Preliminary talks have already started between Saul Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders camps for a unification fight at super middleweight between them in May of 2020, according to @SIChrisMannix. WBO 168-lb champion Saunders promoter Eddie Hearn strongly believes this fight will happen.
Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) had a close call last Saturday night in beating Marcelo Esteban Coceres (28-1-1, 15 KOs) by an 11th round knockout on the undercard of KSI vs. Logan Paul on DAZN at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California.
Following Saunders’ knockout win over Coceres, he said, “Canelo Alvarez is the one that I want next.”
Saunders was up on two of the judges’ scorecards 96-94, 96-94, and trailing on the third by a 96-94. He was taking punishment and facing badly during the championship rounds. In the 11th, Saunders landed a shot that hurt Coceres, and he quickly dropped him three times to score a knockout.
“The big fights are coming. I believe he’ll get Canelo next,” said Saunders’ promoter Hearn to Sky Sports Boxing “Billy Joe is one of the top fighters in the world, but tonight he looked flat. Hopefully, Canelo looks at that and says, ‘We want him for May.”
Canelo has options at 168, but most of them involve risky fights that he wouldn’t be guaranteed to win. Callum Smith is another fighter that Hearn wants to match against Canelo, but he’s considered too big, too powerful and too much of a threat for the 5’8″ Mexican star. Callum is essentially a light heavyweight, and he’s in his prime.
Although Canelo is coming off of a knockout victory over WBO 175-lb champion Sergey Kovalev, he was clearly well over-the-hill, and appeared to make only a token effort at winning. Callum is a different story. He’s young, and in his prime. It would be a completely different ball game for Canelo.
The light hitting Saunders isn’t a threat to knockout Canelo, which means his only way of beating him is by a decision. That prove difficult if Saunders faces Canelo in Las Vegas where it’s incredibly difficult to beat him by decision.
Super middleweight titleholder Billy Joe Saunders called out @Canelo after his win last night, and there have been some very preliminary discussions between the Canelo/Saunders sides about a fight next year, per sources. DAZN will continue to push for a Canelo-GGG trilogy in May.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) November 10, 2019
Canelo would likely have it easy facing Saunders. Of all the elite level fighters Canelo can face, Saunders is without question the most vulnerable. He’s arguably the equivalent of Kovalev for the super middleweight division. In other words, Saunders is the weakest link of the 168-lb champions.
Canelo would more respect but face greater risk in facing one of these fighters next May:
- Artur Beterbiev
- Dmitry Bivol
- Gennadiy Golovkin
- Callum Smith
- Oleksandr Gvozdyk
- Jermall Charlo
- Caleb Plant
- David Benavidez