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Saunders wants Canelo Alvarez fight at 175


By Tim Royner: Billy Joe Saunders says he’s interested in moving up to 175 to challenge Saul Canelo Alvarez for his WBO light heavyweight title, and he thinks he can beat him. Saunders (28-0, 13 KOs) wants a crack at the highly popular Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) at 168 or 175, and he’s ready to do it.

Billy could be dreaming though, because Canelo isn’t likely to fight him. The fans in the U.S don’t want to see Canelo fight obscure champions that they’ve never heard of before.

Saunders believes he’s destined to get the fight with Canelo, but that may not happen given the mediocre opposition he’s facing. Instead of facing the best, Saunders has been arguably padding his resume in the last four years fighting these guys:

  • Shefat Isufi
  • David Lemieux
  • Charles Adamu
  • Artur Akavov
  • Yoann Bloyer
  • Willie Monroe Jr.
  • Andy Lee

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn seems confident that Canelo will face Saunders in his next fight in May. Unfortunately, the Golden Boy star has said NOTHING about wanting to fight him. Saunders isn’t a well known fighter with fans in the United States. The casual fans in the States mainly know Saunders from his spoiling performance against a bloated looking David Lemieux in 2017. It was a horrible to watch mismatch and Saunders spent most of the fight taunting Lemieux.

Canelo captured the WBO light heavyweight title last Saturday in beating champion Sergey Kovalev by an 11th round knockout in Las Vegas, Nevada. It was a great performance by the Mexican star Canelo. He’s not expected to keep the WBO 175-lb title, as he’s small for the division. Many boxing fans believe that Canelo is an opportunist, and chose to fight Kovalev after seeing how vulnerable he looked in his previous fight against Anthony Yarde.

Saunders wants Canelo at 175

“I want Canelo Alvarez. Canelo’s never been a 168 lbs world champion. WBA ‘regular’ is not the full title,” said Saunders to “You give me a chance, I’ll give you a chance of being four-weight champ… I might move up to 175 lbs, then I become mandatory to him,” said Saunders about Canelo.

Saunders, 30, is making his first defense of his WBO super middleweight title this Saturday against #10 WBO fringe contender Marcelo Esteban Coceres at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Saunders vs. Coceres will be on the undercard of the Youtube celebrity match between KSI and Logan Paul. The fight will be shown on DAZN and Sky Sports.

Saunders isn’t helping himself by defending his title against the little known Coceres (28-0-1, 15 KOs) this Saturday. American fans aren’t familiar with Coceres or Saunders. It’s a complete waste of time for Saunders. He’s going about trying to get the Canelo fight the wrong way.

If he was serious about wanting to fight Canelo, he should have taken the match against Demetrius Andrade in 2018 when he was his mandatory for his WBO 160-lb belt. Saunders vacated the WBO belt, and moved up to 168 to face a guy named Shefat Isufi. Not surprisingly, Billy Joe beat Isufi by a dull 12 round unanimous decision last May to capture the vacant World Boxing Organization super middleweight belt. Saunders was hurt at one point in the fight, and he looked awful.

Saunders confident he’ll get Canelo fight

“I knew our paths would cross and I’m 100 percent sure that I’d beat him,” said Saunders. “He either fights me or vacates. Give me a fair playing field and I know I have the beating of him. I do have the lock to undo ‘Canelo’. I want to put my name in line for the likes of ‘Canelo’ and ‘GGG’. whoever puts in the best performance will steal the show,” said Saunders about his fight against Coceres.

Saunders needs to put his feet back on the ground, and focus on more realistic fights. Callum Smith, David Benavidez and Caleb Plant are fights that CAN be made for Saunders. He needs to face those guys to try and establish himself in the United States. It’s likely that Saunders would lose to all of those fighters. Hence, he probably won’t face any of them. If Saunders wasn’t willing to face Demetrius Andrade, then he probably won’t mix it up with any of the above guys.

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