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Hearn still expects Canelo Alvarez to fight Saunders

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

By Jeff Aronow: Billy Joe Saunders is still on course to face Canelo Alvarez in the summer, according to promoter Eddie Hearn. He says that Saunders can still face Canelo even if he’s suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control [BBBofC] for the recent video of him that has angered many people.

What could get in the way of Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) getting the Canelo fight is the COVID 19 virus, says Hearn. There’s uncertainty for when the virus will go away so that boxing events can go ahead. Hearn is hoping that the COVID 19 will be gone or at least under control by July, and that way Saunders can face Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Saunders will be getting a career-high payday of $7.5 million for the fight. However, there still isn’t a vaccine stop the coronavirus and it could take as long as 18 months before one is produced. Saunders can’t wait that long. If he doesn’t have the fight by August, Canelo will probably move on. The Coronavirus may completely ground Canelo for the year if it sticks around and continues to infect people.

Hearn optimistic about Canelo vs. Saunders

‘I think everybody is still expecting that fight [Canelo vs. Saunders] to still happen,” said Hearn to iFL TV. “At the moment there’s uncertainty about when we come back. You saw that Wimbleton got canceled today for the middle to late June.

“He was suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control pending a hearing, and hopefully that hearing will happen soon,” said Hearn on Saunders. “It’s always two sides with Billy Joe. Everybody that knows him, and everybody that sees stuff away from boxing.

“Some things he publicized and other things he doesn’t publicize know that he’s a good guy and know he’s got a good heart. But I can’t just sit on the fence and say he wasn’t an idiot for doing it because he was. I understand the whole joke thing, but you’ve got to understand.

“This isn’t an account that’s followed by 30 people that nobody cares about. You’re in the public eye, you’re a professional fighter and a world champion. Everything is going to be amplified but Billy Joe is a good bloke. My mate sent it to me, and he said, ‘Look at Billy Joe. He’s crazy.’ I was, ‘Oh no.’ I sometimes think somebody has got to get a hold of his social media, or the people filming it.

“At what point do you film that and go, ‘Yeah, Billy, put that on your Facebook. That’s brilliant. We’re all a bit bored at the moment, but you still have a responsibility in the public eye. It’s frustrating because we know he’s a good guy with a good heart, but he shouldn’t have done it,” said Hearn on Saunders.

You’ve got to admire Hearn for his optimism. He’s someone that isn’t discouraged no matter how bad the situation appears on the surface.

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

Saunders won’t be stopped by suspension

“I think that the [British Boxing] Board will, I expect a fine, and hopefully they can deal with the situation and he can move forward to a big fight,” said Hearn in predicting what the BBBofC will do to Saunders. “Not really because he would have to apply for a license to fight in Nevada.

“Obviously, if he was suspended with the British Boxing Board of Control, it wouldn’t put him in great standings when he’s applying for a license. It wouldn’t mean he wouldn’t be approved to fight. But obviously any fight is due to happen at the earliest in July now.

“I don’t believe it’ll [suspension] affect the Canelo fight, but we don’t know when boxing will be back, and we don’t know if that fight will even happen in July. That’s why we have the British Boxing Board of Control.

“There’s no malice, no intention, there’s nothing,” said Hearn about Saunders’ video he put out instructing me to beat up their female partners if they get bossy. “The best word to describe what he did was a prat.”

The reality is if the BBBofC doesn’t prevent Saunders from fighting Canelo, the COVID 19 pandemic likely will. Hearn believes that Saunders has a shot at getting the Canelo fight up until August, which means the medical field has only a short period of time to find a vaccine, test and begin having it the world population inoculated. That’s not much time.

What Hearn should be doing is looking to put the Canelo vs. Saunders fight behind closed doors, since that might be his best backup option to ensure the fight goes forward. That’s something that the BBBofC, Nevada Commission and U.S government will need to be in agreement on.

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

Canelo and Golovkin both want interim fights

“We’ve got a deal in place for GGG to fight Kamil Szeremeta for the IBF middleweight title, it’s a mandatory,” said Hearn to IFL TV. “One reason why Ben [Davison] is asking that is because he’s hoping Golovkin fights Szeremeta before he fights Canelo, and that’s the plan as well.

“I do believe Canelo and GGG will want to have a fight before they fight each other. The big problem comes if we’re talking September, October, November.

“So if there were a situation where there were no fights taking place until that, then I do think the Billy Joe fight is in jeopardy. But I know Gennadiy wants to fight Szeremeta and get that [IBF] mandatory put of the way before Canelo. And I know Canelo would ideally love to fight Billy Joe before he fights GGG,” said Hearn.

At this point, it doesn’t look good for Gennadiy Golovkin and Canelo to be taking interim fights before they face each. It’s arguably whether GGG and Canelo want the interim fights because they feel they need them to get ready to meet in a trilogy fight.

It’s quite possible that GGG and Canelo want the interim matches because they’re easy paydays for them. Golovkin will make good money for a title defense against Kamil Szeremeta (21-0, 5 KOs), who can’t punch, and Canelo will have the same situation against non-puncher Saunders. It might be a different story if Golovkin’s interim fight was against Jermall Charlo or Sergiy Derevyanchenko.

He might not be so eager to fight either of them. Those guys would have a good shot at beating Golovkin and wrecking his plans to fight Canelo a third time. The same goes for Canelo.

If he had to fight Jermall, David Benavidez or Artur Beterbiev before he fought Golovkin, he probably wouldn’t want to take any of those fights. In other words, Canelo might push for the immediate GGG fight if he was faced with a match against a real threat like Beterbiev.


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