Hearn wants Canelo vs. Saunders in September
By Sean Jones: Eddie Hearn is still counting on Canelo Alvarez to follow through with his unification fight against WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders for September on DAZN.
The winner of the fight would then face Gennadiy Golovkin in December, provided that he beats his IBF mandatory Kamil Szeremeta in August. This is the perfect scenario that Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn pictures in his mind. Hearn promotes Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs), so he wants him to get the Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) fight next.
Canelo can walk away from Saunders fight
There’s no signed contract between Canelo and Saunders, meaning that the Mexican star can walk away from that fight if he so chooses. The reason that Hearn believes that he won’t is that IBF middleweight champion Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs) has a deal in place for him face Szeremeta (21-0 5 KOs) next in the summer.
If Canelo chooses not to fight Saunders next, then he’s going to need to sit idle until he can potentially face GGG in December. Of course, Canelo could choose someone else to fight like David Benavidez or Caleb Plant while he waits for GGG.
Hearn doesn’t think Canelo will make that move due to the difficulties that would be involved in negotiating against those fighters.
DAZN wants Canelo to fight Golovkin next
“I hope so,” said Hearn to Pug and Copp Podcast when asked if Saunders is still fighting Golovkin. “We know that when DAZN signed Canelo, and also signed Gennadiy Golovkin. The plan was always to create that trilogy fight. It’s one of the biggest fights in boxing.
“Last year in his fight at Madison Square Garden, his comeback fight, Gennadiy Golovkin, was accepting the fact that he was going to fight Canelo Alvarez. Now that fight couldn’t get made. There was a plan put in place.
“Between ourselves, DAZN, and Gennadiy Golovkin to fight for the vacant IBF title against Sergiy Derevyanchenko in which he [GGG] gave us the fight of the year, and also gave us a heart attack in the process, then to have a mandatory defense against [Kamil] Szeremeta.
“Both of those fights are signed. Szeremeta has a signed contract to fight Gennadiy Golovkin because Canelo Alvarez wasn’t going to face him. Of course, with everything that’s going on now, DAZN would like in an ideal world for Gennadiy Golovkin to go straight into a Canelo Alvarez fight,” said Hearn.
DAZN would get a massive shot of adrenalin if Canelo were to face Golovkin next, as would bring back a lot of new subscribers. The streaming giant lost a lot of subscribers due to the pandemic recently, and they need a big fight to bring them back. Canelo vs. Saunder is NOT the big fight that DAZN needs to bring in the subscribers.
They need Canelo and Golovkin to fight in a trilogy, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.
Canelo vs. Golovkin 3 needs a live gate
“When that fight comes around, it’ll be almost a year since Gennadiy Golovkin last fought in an absolute war [against Derevyanchenko], and he also has a contract to fight Szeremeta,” said Hearn. “In an ideal world, we’d like to see Gennadiy Golovkin fight in August against Szeremeta.
“I would like to see Canelo Alvarez fight in September against Billy Joe Saunders. I believe Billy Joe Saunders can win that fight. If he doesn’t win that fight, then we make Canelo against Gennadiy Golovkin in December.
“But it all relates back to the live gate, doesn’t it? There’s no way that Gennadiy Golovkin vs. Canelo Alvarez can take place without a live gate. So we let those guys fight at the back end of the year, and then we book it in Cinco de Mayo for Gennady Golovkin against Canelo 3.
“At least we know by Cinco de Mayo next year that we’ll fill up the T-Mobile or the Cowboy’s Stadium wherever it’s going to be. The world will be back to normal.
“I think Golovkin feels, ‘Wait a minute. I wanted that fight [against Canelo] in September, and you told me, ‘no,’ and you mapped out a plan for me, which I accepted, and now you want me to step up and fight Canelo again.’
“So he wants that fight badly, but he also wants to deliver for DAZN as well,” said Hearn on Golovkin.
The biggest problem with Canelo and Golovkin looking to face each other in August is the likelihood that there wouldn’t be a live gate. Hearn might be able to find a foreign country that would stage it, but Canelo likes to fight in the U.S. He’s probably not going to agree to face Golovkin in Saudi Arabia.
Hearn hoping Saunders gets Canelo fight
“It’s going to be interesting,” said Hearn on the Canelo vs. Golovkin situation. “There’s a lot to discusses, and a lot of big meetings taking place this week to establish a plan moving forward, the dates to return to DAZN, and also the proposed schedule.
“We know it’s a little bit disjointed between Golden Boy and Canelo Alvarez and Eddy Reynoso and those guys. For me, we have a deal in place for Billy Joe Saunders to fight Canelo Alvarez, but we don’t have a signed contract.
“Canelo is not obligated to fight Billy Joe. But we’re ready to go, and I would like him to take that fight. I don’t see how those fights against Caleb Plant or David Benavidez get made.
“And I know they’re names that have been discussed, but I like the Billy Joe Saunders fight. I think it’s a great fight, and they’re ready to go, and I’m hoping that Billy Joe Saunders will get that fight whenever things are resurrected,” said Hearn.
Canelo has already said that he wants to fight two times this year, which means that he’ll likely take the Saunders fight in September and then Golovkin in December.
If Canelo wanted to show bravery to the fans, he’d walk away from the Saunders fight and face one of these fighters in September:
- Artur Beterbiev
- Dmitry Bivol
- Jermall Charlo
- Demetrius Andrade
- Sergiy Derevyanchenko
- Oleksandr Gvozdyk
- Jean Pascal
- Callum Smith
None of those fighters are anticipated to get a fight against Canelo in the future. The guy that Canelo and Golden Boy Promotions wants is WBA ‘regular’ middleweight champion Ryota Murata. He’s a secondary champion with the World Boxing Association, and arguably a much lesser threat than the other 160-pound belt holders.
Staging Canelo-Saunders behind closed doors
“It is if we accept the fact that there’s going to be less revenue in the pot,” said Hearn when asked if the Canelo vs. Saunders fight is one that can take place behind closed doors.
“As you know, when there’s less revenue, you go, ‘Who’s willing to take less money?’ Okay, if I’m Golden Boy, will I take less money to get that right away? Probably. ‘Okay, Canelo, will you take less money to ensure that you fight this year?’ Maybe. ‘Billy Joe Saunders, will you take less money for the fight?’
“I can’t speak on his behalf. But maybe or maybe not. But you’ve got to have those conversations, don’t you? We know that a gate for that fight [between Canelo and Saunders] will generate $8 million. So all of a sudden, we’ve lot $8 million. It’s gone. How do we get it back?
“We got to find a way. Cut the undercard a little bit, get a little bit more investment from the broadcaster. Your costs are going to be a little bit less because you’re going into an arena with fewer costs at the T-Mobile or something. You’ve got to try and make up the deficit,” said Hearn.
Staging Canelo vs. Saunders behind closed doors would be a real buzzkill for Hearn, who would lose a lot of revenue for that contest without a crowd. Even with reducing the undercard, it’s still not likely to make up for the loss of the $8 million gate.
It’s bad luck on Saunders’ part that he got the Canelo fight during the pandemic. But he has to make the best of it, and hope that Canelo chooses to stick it out with this fight.
Canelo vs. Saunders is a compelling fight
“Any fighter with a longterm strategy would probably look at this moment and say, ‘Okay, maybe I can take it on the chin and take a little bit less to make sure my career keeps moving, and I stay relevant and stay active.’
“Just like the promoters will need to say. ‘We need to make sure the big fights happen, or we’re not going to make any money, or we’re going to lose some money. But we need to get our stars out, and we need to make good fights.’
“If you can create a fight like Canelo Alvarez against Billy Joe Saunders, then behind closed doors or in front of a crowd is a compelling fight. But maybe as I said, if you pencil in Golovkin against Canelo on Cinco de Mayo next year, then perhaps you let those fights take place at the back end of this year with the hope that we will see a crowd in Vegas for a fight like that.
“I think he [Canelo] has every right to say no [to a third fight with Golovkin], to be honest. I don’t know his mindset, Golden Boy’s mindset, or anybody’s mindset.
“All I know is we’re expecting a much less profitable year than we anticipated in light of this. But we’re big boys, we’ve built a proper business with big reserves to ride storms like this. Some people can’t ride this storm,” said Hearn.
Boxing fans appear to be split down the middleweight when it comes to their interest in Canelo vs. Saunders. Some love the idea of Canelo defending against Saunders. On the flip side, there’s an equal amount that views this as a poor fight. Saunders’ poor performances since moving up two 168 have turned off fans, who see him as past it.
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