess is it won’t be GGG, Charlo, Benavidez, or Demetrius Andrade.