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Canelo vs. Saunders: Billy Joe will need be perfect to win

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

By Sean Jones: WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders will need to put in the best performance of his career for him to have a shot at defeating Saul Canelo Alvarez for their still announced fight in June.


Saunders (29-0, 14 Kos) can’t look sluggish like he did in his last fight against Marcelo Esteban Coceres and expect to beat Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Canelo vs. Saunder still hasn’t been officially announced yet but it’s expected to be taking place in June. It’s believed that they moved it from the original May 2 date on Cinco de Mayo due to the coronavirus, but the fight is still expected to take place.

There is the possibility that the Canelo-Saunders fight could either get canceled altogether or pushed to the end of the year in December. Saunders’ promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom won’t be too pleased if the fight is pushed to the end of the year, but he’ll understand. It’s arguably more important to have Canelo fight Golovkin in September than Saunders.

The talk is if the fight needs to be pushed back beyond June, then Canelo will go straight into the trilogy match against IBF middleweight champion Gennadiy Golovkin on September 12 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. That fight would be taking place on the Mexican Independence Day holiday weekend.

Canelo-GGG is the far bigger fight than Canelo vs. Saunders. As long as Canelo isn’t too worn down from the Golovkin fight in September, then he would swing back to fight Saunders in December.


Saunders coming into Canelo fight off a bad performance

“I’m going to go Canelo because Billy Joe looked terrible in his last fight, but I like Billy Joe. I think he’s a good fighter, and I think he’s going to step up for Canelo,” said Denis Douglin to Mayweather Boxing Channel. “Canelo is great. He gets better and better. I’m going with Canelo. I actually sparred Canelo and I’m picking Canelo.

“Look at that. I wanted to fight Billy Joe when I was 168, but I’m going back down to 160. So I’ll leave him alone. I think Billy Joe is a good fighter. I think he’s a great fighter. It’s going to be a great fight, but I’m going with Canelo.

“Billy Joe is LAZY. He’s a great fighter, but ain’t he fat. I looked at his Instagram. He’s fat. Lose some weight, bro.  He got to be around 200 right now. Canelo got that good beef over there though,” said Douglin.

What we’ve seen in Saunders’ two fights at super middleweight is he’s not cut out for the division. He’s getting hurt by the stronger fighters, and he looks fat at the weight. He’d be better off dieting and dropping back down to 160.

Canelo and his promoters have been under the mistaken impression that the U.S boxing fans wanted to see him fight Saunders. unfortunately, the reaction to the proposed fight has been almost entirely negative from the boxing public in the States. They just see it as another easy fight for Canelo similar to his past matches against Rocky Fielding and Sergey Kovalev.

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

Billy Joe’s slick style will give Canelo issues

“I think Billy Joe,” said cruiserweight Viddal Riley. “I think out of all the styles in boxing that can beat, Billy Joe has the best style. He can move, he’s awkward, southpaw throws some shots from angles. I think if anyone that can beat Canelo, it’s Billy Joe,” said Riley.

“And I became a huge, huge Canelo fan and right now I think Canelo is the best fighter in the world at this point right now,” said Jeff Mayweather in picking Alvarez to beat Saunders. “I just think Canelo is too good for Billy Joe or any fighter they put in front of him. And I think they’re going to come up short,” said Mayweather.

“Billy Joe Saunders,” said super middleweight Lionel Thompson in picking Saunders to beat Canelo Alvarez. “He kind of reminds me of myself, but not as good but pretty close.”

If there was a way of bringing back the Saunders that beat David Lemieux in 2017, Canelo would regret having signed to fight him. Saunders isn’t the same fighter he once was, and he’s now a fat super middleweight.

The movement and speed that Saunders once had are gone, and now he’s slower and chubby. The combination of inactivity, eating too much and aging has done something to Saunder’s body. He’s starting to resemble a middle-aged person, and there’s not much he can do about it.

Canelo wisely picked the right time to fight Saunders by choosing to face him once he started looking poor rather than facing him in his prime.

Alvarez has improved a lot since Lara fight

“I got Canelo. I feel like Billy Joe is a slick southpaw and he’ll cause him some problems,” said super middleweight prospect Kevin Newman II. “You’ve seen Canelo have some problems with some southpaws in [Erislandy] Lara, but that was a long time ago, and I think Canelo has gotten a hell of a lot better.

“I feel that he’s in his prime, and he’s doing his thing right now and on a good slate. Billy Joe Saunders looked like s— in his last fight. I know it was kind of a bull-s—, but you’ve got to take all fights seriously.

“If he [Saunders] comes in like that, he’s going to get stopped. I feel like it’s going to be a good fight, and it’ll be competitive, but I still got Canelo to win that one,” said Newman II.

It’s generally agreed that Canelo has improved since his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013. After that fight, Canelo appeared to begin adopting some of the same moves that Mayweather used on him, and it worked well for him in some of his fights.

The shoulder roll that Canelo now uses wasn’t effective against Erislandy Lara and Gennadiy Golovikin, but he got wins over them anyway.

Canelo could stop Saunders

“Canelo all day. It’s not even a questionable,” said strength and conditioning coach Larry Wade in predicting a victory for the Mexican star over Saunders. “Saunders is about to get worked. That’s about to happen.

“So if that fight gets made. You’re talking about a guy that has been a professional since he was a young, young man, even before the legal age to box in Mexico.

“His experience has shown across divisions now, and his knowledge in the ring. If I’m not mistaken, the only loss he has is against your nephew [Floyd Mayweather Jr.]. With that being said, if you lose to the guy that is considered the best in the world, yeah, and then you’re not losing to no one else.

“That guy [Canelo] is going to give Billy Joe Saunders hell. I think it’s going to be a long day for him. He might get knocked out,” said Wade of Billy Joe.

There’s a very good chance that Canelo will knockout Saunders if he walks him down the way he did Rocky Fielding and Sergey Kovalev. Saunders has power than those two, and he’s got nothing to keep Canelo off of him.

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez on a different level than Saunders

“Canelo,” said junior middleweight prospect Thomas Hill in predicting a win for Canelo over Saunders. “Billy Joe Saunders is an amazing fighter, who can do all that, but Canelo is a different person. After he fought Floyd, I feel like he took all the stuff that he learned that was used against him and he’s using it against the bigger guys.

“He’s walking them down and he’s coming to fight like a typical Mexican, and he’s also using craftiness. And he’s using the shoulder-roll now. He’s a different breed. I think he’s a high-breed Mexican,” said Hill of Canelo.

“Canelo. I’m not taking anyone over Canelo,” said amateur heavyweight Antonio Drago in picking Alvarez to beat Saunders. “I think Canelo will never lose again. So I got Canelo. Within reason, anyone in his weight class. 155 to 175, no one is beating him. Let’s put it that way,” said Drago.

“I would say Canelo by stoppage,” said trainer Nate Vasquez.

The Saunders that fought Coceres, Shefat Isufi and Charles Adamu aren’t in the same class as Canelo. Saunders ballooned up in weight to 178 lbs after he defeated Lemieux, and he looked like a fat light heavyweight in his win over Adamu.


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