Saunders on Canelo: ‘They’re trying to find CHEAPEST option’ for next fight
By Scott Gilfoid: Billy Joe Saunders is already sounding bitter and angry about him seemingly having been ignored by Canelo Alvarez for his May 2 fight on Cinco de Mayo in Las Vegas, Nevada. Saunders is coming across as really NEEDY right now, and that’s got to be off putting for Canelo and his team.
Billy Joe is sounding desperate for the Canelo fight, and he needs to be more casual about it. Saunders may not realize it, but he’s sinking what little chance he has of getting the Canelo fight.
Saunders thinks Canelo’s management are looking for the “CHEAPEST” option for his next fight, and in his opinion they’ll select WBO Super World 168-lb champion Callum Smith, and stick a 10-pound rehydration clause on him to keep him from ballooning up in weight after he rehydrates following the weigh-in.
Canelo asking for a rehydration clause?
So basically, Team Canelo would be looking to ensure that Callum doesn’t rehydrate to that of a cruiserweight. Billy Joe sees that as a bad thing for Callum, but it’s actually a fair thing, because Canelo is only 5’8″ and he started his career at out 147.
In contrast, the 6’3″ Smith is a hulking super middleweight, who arguably should be fighting at light heavyweight. That might explain why Callum looked so haggard, weak and poor in his last fight against John Ryder last November. Callum probably should be at 175 fighting the likes of Artur Beterbiev, Dmitry Bivol and Oleksandr Gvozdyk instead of competing at 168.
I mean, Callum is bigger than Canelo’s last opponent 6’0″ former WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, so why wouldn’t he want to stick a 10-lb rehydration clause on him? As big as Callum is, Canelo could require a 5-lb rehydration clause, and few boxing fans would make a big production about it. An even playing field is all Canelo would be trying to achieve in sticking a weight clause in the contract.
Canelo going for cheapest option in Callum Smith
“Obviously in these kinds of situations, Canelo is the main man,” said Saunders to Matchroom Boxing. “He’s the man that calls the shots with his team. I know that, but as a world champion, you want that little bit of respect by saying if the fight doesn’t get made between that date and that date, it’s not happening.
“You’re left in the dark all the time, and I’ve been here,” said Saunders in complaining about Canelo’s team not saying if he’s got the fight. “It’s not Eddie’s fault, it’s not MTK’s faul, and it’s not my fault. They’re doing the best they can for their man, so you can’t blame them.
“So the biggest thing that I’m finding now is I think they’re [Team Canelo] trying to find the cheapest option. Is it Callum [Smith] or is it Billy Joe? Because if they were going to fight anybody, they’d rather fight Callum Smith, and put a 10 pound weight clause on him, and say, ‘Alright, Callum, it’s your turn,’ in my opinion,” said Saunders on his belief Callum will be chosen by Canelo for his next fight.
For a fighter as big as Callum is, Canelo would be in the right in asking for a 10-lb rehydration clause. If Callum wasn’t viewed as a de facto light heavyweight by fans, then a rehydration clause wouldn’t be required.
It goes without saying that Canelo gains a lot more from fighting Callum Smith than he does in fighting Billy Joe. Callum is in the top 3 in the 168-lb division, and he’s well respected. Unfortunately for Saunders, he’s seen as the weakest link among the champions at super middleweight.
Saunders: Callum Smith is a light heavyweight
“He’s a big bloke, because he’s probably going to be a light heavyweight,” said Saunders on the 6’3″ Callum Smith. “He probably is a light heavyweight. A lot of people though, and what I find is, and you’ve probably sparred him, Darren [Barker]. John Ryder has had a couple of unlucky losses in his career, but he’s a very, very good talent.
“You don’t realize how good he actually is until you’re in with him, you know?” said Billy Joe on John Ryder. “It’s no secret that Callum Smith struggles a bit more with southpaws, which he probably hasn’t boxed a whole lot of them in his career. Maybe John Ryder, I think is maybe the first or the second. So he’s [Callum] kept away from them for a reason, but I really rate John Ryder,” said Saunders.
So there it is. Saunders is admitting that he sees Callum as a light heavyweight. As such, why wouldn’t Canelo ask for a rehydration clause? Canelo shouldn’t be fighting light heavyweights without there being a handicap involved.
The Mexican star is already showing huge bravery in fighting at 168 as it is. But for Canelo to be fighting a guy that is in essence a light heavyweight in Callum, why wouldn’t he want a 10-lb rehydration clause? The last thing Canelo needs is to be fighting a 200-lb Callum.
Saunders believes he’ll get Andrade
“You know what? If Callum Smith gets is [Canelo fight], then I think there’s going to be an American fight between me and [Demetrius] Andrade,” said Billy Joe. “You know, in my contract, they got him in there. So, I think that’s a good fight that the fans want to see. I think he will, and I think he’s going to move up,” said Saunders on Andrade moving up to super middleweight to fight him.
“But again, I don’t know who’s going to be mandatory for him, because if he’s [Andrade] going to look at [Jaime] Munguia or maybe Liam Williams, he might think, ‘I might nick a few million quid here and fight them, then move up,'” said Saunders in guessing what Andrade will do next. “But those are risky fights. Liam Williams is quite a good fighter, and Munguia is a good fighter.
“So I don’t really know,” said Saunders in continuing to speculate about Demetrius’ next move. “It’s all up in the air. I don’t know what else to give you, and I can only say what I’m being told,” said Billy Joe.
WBO middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade (28-0, 18 KOs) has already made it clear that he’s ready and willing to move up to 168 to fight Saunders. I’m not sure why Saunders is talking about Andrade potentially facing Liam Williams or Jaime Munguia next. Neither of those fights are likely for him.
If Saunders wants the Andrade fight, it’s there for him, as long as he doesn’t back out or go in another direction. Andrade has been after Saunders for years now, and it seems like there’s been no interest in Billy Joe’s part. Saunders should have fought Andrade 2 years ago, but he didn’t fancy the fight.
Billy Joe wants TWO fights against Canelo
“I was supposed to be out at the end of Feb or the 2nd of May with Canelo,” said Saunders. “So I wasn’t out at the end of February, so it must be Canelo. Every day I’m in the gym now is for Canelo, and no one else. Every day I’m in that gym, I’m working on things that I believe need to be put in place to beat him.
“Listen, I would love to fight Canelo, beat him, and get a rematch,” said Saunders. “That’s what I would love to do. Once I’ve done that. Listen, I’m a realist when I talk about boxing. I’m very, very real. I know my mind on the night in that fight is ‘sink or swim.’ You’re in the middle of that sea. You either swim back or you drown, and I believe I’ve got the beating of him,” said Saunders on Canelo.
“So as long as they give me a fair decision, I’ll do it,” said Billy Joe on Canelo. “I’ll fight him. It’s about the money, but I’d rather have a fair decision. If I get beat fair and square, I’ll shake his hand. ‘You beat me and were the better man. If I beat you, give me the decision.’
“That would be the career defining [fight] obviously,” continued Saunders on his dream of fighting Canelo TWICE. “I don’t know if I would jack it in [retire after 2 fights against Canelo]. So it would be nice to beat him twice,” said Billy Joe on Canelo.
Saunders obviously would like to have 2 fights against Canelo, but it doesn’t appear to be a realistic vision on Billy Joe’s part. He needs to get his feet back on the ground, and take the fight with Demetrius.