Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders agree to terms for May 2 fight
By Sean Jones: Superstar Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders have agreed to terms for a unification fight on May 2 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Canelo-Saunders fight will be shown on DAZN in the U.S and the UK. This will be the headliner bout on the card.
There’s no word yet about who Golden Boy Promotions and Matchroom Boxing will place on the Canelo vs. Saunders undercard, but you can expect some great fights.
According to @TheAthleticBOX the announcement for the fight will take place in the next 24 hours. There will be a kickoff news conference next week to announce the Canelo vs. Saunders fight.
Saunders getting $8 million for Canelo fight
WBO super middleweight champion Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) be getting a purse of approximately $8 million. It’s unclear how much the 30-year-old Saunders was asking for to face Canelo. This is less than what Callum Smith got in his fight against George Groves. He got around $10 million. Smith was Saunders’ main competition for the fight with Canelo.
The fact that Saunders got the fight instead of Smith suggests that he was the cheaper of the two to sign. But Canelo might have been better off paying extra to get Callum because he would make for a more interesting fight, and he would more credit for beating him. Callum is viewed as the #1 fighter at 168, whereas Saunders is seen as the weakest of the champions.
The size and power of the 6’3″ Callum would have presented a lot of problems for the 5’8″ Canelo, so that might have been another reason why he wasn’t picked.
The Mexican star’s two previous opponents Sergey Kovalev and Daniel Jacobs are said to have gotten $12 million each, but they’re both well known in the U.S. Saunders isn’t known by the casual fans. Nevertheless, Saunders will be getting a career-high payday to fight Canelo, and will have a chance to earn a rematch should he defeat him.
That won’t be easy for Saunders to do though, because he’s not a puncher and he’ll need to likely knockout Canelo to win.
Canelo facing a defensive artist in Saunders
This is a fight that Canelo could regret taking, as the southpaw Saunders has a reputation as a pure spoiler. Although Saunders can punch a little when he’s facing lesser opposition, he mostly boxes and tries to make his opponents look bad. The 5’11” Saunders has the size and boxing skills to frustrate Canelo in the same way that Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Erislandy Lara both did.
Canelo looked helpless against those two, and he was very lucky to get a decision against Lara in their fight in 2014. Canelo landed only 31 headshots the entire fight against Lara, and he ate a lot of jabs.
“It can be complicated, but at these levels, we have to adapt to everything,” said Canelo to ESPN.com about a fight between him and Saunders.
These are the likely reason Canelo chose Saunders as his May 2 opponent:
- Weak power
- Fights on DAZN: Saunders being with DAZN makes it easier for Canelo to fight him, as he’s now fighting on that platform. Had Canelo chosen someone arguably more talented than Saunders like Jermall Charlo, David Benavidez or Caleb Plant, it would have made things more difficult. Those fighters fight for PBC and compete on a different network platform
- From the UK: It helps Canelo that Saunders is from the UK since he can gain more of a foothold in that country to win over fans
- Less of a threat than other fighters at 168: Saunders isn’t the same kind of puncher than Canelo, David Benavidez or Caleb Plant.
- Good talker: Saunders’s ability to sell a fight with his trash-talking will make it easier on Canelo to attract interest in this fight than if he were to have chosen Callum.
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