Saunders says Canelo Alvarez fight not done for May 2
By Charles Brun: Billy Joe Saunders says the rumors of him fighting Canelo Alvarez is news to him because his management hasn’t been contacted by the Mexican superstar’s promoters to start negotiations for May 2. Saunders says he’d like to fight Canelo next, but he hasn’t heard anything thus far about the fight.
It’s unclear whether Saunders is intentionally being hush-mouthed about Canelo Alvarez fight because he’s been told to keep quiet about it. The last thing Canelo, Golden Boy and DAZN need is for Saunders to be broadcasting the news of the fight taking place next before they’ve gotten a chance to announce it first.
WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe (24-0, 14 KOs) says he needs Canelo’s management to start the ball rolling for the May 2nd fight, because he’s not going to sit around and wait. He wants to schedule a fight, and he’s got options.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn wants to put together a unification fight between Saunders and WBA 168lb champion Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) for Anfield, Liverpool. If Canelo decides he doesn’t want to fight Saunders or Callum, then the plan is for them to face each other next.
Saunders is coming off of an 11th round knockout win over challenger Marcelo Esteban Coceres on November 9 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. Billy Joe is the first to admit that it wasn’t one of his better performances, but he pulled it out when he had to. Coceres was giving Saunders fits until the 11th, when he turned it up a notch to drop the Argentinian 3 times to get the stoppage.
Billy Joe believes he and Callum Smith beat Canelo
“We’ve all been talking about certain fights, but it’s news to myself,” said Saunders to IFL TV in talking about the rumors of him fighting Canelo next. “With my management with MTK, when I hear rumors like that, those are the first people I contact, but obviously it’s coming from Canelo’s side. We’re willing to and happy to sit down and sort a deal out.
“I think anyone could be a front runner in this situation [to get Canelo fight],” said Saunders. “Callum Smith has a good chance. It’s me or Callum, I would say. TV companies can’t afford to bring in old bodies now. They’ve got to bring in someone [well known]. Look at when Joshua boxed. The rematch [with Andy Ruiz Jr.] made the TV company the most money in the last God knows how long.
“So for someone to beat Canelo, the rematch would be even bigger for DAZN, and the promoters and the fighters,” said Saunders. “They’re looking for someone to beat him. Me or Callum Smith, I think could do the job,” said Saunders.
Oddly enough, a defeat for Canelo against Saunders or Callum would bring BIG business to DAZN. Interest from boxing fans in heavyweight Anthony Joshua’s career skyrocketed after his loss to Andy Ruiz Jr. last year.
In the Joshua-Ruiz rematch, both fighters made massive amounts of money on December 7th in Saudi Arabia. However, beating Canelo will be easier said than done for Saunders, as he’ll likely choose to have the fight take place in Las Vegas, Nevada. Canelo is almost impossible to beat when fighting in Vegas, as some of his opponents have discovered.
Saunders ready to take the Canelo or Callum fight
“I’m not training everyday. If they [Team Canelo Alvarez] give me 3 weeks’ notice, then I’ll take it on 3 weeks’ notice,” said Saunders. “I think in every camp, I’m fighting Canelo or Golovkin. Maybe it’ll happen one day or maybe next. I’m not banking on it. If it comes, it comes. And if it don’t, it don’t. I think that’s the fight that makes sense,” said Saunders when asked if he’ll take the Callum Smith fight if he doesn’t get Canelo Alvarez next.
“We’re both in prime positions of our life, and we’re both world champions,” continued Saunders on Callum Smith. “Whether it’s in Anfield [in Liverpool] or whenever, that’s the next most sensible option to make. It’ll do good business for the both of us. It’s one of those fights that can be made.
“Let’s get the big fights where everybody wants to buy tickets, and get involved,” said Saunders. “The big fights should be getting made now. I’m sure Callum Smith is open to having any fight, but my team is fully backing me and we’re ready to rock and roll for any super middleweight,” said Saunders.
Whether Saunders likes it or not, he’s going to need to wait on Canelo. The good news is though is if Canelo’s promoters at Golden Boy don’t reach out to start negotiations soon for a fight with Saunders, then it’s clear they’re going in a different direction.
Canelo has a number of options that would arguably be better for him than a fight with Saunders. The American boxing fans want to see Canelo fight these guys:
- Gennadiy Golovkin
- Jermall Charlo
- Jermell Charlo
- Demetrius Andrade
- Artur Beterbiev
- Jaime Munguia
- Sergey Derevyanchenko
Saunder is low on the list for U.S fans in who they want to see Canelo fight next, and that’s important to DAZN.
Canelo management need to contact Saunders soon
“For me, it’s got to be a big, big fight to get the best out of me,” Saunders said. “Only the best comes out when I fight the best. I need a date [for the fight], because I don’t want to be waiting around for no one. If it’s not May the 2nd [for Canelo], then I need another date sooner, because I’m in camp now, and I need a date to get these fights out of the way and I want a BIG fight. So we’ll see where we go,” said Saunders.
It would be a good idea for Matchroom promoter Hearn to keep Callum on holding pattern until Saunders finds out about Canelo. If Canelo chooses to fight someone else next, then Saunders and Callum can fight a unification.
Saunders needs to focus on getting in shape right now, because his last performance against Coceres was lacking. Going into the 11th, Saunders was at risk of losing against the unheralded Coceres. Saunders says he saw that fight as a “joke,” but his opponent took it seriously, and was getting the better of him with his speedy combinations.
Saunders not putting all his eggs in one basket
“Hopefully. I hope, but in boxing anything goes,” said Saunders when asked if he’s hoping his next fight is a big one against Canelo or Callum. “You never know what’s going to happen in boxing. All these big fights, all these big talks, but you never know what’s going to happen in boxing until it happens. That’s what I’ve learned.
“You can’t put all your eggs in one basket, because you never know what’s going to happen,” said Saunders in him not counting on getting Canelo or Callum fight. “I hope I get one of the big ones. I’ve been world champion since 2015, and I’m a two-weight world champion. I think I’m entitled to see what I’m like against one of the big boys,” said Saunders.
It would be best for Saunders not to get his hopes up about a Canelo fight, because he may not get it. In that case, Callum would be a great option, as well as some of the other champions at 168.
WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez and IBF champion Caleb Plant would both likely be agreeable to a fight with Saunders. Those would be risky fights for Saunders, because those are younger guys with better offensive skills. Saunders couldn’t afford to fall behind against Benaviez or Plant, and think he’s going to pull it out with a late stoppage. Those two are elite level 168-pounders, unlike Coceres.
Billy Joe pleased with stoppage win over Coceres
“That last fight was a joke from my perspective,” said Saunders about his last title defense against Marcelo Esteban Coceres. “A lot of people will be saying and thinking in their own head, ‘Alright, he looked terrible all the way through. He looked terrible, but look what he managed to do in the end. And he still managed to find it in the 11th round on.’
“I didn’t stop no one for goodness knows how long, but when I needed to [I got the stoppage,” said Saunders on his stoppage win over Coceres. “I didn’t want it to go to decision, and I stepped on the gas and found it. I’ve got something in me. I got to make sure it doesn’t happen again, and that’s the reason why I’m training now. I’m ready to rock and roll,” said Saunders.
That was a rare knockout win for Saunders in his 11th round knockout of Coceres last November. Going into the 11th, things looked bleak for Saunders. The 28-year-old Coceres (28-1, 15 KOs) was getting the better of him with every exchange, and punishing him. For a guy with a 50% KO rate, Coceres showed surprisingly good punching power.
He certainly looked more powerful than Saunders, which isn’t saying a lot. What little power Saunders had when he fought at 160, it hasn’t traveled up with him in moving up to 168. Saunders looked weak for the super middleweight division, and he’s been sluggish in his 2 fights in that weight class.
It’s pretty clear from watching Saunders’ two fights at super middleweight against Coceres and Shefat Isufi, he’s not going to stay unbeaten for long. It might be a good idea for Saunders to dodge the Callum fight, and take another soft defense in his next fight. If Saunders can keep winning for a while longer, he may get a fight with Canelo later this year, if he doesn’t get it in May.
Saunders doubts Golovkin would fight him now
“I’m not sure if Golovkin is up for any of those fights at his age now,” said Saunders. “I think he wants a mandatory [against Kamil Szeremeta], another Canelo fight, and then I reckon that’ll be it. He [GGG] doesn’t want anyone buzzing around the ring, slipping and sliding all over the place. He’s done well for the sport. I think Golovkin is DONE, in my opinion.
“Listen, you have to take your hat off to him,” said Saunders about Golovkin. “He’s done good things for the sport. The same with Canelo. So if I can get an opportunity to fight these men, you’ve got to take it with both hands. I wish him all the best, but I would have loved to have boxed him, yeah,” said Saunders about Golovkin.
It’s safe to say that a fight between Saunders and Gennadiy Golovkin will NOT be happening. Golovkin doesn’t need to be facing a guy with the movement, and crafty game that Saunders brings. Besides, it’s pretty obvious that Golovkin is just looking to finish his career with a trilogy match against Canelo next September. Golovkin will be defending his IBF middleweight title against his mandatory Kamil Szeremeta in April, and then he’ll be looking to fight Canelo later this year. DAZN and Matchroom both want the Canelo vs. Golovkin trilogy match, which makes that fight likely.
Chris Eubank Jr. fight doesn’t interest Saunders
“Not interested,” said Saunders after being asked if he’s interested in Chris Eubank Jr. “He’s got nothing I want, and nothing I need. I didn’t bother watching it,” said Saunders on Eubank’s last fight against Matt Korobov. “And I know it was a six-round injury, wasn’t it?
“I swear to God I didn’t watch it,” said Saunders on Eubank Jr. “He doesn’t interest me. Who wants to know about him? He’s got nothing I want and need. He can keep it,” Saunders said when asked it a fight between him and Eubank Jr. is STILL a big money fight.
Just trying to negotiate a fight with Chris Eubank Jr. would be a huge headache for Saunders, and I think he’d rather not bother. He already beat Eubank Jr. by a 12 round split decision six years ago in December 2014, and that’s good enough for him. Eubank Jr. hasn’t shown a lot of ambition to want to avenge that loss, so it’s not worth Saunders’ time to pursue that fight.
Eubank Jr. is being positioned to challenge WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo in 2020. To that objective, Chris recently signed with Premier Boxing Champions, and they matched him against former Jermall opponent Matt Korobov in his last fight in December. Eubank Jr. stopped Korobov in the 2nd round after the Russian fighter injured his shoulder.
Saunders: Tyson Fury boxes Deontay Wilder’s head off
“He need to be on his game, and he knows he needs to be on his game,” said Saunders about Tyson Fury in his fight with Deontay Wilder. “As long as he’s fit, he boxes his [Wilder] head off, doesn’t he? That’s all he needs to do. Jab, 1-2, move for 3 or 4 rounds, then break him down.
“I think he’s looking a little bit heavier for this fight, so I think he’s going to start planting his feet when Wilder gets tired,” said Saunders on Fury. “Like I said, as long as he’s [Fury] fit, Wilder doesn’t have a hope in hell, as long as he’s fit, in shape, sharp, which he will. There’s only one winner for me [Fury], said Saunders.
Billy Joe is friends with Tyson Fury, so you have to take what he says about the Deontay Wilder fight with that in mind. Fury does have a chance of out-boxing Wilder if he can avoid his right hand for 12 rounds. That may not be easy. Wilder has 36 minutes to try and land one big right hand, and it’s going to be a nightmare for Fury to try and avoid that.