Billy Joe Saunders is inviting Canelo Alvarez to restart negotiations for December at super middleweight if he’s willing to come to the UK to fight him.
The WBO 168lb champion Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) says that he’ll let Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) keep his portion of the purse if he beats him.
Saunders, 30, recently pulled his name out of the running for Canelo’s September 12th fight, complaining about the low pay and inadequate amount of preparation time for him to get ready.
Billy Joe wanted a full 12-week camp to prepare for Canelo, but he estimates that it would have been closer to six had he agreed to the contest.
But it wasn’t just the lack of time that Saunders wasn’t happy with. He wanted more money, and with the pandemic and the absence of a gate, he wasn’t going to get what he wanted.
Billy Joe wants Canelo in September
“Wait until December and come to a proper super-middleweight champion. If he wants to come to England, I’ll let him keep [the money], said Saunders to IFL TV.
“If I beat him, pay me what I’m contracted. If I don’t, don’t pay me. That’s how confident I am.”
Depending on how desperate Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions are about wanting to fight Saunders, they’ll agree to fight him in December with the offer he’s made.
You can’t put it past Canelo to not renegotiate the fight with Saunders because he only has a limited number of vulnerable champions at 168 to fight. Canelo has not shown interest in facing super-middleweight champions, Caleb Plant and David Benavidez.
Most boxing fans would agree that Plant and Benavidez would be very, very hard fights for Canelo. Likewise, people would say the same thing if Canelo were to take on IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev or WBA champion Dmitry Bivol at 175. When Canelo moved up to 175, he took on Sergey Kovalev, who by far the weakest of the belt-holders in the division.
You can’t rule out Canelo facing Saunders because he only has two beatable champions at super middleweight with him and Callum Smith. Those are the weaker champs. The quality guys are Plant and Benavidez, and Canelo has never shown any motivation to fight either of them.
Saunders still has a good chance
While some boxing fans and so-called experts rate Canelo as #1 in the sport, you can’t say that picks his opponents well in choosing at what point in their careers to face them. Nelson described what Canelo is doing by saying that he “cherry-picks” opponents.
Alvarez fought Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and James Kirkland after they were both badly out of shape and had to lose a massive amount of weight. Canelo didn’t fight Golovkin until he was 35-years-old and coming off of back to back poor performance against Kell Brook and Danny Jacobs.
Also, Canelo didn’t fight Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, and Kermit Cintron until they were old. When Canelo moved up to 168 and 175 to challenge for world titles, he picked arguably the weakest of the champions in Rocky Fielding [WBA super middleweight] and Sergey Kovalev [WBO 175].
Given the way that Team Canelo picks his opposition, Saunders has an excellent chance of still getting a fight against him this year or in 2021. I’d be surprised if Saunders doesn’t get picked by Canelo because he’s right up his alley.
This is the type of opposition that Canelo likes to fight. Saunders is viewed as the weakest of the champions at super middleweight, and he’s looked horrible in his two fights in the weight class since moving up to 168 last year. Hence, you’d have to say that Saunders has an excellent chance of getting the Canelo fight.
Canelo knows fighters will face him on short notice
“I think it’s a calculated gamble whether or not you can have crowds there,” said Johnny Nelson to IFL TV on Canelo fighting on September 12th.
“It’s a Mayweather scenario all over again. I’ll train, train and train and get myself ready, and oh, you can fight me if you want.”
It’s disappointing that Canelo has followed in Mayweather’s footsteps with the way he cherry-picks his opponents, but it’s worked for him. Boxing fans don’t realize what Canelo has been doing with his opponent selection, and he’s got a lot of them believe he’s the greatest.
Even with the way Canelo has carefully picked his opponents, he should have a further four defeats on his record to Gennady Golovkin, Austin Trout, Erislandy Lara, and Miguel Cotto.
“So in a way, I rate Billy Joe,” Nelson continued. “He said, ‘Tell me if we’re fighting. Give me notice.’ Yes, I do,” said Nelson when asked if Billy Joe did the right thing by pulling his name out of consideration for the Canelo fight.”
Perhaps what gave Saunders the freedom to step away from the negotiations with Canelo is the likelihood that he believes that the Mexican star is boxed in, and will need to fight him at a later date.
If Canelo doesn’t, he would be forced to take on a good fighter at 168 or 175, and he’s not going to do that. It goes against his track record. Comin
“Canelo knows there are fighters out there that will take the chance and go in at short notice even though he’s [Canelo] been training for 15 years in preparation for this fight,” said Nelson.
Johnny is right about there being a lot of fighters willing to take a fight against Canelo on short notice after receiving a call from Golden Boy. Alvarez is so popular that any opponent would readily agree to fight him even on a weeks’ notice.
Is Canelo a cherry-picker?
Hopefully, Golden Boy doesn’t pick someone at the last moment for Canelo’s September 12th fight. If they already know who they want Canelo to fight, it would be disturbing if they chose to intentionally wait until the last moment to let that fighter know so they can get an edge over him by getting him partially out of shape.
“But would Billy Joe still be a winner?” said Nelson. “If he took gambles like this and stepped in at the last minute against the likes of Canelo, then look at Kell [Brook], who took a risk against Golovkin.
“I’m not saying he stepped in at short notice, but he took a risk. You’ve got fighters that don’t take risks. They keep winning and winning and getting themselves in where they can cherry-pick as Canelo and Mayweather did,” said Nelson.
Waiting as long as possible before letting Canelo’s next opponent know that he’s got the fight with him looks terrible.
Why wouldn’t Golden Boy at least tell the fighter that he’s the one that they want? If Canelo is the best boxer in the sport, why does he need to fight guys that aren’t fully ready?
Dillian Whyte willing to take risks
“You’ve got some fighters that take a risk, and it comes off like Dillian [Whyte] is doing now,” Nelson said. “So it’s a case of how much you cherish your career and how much competition is in front of you?
“I’d like to see it, but it won’t happen,” said Nelson when asked if he’d like to see Saunders vs. Chris Eubank Jr II rematch. “I want to see the difference Roy Jones Jr has made for Eubank Jr. “Sparring, footwork, movement, I want to see how much of a difference that he’s made,” said Nelson.
With Dillian Whyte, the only short notice fight he had was against journeyman Mariusz Wach last December, and that wasn’t a big deal. Wach is 39-years-old, and it’s not a badge of honor that Whyte fought him on short notice in Saudi.