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Canelo Alvarez considering Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith for next fight

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez Callum Smith John Ryder

By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez will reportedly move back down to 168 for his next fight, and he’s considering champions Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith as potential foes, according to @MikeCoppinger.


This would be a move for Saul Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) to show boxing world that he wants to be taken seriously as a world champion at super middleweight. Canelo won the WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight title in beating champion Rocky Fielding in the third round TKO last December. Fans don’t recognize Canelo as a champion at 168, because he’ hasn’t beaten anyone to become a full-fledged champion yet.

Canelo’s trainer Eddy Reynoso mentioned John Ryder’s name in recently discussing the options for jos mext fight. Ryder lost his last fight to Callum, but he was viewed as the true winner. It would be a good move on Canelo’s part to ignore Callum and face Ryder.


Canelo in no-win situation picking Callum or Saunders

The timing of Canelo facing Billy Joe Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) or WBA Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) is BAD.  Both Callum and Saunders are coming off of bad performances in defending their world titles. Callum defeated his WBA mandatory John Ryder by a controversial 12 round unanimous decision on November 23, and boxing fans think he should have lost that fight.

If Canelo selects Callum, fans will assume he’s doing it because the 6’3″ Liverpool native looked so bad against Ryder. Before that fight, Canelo never showed the slightest amount of interest in facing Smith.

As for Saunders, he recently struggled to defeat fringe contender Marcelo Esteban Coceres on November 9 in Los Angeles, California. Saunders topped Coceres in the 11th round, but appeared to be losing the fight. Coceres isn’t considered an elite level super middleweight.

This wasn’t a fight that was hidden away in the UK. The Saunders vs. Coceres contest took place in Los Angeles, and was shown on DAZN. Plenty of Americans saw the bout, and no doubt they weren’t impressed by Saunders. If Canelo picks Saunders off the back of that fight, it’s going to further the belief that he’s just an opportunist. A lot of boxing fans already see Canelo as a cherry picker for his fights against these guys:

  • Rocky Fielding
  • Sergey Kovalev
  • Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
  • Liam Smith

Callum Smith the better option for Canelo

Canelo will receive more credit from fans if he takes on Callum than he will Saunders, but it’s still not a great fight. The way Callum looked at the weigh-in for his last defense against Ryder, he needs to move up to 175. Callum looks dead at the weight at 168, and he can’t continue to drain down too much longer. Smith is essentially a light heavyweight, who loses water weight to make weight to compete at 168.

Callum did well to make weight for the division for the last 7 years, but he needs to move up to 175. You can understand why Callum is dragging his feet in making this move, because he’ll be food for the lions at 175. Guys like Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol, Oleksandr Gvozdyk and Gilberto Ramirez would be too much for Callum.

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In his last fight against Ryder, Callum looked emaciated at the weigh-in, and he looked weak during the fight. That should have been a fight that Callum ended within 3 rounds if he was at full strength, but he ended up struggling.

Depending on how weight drained Callum is, Canelo should win this fight with ease. Unlike Ryder, Canelo has the power to knockout Callum, so the judges won’t play a factor in the outcome. There’s no chance that Canelo will agree to fight Callum in Anfield in the UK. Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, and Callum’s trainer Joe Gallagher are both hoping Canelo will come over there to fight him. That’s a pipe dream. Canelo will fight Callum in Las Vegas, Nevada or not at all. It would be up to Callum to either agree to fight Canelo in Vegas or not get the fight.

Canelo coming off win over Kovalev

Last November, the 29-year-old Canelo moved up to 175, and beat WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev. The win for Canelo gave him his 4th division world title, but it didn’t do much for his credibility.  Canelo was facing the lowest hanging fruit on the vine in 36-year-old Kovalev, who had barely won his last fight against Anthony Yarde.

There’s still no word yet whether Canelo will hold onto his WBO 175-lb title or vacate it.

It was always believed that Canelo had no intentions of staying at 175, and risk his hide against the talented fighters Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol. Now with the news of Canelo moving back down to 168 to fight Saunders or Callum, this makes it academic that he won’t stay around 175 to risk losing to those two talented champions.

 

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