Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders close to being done for May 2

By Aragon Garcia: The negotiations between WBA ‘regular’ super-middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez and WBO belt holder Billy Joe Saunders are said to be 95% done for a unification fight on May 2. @MikeCoppinger is reporting that the Canelo-Saunders fight is close to being done, but the only thing that’s holding it up is the “minimum” for Saunders.

There’s no word on what the “minimum” is that Saunders is holding out for. It would be surprising if it’s the $12 million range. That’s pricey for a fighter that casual boxing fans in the U.S have never heard of before. You can argue that whatever Rocky Fielding got for the Canelo fight, Saunders should get the same thing, because he’s no more popular than him in the States.

Even with the negotiations almost completed, there’s still a chance that Saunders could be eliminated from the running for the Canelo fight if he insists on getting more than what he’s being offered. Saunders isn’t the only one that Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions are looking at for the May 2 fight, and he offers very little other than his WBO title.

Callum Smith out of the Canelo sweepstakes

WBA Super World super middleweight champion Callum Smith is out of the running for the fight. According to Mike Coppinger, Callum is out over the money. You could see how Canelo (27-0, 19 KOs) would be a problem to negotiate with since he’s the Ring Magazine super middleweight champion, and until recently he’d been perceived by a lot of boxing fans as the #1 168-lb fighter in the division.

The British fighter Saunders and his promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing have been adamant that they receive a fair deal representative of the market value for the typical Canelo opponent.

Given that Canelo’s last two opponents Sergey Kovalev and Daniel Jacobs both received $12 million, you can see the existing problem that the Mexican star is being presented with. Saunders and Hearn perhaps don’t realize that Jacobs and Kovalev aren’t your average opponent for Canelo. Those were both far more popular than many of the guys that Canelo has fought during his long 15-year pro career.

The only fighters that were arguably more popular than Kovalev and Jacobs of Canelo’s opponents were perhaps these fighters:

  • Gennadiy Golovkin
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr.
  • Shane Mosley – past his prime when he fought Canelo
  • Miguel Cotto
  • Julio Cesar Chavez Jr.
  • Amir Khan

Canelo’s last two opponents were mega-fights

Kovalev and Jacobs are NOT representatives of the average opponent for Canelo. So for Hearn to be using those two as a reason for why Saunders should get $12 million for a fight against Canelo, that isn’t accurate. Kovalev and Jacobs were small mega-fight level opponents for Canelo.

The fighters are more along the lines of what Saunders should be getting are guys like Rocky Fielding, Liam Smith, and James Kirkland.

Saunders successfully defended his WBO 168-lb title last November in stopping challenger Marcelo Esteban Coceres in the 11th round in a come from behind victory at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California. The little known Argentinian Coceres was battering Saunders and making him look bad through the first 10 rounds. When things were looking bleak for Saunders, he pulled out the victory by knocking Coceres down three times in the 11th to get the knockout win.

Fighter’s pricing themselves out for Canelo fight

“Because they want a lot of money,” said Canelo to ESPN MX when asked why it’s difficult for him to get an opponent for his May 2 fight. “When they go to fight with ‘Canelo’ they want the moon and the stars, that is the complication, but there are many rivals and there has to be one out there. I’m ready for anyone, ” said Canelo.

Canelo and DAZN will likely gain a lot more by him fighting someone that the American boxing fans have heard of, and who has a fighting style that will be entertaining. With Canelo fighting on the Cinco de Mayo, it’s important that he selects an opponent that will make it exciting for the fans.

Saunders’ fighting style is antithetical to that of an exciting fighter. He runs, holds, and looks to not get hit. For boxing fans that are used to watching fighters that stand their ground and slug, Saunders is hard on the eyes. Billy Joe’s main focus in his fights is to not get hit, and that makes it boring.

Canelo still wants to fight Ryota Murata later this year

“A lot of possibilities. I want to end the year fighting in Japan if God wants and that is the idea,” said Canelo on fighting Murata.

This will be a good fight when/if it happens. WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Ryota Murata is a star in Japan, and he’s also an Olympic gold medalist. Canelo was recently in negotiations with the 34-year-old Murata, but they were unable to get the fight done. That’s why Canelo is now looking at his Plan-B options, Saunders. Murata has a much more entertaining fighting style than Saunders, who is a style nightmare for Canelo.