This Saturday will see the first big, big fight of 2021, as Mexican superstar, in fact global superstar, Canelo Alvarez faces Billy Joe Saunders in a super-middleweight unification clash. And Saunders says we better get ready for what he says will be “the biggest upset in boxing history….certainly in the last 20 years.”
Where would it rank amongst the shockers and the stunners if Saunders and his slick southpaw skills were enough to score the upset against Canelo? Would it top Lloyd Honeyghan’s massive win over Don Curry from 1986? Would a Saunders win over Canelo trump the astonishing victory Randolph Turpin managed to pull off in the summer of 1951, when he defeated the one and only Sugar Ray Robinson? Would a Saunders win over Canelo even top the big one, the jaw-dropper 42/1 outsider James “Buster” Douglas shocked the world with against Mike Tyson in 1990?
Saunders, speaking with BBC Sports, said he believes his win is “meant to be.”
“I’ve planned this out in my head and I’ve been dreaming about this since I was a little boy fighting in my front room,” Saunders said. “I’ve had dreams of this day happening since I was about five or six years old….I’ve got all the way here. This will be the biggest upset in boxing history, I believe. Certainly in the last 20 years. I believe this is meant to be. I want to win this so badly it’s a joke.”
Saunders, unbeaten at 30-0(14) is a big underdog going into Saturday’s fight in Texas yet he is not without his supporters – chief among thm heavyweight champ Tyson Fury. Fury and other people feel Saunders is all wrong for Canelo, that the southpaw is sharper and faster than Canelo and that he will outbox him, give him absolute fits even. Saunders, the reigning and defending WBO super-middleweight champion, has as we know been calling for this fight for some years.
But might Saunders freeze on the night? This seems unlikely, yet you never can tell. This will be far and away the biggest fight of Saunders’ career, while for Canelo, 55-1-2(37), it’s basically another day at the office. It’s a fascinating match-up, with speed and skills going up against power and skills. The big problem Saunders might have is being able to hurt Canelo, being able to get his respect. Might Canelo march right through Saunders?
Saunders has utter belief he will get the upset win, Canelo has utter belief he will win yet another world title as he continues his latest quest, that of unifying all the belts at 168 pounds. Will will see a momentous upset, or will the formbook be obeyed on Saturday night?