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Eddie Hearn: Canelo vs. Golovkin could get PUSHED back beyond September

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez Gennady Golovkin

By Charles Brun:  Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennadiy Golovkin trilogy match could get pushed back beyond September if Billy Joe Saunders faces the Golden Boy star in June or July, according to Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing.

Despite what fans are saying about Saunders getting pushed to the side so that Canelo can face GGG on September 12, it may not happen. Hearn says he has a deal for Alvarez to face Billy Joe next.

Golovkin may need to wait longer to fight Canelo

Hearn admits that Saunders won’t be fighting Canelo on Cinco de Mayo on May 2. But he thinks it’ll happen in June or July, provided that boxing starts up again. As long fights are permitted by the U.S government to start up again by June or July, Saunders WILL be fighting Canelo during one of those months. Unfortunately, there probably won’t be enough time for Canelo to return to the ring quickly to fight Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) on September 12 on their agreed date.

That’s the Mexican Independence Day holiday weekend that Canelo likes to fight on, and that’s when he plans on facing GGG in a trilogy. According to Hearn, Canelo vs. Golovkin may need to be pushed back. Just how far is unknown.

Perhaps until November or December, depending on the outcome of Canelo’s fight with Saunders, but we’ll see how it goes. Canelo has to win that fight, and not sustain injuries for him to be able to return to the ring to fight Golovkin in November or December.

Boxing fans in the U.S aren’t excited about seeing Canelo fight Saunders, but that was his decision. According to ESPN, Canelo could have fought Callum Smith and got him at a cheaper price, but he chose Saunders.

Saunders could fight Canelo in June or July

“Where it leaves Billy Joe at the moment is a deal in place to fight Canelo Alvarez, but everything now depends on when the sport begins again,” said Hearn to Sky Sports Boxing when asked how the news of Canelo having a deal to fight Gennadiy Golovkin on September 12 impacts Saunders.

“That fight [Canelo vs. Saunders] was supposed to take place on Cinco de Mayo [May 2], and now we know that’s definitely not happening. Will boxing return in June or July? If it does, there’s every chance Billy Joe Saunders WILL fight Canelo Alvarez during that period, the date of the Golovkin fight will get pushed back.

“I think with this whole disruption, the old Cinco de Mayo in September 13th weekend will have to take a backseat. Right now, Billy Joe Saunders is actually in Las Vegas training. We were supposed to have a press conference on Monday to announce the Canelo Alvarez fight,” said Hearn.

Fans have already been waiting two years for Canelo to fight Golovkin in a trilogy match, so they probably won’t mind waiting longer. Where there could be an issue with boxing fans is if Canelo’s only fight in 2020 is Saunders, and they then have to until May 2021 for the Golovkin trilogy. For many fans, the Saunders fight is just too similar to Canelo’s mismatch against Rocky Fielding.

DAZN perhaps should have written into their contract with Canelo a requirement that they would be the ones picking out his opponents because he’s selecting a lot of softer opponents that don’t bring much.

Hearn confident Saunders fights Canelo in summer

“So again, right now he’s out there training with Ben Davison and Josh Taylor, who just had his fight postponed for May the 2nd as well. No one knows what they’re doing. It’s a moment where you’ve got to stay focused, you’ve got to stay disciplined. I believe Billy Joe Saunders will fight Canelo Alvarez, as long as the boxing schedule returns in the summer.

“We have to listen to the experts because we have to try and control this. For us, Matchroom isn’t just our business,” said Hearn. “It’s our life. We also want to provide content for the fans, but we also we’re not stupid. We know there’s a lot more to worry about than just sports. But for us, sport is life, and for these boxers, boxing is life.

“So we’ve got to be smart and plan for the resurgence because the ones that sit still and wait for one month or two months, and just put their feet up and say, ‘I’m just going to leave it to the side’ It doesn’t work like that. It’s such a huge blow to the sport in general, but the bounce back is going to be just as important as well. The bounce-back has to be planned.

“It has to have a strategy behind it, especially for boxing where fighters are calling every day, ‘When am I fighting?’ There’s going to be such a big backlog of fights. It’s going to be difficult to come back from it and create the right schedule,” said Hearn.

The problem that all sports have right now is predicting when the coronavirus situation will improve. Until large crowds are allowed to gather for sporting events, it’s going to difficult for promoters to stage cards.

Kelly vs. Avanesyan card could be behind closed doors

“Now it’s unavoidable now but to cancel all sports and concentrate on the health of the general public, the British public and make sure we do the right thing,” said Hearn to Sky Sports Boxing. “Plans are in place to have the Golden Contract to go behind closed doors on Friday.

“Also our March 28th show at the O2. We’re considering doing that behind closed doors. We were considering doing that in a studio as well. I talked to Robert Smith from the British Boxing Board of Control. Then it becomes a problem with doctors and access into hospitals when a fighter is injured during the evening, and then it becomes a complete no go.

“So various ideas of moving from mass gatherings to behind closed doors to studios. All of those are put on hold as we wait to see. I do see over the coming weeks where the medical side can be approved by the British Boxing Board of Control, and we could go back to looking at events in studios and behind closed doors.

“Boxing, for me, this isn’t the right environment. You need the energy of the arena, you need the energy from the fans,” said Hearn.

It would be great if the British Boxing Board of Control approves the medical side so that Matchroom can stage fights in studios, but that would only be for small shows. Hearn says the marquee fighters like Joshua, Whyte, and Usyk would need to fight live in front of large audiences, and he’s going to wait until they can before staging their fights. If the coronavirus stays around for 2 to 3 years, it’ll be interesting to see Hearn change his mind about not wanting to stage fights behind closed doors with his marquee fighters.

Joshua-Pulev, Usyk-Chisora & Whyte-Povetkin at risk of being postponed

“If they’re talking about moving a date from April to June or July, it’s a solvable problem for some of these fighters to see where they’re going,” said Hearn in talking about the coronavirus’s impact on boxers. “But once we go beyond that, these guys are going to need help.

“This is a sport where you can train 12 weeks, and if you miss fight night, you miss payday. That’s a big concern for fighters. For us, we need to make sure we have a plan to get back to where we want to be. Whether that’s a slow plan back reaching the biggest stadium show.

“We have Anthony Joshua on June 20, we got Oleksandr Usyk vs. Dereck Chisora on May 23rd, we got Dillian Whyte on May 2nd. They’re all at risk in doubt.

“The truth is no one really knows where we’re going and the pace we’re going,” said Hearn. “We’ve got dates ready for the rescheduling of all of those events. Yesterday, we announced March 28th is canceled. April the 4th with Lewis Ritson against Vazquez will be moved to June 27th. Those May dates are the next one at risk.

“We probably have a two-week window here where we’ll be at the mercy of the government to let us know what their plans are, particularly to let us know how this virus continues to spread and at what rate as well,” said Hearn.

There is a very good chance that Whyte, Joshua and Usyk will see their fights postponed in May or June. For the time being, Whyte and Usyk have more to worry about than Joshua because those two are fighting in May. Joshua’s fight is on June 20, but Hearn is already planning ahead in looking at July for AJ just in case.

Fights in May safe for now for Hearn fighters

“Right now, May is safe and going ahead, but we also understand that we have contingency’s in place to move Dillian Whyte to the middle of June and to move Dereck Chisora to the back end of June and early July,” said Hearn. “Anthony Joshua relies on the run of the Premier League now because if the Premier League extends their season, the Spurs will need their stadium.

“We already have a reserved date with the Spurs of July 25th for Anthony Joshua against Kubrat Pulev at Tottenham’s Hot Spurs Stadium. If we’re talking about no boxing until then, this sport is going to start struggling significantly. Everybody is going to be struggling through this situation.

“People are going to be spending less money. It’s a complete mess,” said Hearn. “Every business and every sport is a complete mess. For us right now, it looks like the delay of the schedule. There’s no immediate panic. I’m trying to speak to as many fighters as I can by saying ‘this is a moment where you have to stay disciplined.’ This is a sport where you have to stay ready,” said Hearn.

It’s mid-March and the coronavirus is still spreading. If we assume things stay as they are, Hearn’s cards in May will be at risk of being postponed.

Matchroom hoping BBBofC will allow studio and small hall shows

“We don’t know in two weeks’ time if the British Boxing Board of Control will turn around and say, ‘We now approve small hall shows, studio shows,'” said Hearn. “There’s no government legislation right now that will restrict us from staging behind the doors events. It’s really a policy of the British Boxing Board of Control, and really the right one.

“But fighters have to stay ready, and to stay ready in this sport is probably one of the most difficult things to do. But they have to be professional. We have to plan for the future. This is a completely unique situation that has never happened before, and hopefully, it will never happen again. But boxing sport does come second.

“While we want to give the public these great fight nights, we’re devastated that we have to move those three shows, which could end up being five shows or seven shows. We lost two shows in Italy and Regis Prograis vs. Maurice Hooker. There’s going to be a big backlog as we move hopefully.,” said Hearn.

The biggest hope right now for Hearn is for his studio cards to be approved to take place, given that might be the only way that they go ahead in May and June.


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