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‘Saunders is getting Canelo fight due to connections’ – Teddy Atlas

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez Deontay Wilder Tyson Fury

By Sean Jones: Teddy Atlas says Billy Joe Saunders is being picked as Canelo Alvarez’s next opponent due to the connections he has in being with the right promoter, and he’s in the perfect spot to face the Mexican star on May 2. Atlas believes the Canelo vs. Saunders fight will sell on DAZN.


Above all, Saunders has an undefeated record, and he’s a world champion right now. Those two things will impress the casual boxing fans in the U.S. They’re the ones that will be deciding whether the Canelo-Saunders fight is worth paying $20 to subscribe to DAZN, if they haven’t already.

Saunders is with Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, and he fights on the same platform as Canelo with DAZN. The flak that Hearn and Golden Boy Promotions are already getting about Canelo taking this fight is how Saunders is starting to show signs of deterioration in his game.

Saunders looked poor in last two fights

In Saunders’ last two fights against Marcelo Esteban Coceres and Shefat Isufi, he didn’t look like the same guy that dominated David Lemieux in 2017. Whether that’s age or simply Saunders not taking these guys serious enough is unknown.

Atlas likes the technical skills of the 30-year-old Saunders, and he feels he’s got a lot of ability in different areas. To be sure, Billy Joe isn’t great in any one area, but he’s got a lot of talent.

It’s still not been officially announced yet that Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) will be facing WBO super middleweight champion Saunders (24-0, 14 KOs) yet, but it’s looking like he’ll be the one. There’s talk of the Canelo-Saunders fight being on the verge of being announced for May 2.

Billy Joe Saunders = solid opponent for Canelo

“[Billy Joe] Saunders is getting the fight [with Canelo] due to connections,” said Atlas to AB Boxing NEWS about the Canelo vs. Billy Joe Saunders fight. “He’s with the promoter [Eddie Hearn], he’s a former champion, and he’s in the right spot. It can sell, they can validate it, and it has credibility attached to it.

“He’s [Saunders] a former champion, and an undefeated guy,” said Atlas. “All that stuff that you can sell the fight as a credible fight. Look, Saunders is a guy that is technically pretty solid. He’s not a guy as talented as Canelo. Saunders isn’t someone that has great ability in one area.

“You can’t say he’s super fast, you can’t say he’s a huge puncher, and you can’t say he physically has a presence,” said Atlas on Billy Joe. “But you can say that there’s not one thing he can do great, but there’s not a lot of things that he does wrong,” said Altas.

Saunders is a good fighter, and has held world titles since 2015. His best wins have come against Willie Monroe Jr., Andy Lee, Chris Eubank Jr., Artur Akavov and David Lemieux. Those are good fighters, but not great ones Saunders came close to fighting Gennadiy Golovkin and Demetrius Andrade, but unfortunately the fights didn’t happen.

Of the super middleweight champions, Saunders is arguably the 5th best behind these belt holders:

  • Canelo Alvarez
  • Callum Smith
  • David Benavidez
  • Caleb Plant

You can’t pick Saunders over any of those champions, as they have technical boxing skills and power. Saunders is one-dimensional with him being skilled but not powerful.

Saunders deserves Canelo payday fight – Atlas

“He’s pretty solid technically. That and good management, and good navigation, as far as picking the right fights,” continued Atlas on Saunders. “It’s gotten him to a damn good place, and now to a damn good payday. So does he deserve it? For those reasons he deserves it. I think Canelo is physically better.

“That doesn’t mean that you always win when you’re physically better, because if you’re technically better and physically better, you can beat someone that is physically better,” said Altas. “It happens all the time in this business, and that’s why it’s called the ‘sweet science.’ I like Canelo probably going to the body of Saunders, because Saunders is going to be smart, and try to use his legs and try and use the outside.

“The one thing that doesn’t move like the head does is down here [Atlas motions to the midsection],” said Atlas.

Considering how poor Canelo’s options are, Saunders gets the fight with him by default. Rightly or wrongly, Canelo Alvarez doesn’t want to fight Gennadiy Golovkin, and he’s not fighting Jermall Charlo or Demetrius Andrade. Moreover, Canelo can’t fight Caleb Plant and David Benavidez due to them competing on a different platform, that leaves only 2 possible opponents: Saunders and Callum Smith.

Callum, 6’3″, is seen as too big for the tiny 5’8″ Canelo, and too dangerous due to his punching power. So when you remove Callum and all the other possible options from the field, it leaves just Saunders. He’s not a great choice for Canelo, but that’s all there is.

DAZN has a money problem

“They’re having a problem, DAZN,” said Atlas when asked about Eddie Hearn saying that he’s going to speak to DAZN about raising their monthly subscriber rates to $50. “They’re running out of money,” said Atlas to AB Boxing News on DAZN. “That’s like putting a red flair in the air. ‘Houston, we’ve got a problem.’ Yeah, we’ve got to raise money because guess what?

“They’ve gone through too much money. And they’ve gone through a lot of money. Their business plan hasn’t worked out too well too far. A couple of fighters they signed up. They spent a lot of money on Canelo, and all kinds of money on GGG. They can’t even get them in the ring with each other. You know what I mean? They’re never going to realize that money back.

“It’s going to be hard. So they’re saying, ‘Hey,’ they were selling it or $10 or whatever, and then $19,99, and now they want to go to $50,” said Atlas continued on Canelo. “Again, red flare. ‘We got a money problem. And we want more money! We need more money, and we did something wrong. And we mismanaged our money. Don’t tell anyone,'” said Atlas on DAZN.

It’s a shame that Canelo won’t fight Golovkin, because it’s a fight that boxing fans want to see. All the money that DAZN is paying Canelo for his $365 million, 11-fight contract. You would think that he would have already scheduled the GGG trilogy match, but he hasn’t. Some boxing fans believe Canelo is going to be stubborn about it, and NEVER fight GGG again. In that case, you get four losers from that decision:

  • The fans
  • GGG
  • DAZN
  • Canelo


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