Roy Jones Jr says Canelo Alvarez has no choice but to go for the kill on Saturday when he faced the fleet of foot Billy Joe Saunders in their 168lb unification clash at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Canelo (55-1-2, 37 KOs) will be making a mistake if he leaves WBO super middleweight champion Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) out there, giving him time to make him look bad in the eyes of the fans and the judges.
The stamina issues that Canelo has had in the past could resurface for this fight, and if that happens, Saunders, 31, has a chance to win.
Canelo vs. Saunders will be heading on DAZN on Saturday night in a Matchroom Boxing card at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Promoter Eddie Hearn says there will be 70,000 fans in attendance, making it the biggest boxing event in 2021.
With that many fans in attendance, Canelo needs to get the win and look good doing so.
The fans will overwhelmingly be supporting Canelo, not Saunders.
If today’s weigh-in indicates what Saturday will be, Saunders will be dealing with a lot of hostile pro-Canelo fans. During Friday’s weigh-in, Saunders was heavily booed by Canelo’s fans.
Canelo must go after Saunders
“You better go for the kill, that’s the only way you can fight Billy Joe,” said Roy Jones Jr to Little Giant Boxing. “That’s the perfect fight plan.
“If I was training Canelo, I’d say, ‘We got to get this dude. We can’t give him time, we got to go get him.’ He better,” said Jones when asked if Canelo should press Saunders.
“I love Canelo. He’s pound-for-pound. As far as the ring size goes, Billy Joe knows for him to have a chance, he has to get away from Canelo. It’s commons sense.
“So Billy Joe says, ‘I need a big a ring as possible.’ I mean, look at the matchbox they put me in the ring with Mike Tyson.
How am I going to get away from him in that itty bitty place? So when you’re a boxer and you depend on your skills more than you’re power, you need as much room to operate as possible,” said Jones.
Canelo must go after Saunders for him to get a clear win and not end up getting embarrassed. If Canelo gives Saunders room to move freely, he’s going to have problems.
Saunders needs room to operate
“Billy Joe needs as much operating room as possible. I hear Billy Joe is a jerk, but I don’t know him like that.
“But that’s a legitimate point; that’s not being a jerk. When you’re a boxer, you need room in order to operate because more room you got, the harder it is for your opponent to catch you.
“So he’s got room to argue. I’m not saying pull out of the fight because of that issue, but it is an argument that you must have to fight for the biggest ring possible,” said Jones.
The way that Saunders was willing to get cutthroat over the ring size made him look bad in the eyes of fans, and if he doesn’t pay off, he’s going to look silly afterward.
“Put me in a 16 by 16, and I’m good because I can fight on the inside and outside,” said Jones. “I’m not like Billy Joe. I got power and I can do everything.
“It depends on how bad you want this bear to kill you because you can strap the bear up or let it roam, it’s still a bear. It’s different when it comes to me.
“I’m not a one-dimensional guy. Billy Joe understands he has to be a boxer to win. Canelo understands he has to track the boxer down to win,” Jones said.
Canelo can’t afford to box with a boxer on Saturday because that will give Saunders his only chance of winning the fight.
If Saunders can fight Canelo in a jab contest, he’ll have a better than average chance of winning. Whether the judges give Saunders the victory is another matter.
Alvarez understands it’s a tough fight
Canelo Alvarez recognizes that his fight with Saunders is going to be a lot harder than the matches he’s been taking since his grueling rematch with Gennady Golovkin in 2018.
Saunders isn’t going to stand there in front of Canelo with a ‘hit me sign taped to his face on Saturday.’ He’s going to be on the move looking to outbox Canelo, making him look bad every step of the way.
“I love how Canelo addresses it. He says, ‘This is going to be a very tough fight for me.’It lets you know he’s on point,” said Jones.
“That’s what makes me think he’s going to prevail in the end because he knows. Other people are saying, ‘Oh, this is easy with Billy Joe.’
“No, it’s not easy. Billy Joe can freaking box. I know a lot of people don’t like him, but he can box. He’s been out for a while. He doesn’t look like he’s progressed a whole lot lately.
“But he’s still a very, very smart boxer. So with boxing skills, Billy Joe can beat anybody.
“Billy Joe’s best guys to fight against are those hard-hitting guys because they give him the opportunity to see it coming and he operates.
“That’s how he did it with David Lemieux. He loved it. He makes his move like he wants to make them.
“So he’s the type of guy that if you give him what he wants and he gets comfortable, he can become a problem. But I’m glad that Canelo understands that,” said Jones Jr.
One thing where Jones is wrong is lumping Canelo in with Lemieux when it comes to Saunders because there’s a huge difference.
The things that Billy Joe was able to do against the rather crude Lemieux in 2017 aren’t going to work as well with Canelo.
While it was a great win for Saunders over Lemieux, that fighter has already been beaten more decisively by Golovkin a year earlier. Lemieux had also ben beaten by Marco Antonio Rubio and Jochim Alcine in 2011.