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Billy Joe Saunders will give Canelo Alvarez problems predicts Atlas

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

By Dan Ambrose:  Teddy Atlas believes that Canelo Alvarez may be mentally flat against Billy Joe Saunders when they face each other in their still to be announced unification fight. Atlas thinks that the combination of Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) coming back down from 175 and fighting a guy that he’s expected to beat without problems will cause him to be mentally flat against Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs).

There’s still no date for this fight and no way of knowing if it’ll even take place this year. Canelo-Saunders will happen at some point in the future even if it doesn’t take place in 2020. Canelo likes that match-up, and it’s an easy one to make due to the two of them both being with DAZN.

Atlas views WBO super middleweight champion Saunders as a ‘blue-collar fighter, who has never fought the same level of fighters that Canelo has fought during his long 15-year career. Teddy go into specifics when he mentions that Canelo has fought  guys that Saunders hasn’t, but these are the fighters he’s likely thinking about:

  • Gennadiy Golovkin
  • Danny Jacobs
  • Sergey Kovalev
  • Floyd Mayweather Jr.
  • Miguel Cotto
  • Austin Trout
  • Erislandy Lara

Out of Canelo’s long resume, those fighters are by far the best. The rest of them are lesser guys and a mix of older fighters that were over-the-hill like Shane Mosley, Carlos Baldomir and Ryan Rhodes. Saunders would have a good chance of beating all of those fighters.

Canelo’s wins over GGG, Trout, and Lara were controversial. Saunders would have a good chance of beating them as well. Out of all the fighters Canelo has fought, only Mayweather would have likely been too good for Saunders.

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

Teddy Atlas: Canelo could be mentally flat

“Saunders is an overachiever. He’s a blue-collar guy,” said Atlas to THE FIGHT with Teddy Atlas. “He does everything right from a technical standpoint. He’s good. He hasn’t fought the caliber or shown that he can fight the caliber of the fighters that Canelo has fought. So for all of those reasons, you’ve got to favor Canelo.

“The bookmakers are going to tell you that. It’s going to be indicative of what the line is going to be, and he’s [Saunders] traveling. Canelo has gone up and come down, and it could be an impact on his performance and an impact on his body.

“There could be an impact mentally where you get a little flat. He’s been in so many big fights. The GGG fights, of course, that wasn’t that long ago at middleweight. You go up to light heavyweight and you come back down. You’re fighting a guy [Saunders] that you’re expecting to beat,” said Atlas.

It won’t be so much Canelo being mentally flat as perhaps physically flat. Canelo is coming down from 175 after heaving dethorned WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in 10 rounds last November, and he could be weakened from the process of dropping that weight. 175 looked like Canelo’s natural weight, which suggests that he’s been fighting out of his division all these years.

I know boxing fans refer to fighters that compete below their natural weight class as a ‘weight-bully,’ but if it works for them, you can’t blame them. Saunders, 30, is fighting out of his own natural weight class of 160, and he just looks fat and slow at 168. The disadvantages for both Canelo and Saunders balance out in this contest. Saunders will be slow, soft on the middle, and slightly sluggish, whereas Canelo might be weaker.

Saunders will give Alvarez a tough fight

“I think Saunders will give him a much tougher fight,” said Atlas of Canelo. “With the skill levels being on the side of Canelo and has fought the better competition. The guy that knows he can handle that competition. That means something too. I think Billy Joe Saunders is going to give him a hell of a fight. And I think it’s going to be a strategic fight.

“It will be competitive going into the later rounds. Canelo will need to be on his A-game of body punching. Stabilize Billy Joe so he doesn’t pot shot him, and navigate the outside so easily. He’s got to take that away from him. Canelo has got to pinpoint the body of Billy Joe. Wear him down.

“Welcome him [Saunders] to the big leagues. That’s got to be his approach. Slow him down, and discourage him a little bit. Change his rhythm by using that jab and going to the body. I think Billy Joe Saunders gets the most out of his ability. He’s going to have to get everything out of it to win this fight. Canelo does give you moments. He does give you hope.

“Where does he give you hope? He’s not the busiest guy. He’s not a guy that is constantly spitting punches out every second. He gives you lulls, he gives you moments, and he gives you reprieves. And he gives you pressure, but it’s not pressure all the time. There’s a pause that gives you a chance to get a pitstop every once in a while,” said Teddy on Canelo’s habit of fighting in spurts,” said Atlas.

If Saunders is in the type of shape that he was in for his win over David Lemieux three years ago, then Canelo is going to be in the fight of his life. That’s not to say that Canelo still won’t win.

Saunders isn’t a puncher, and his chances of winning a decision against Canelo are remote at best. The fight is taking place in Las Vegas, Nevada, and as we’ve seen in the past, Canelo doesn’t lose there.

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

Golovkin won both fights against Canelo

“He’s got a hell of a chin. He got hit with some good shots by Golovkin,” said Atlas about Canelo. “I think he lost both fights to GGG. Golovkin, I think, is a little shot now. He’s not the same fighter anymore. I think those miles on his odometer, all those tough fights plus his 400 amateur fights, it’s catching up to him at his age.

“He’s past his best, let’s put it that way, GGG. I know a lot of his fans won’t like to hear that. But I felt Golovkin won both those fights [against Canelo], and he got cheated out of the draw and the loss in the last fight. Having said that, what I’m most impressed with in looking at Canelo is he continued to get better.

Floyd [Mayweather] is a special guy. In that fight, the styles were not suitable for Canelo, and I don’t think his hands were too slow in that fight for Floyd. I think his feet were too slow, especially with that Floyd. That was a younger Floyd. He not only had the great defensive head movements and timing where he could time you. He made adjustments.

“When he was younger, he also used his legs. To get to Floyd, you had to have quick feet, and Canelo wasn’t able to do that. Besides, he was in there with someone with a difficult style and a great fighter. Canelo kept learning. He always came with the right game plan, except in the Mayweather fight,” said Atlas.

Teddy’s opinion that Gennadiy Golovkin won BOTH fights with Canelo is going to upset his boxing fans something fierce because they think he won both fights. A lot of fans believe that Golovkin is ahead of Canelo with one win and a draw from their second fight in 2018.

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