If anybody can beat Canelo, Billy Joe Saunders is the super-middleweight for the job, insists promoter Eddie Hearn. To no-one’s great surprise, it was confirmed last night, just after Canelo had predictably hammered Avni Yildrim, how the Mexican superstar will fight the unbeaten Brit next. The fight, set for May 8, is an interesting one for sure, yet almost everyone sees it as yet another win for Canelo as he goes about scooping up all the belts at 168 pounds.
Canelo seems to be just about unbeatable right now, something his December victim Callum Smith basically said he is. 168 appears to be the ideal weight for the 30-year-old and Smith and many other people say the flame-haired warrior will never be beaten by any super-middleweight in the world. But Saunders might – might – be better equipped than anyone else when it comes to giving Canelo real trouble. With his slick southpaw style and speed, BJS, if he’s right on the night, might (there’s that word again) be able to win rounds, frustrate Canelo and test him like he’s not been tested in some time.
But can Saunders, 30-0(14) actually defeat Canelo? It would be a huge upset, but Hearn said when speaking with Fight Hub how BJS has the blend of skill, talent and “craziness” to be able to beat Canelo. BJS will carry “no fear,” Hearn said.
“Billy Joe Saunders for a long time has said he will beat Canelo Alvarez. He has the style to beat him,” Hearn said. “I’ll tell you one thing, I think if there’s anyone in the division that will beat or could beat Canelo, it’s Billy Joe Saunders – because he has the style and the movement and he has something different in his head. No fear. He can come out and he boxes and he moves and he flows, you know. Other fighters come out [Hearn feigns being tense). I think [BJS] is an underdog in the fight. But he may be a guy who has a better chance than anybody to beat him, he’s a bit crazy and he won’t fear and he’s slick.”
The Saunders who dazzled against dangerous puncher David Lemieux, picking up a commanding decision win back in December of 2017, would be a most interesting puzzle for Canelo to solve. However, it might be that that fight, that performance, was Saunder’s peak display. Since then, the 31 year old southpaw has boxed just four times, and it’s fair to say he has blown hot and cold during this time. Saunders, though, seems to understand he will need to be at his very best for the Canelo fight. Will he be? Can he be? Can Saunders pull off a British win that would rank right up there with Randy Turpin W15 Sugar Ray Robinson, Lloyd Honeyghan WRTD Don Curry and Ricky Hatton WRTD Kostya Tszyu?
Styles make fights, and it could be that Hearn is right, that BJS has the right kind of slick, fast, fearless and crazy style needed to topple the pound-for-pound king.