Saunders 3 options if no Canelo fight: Callum, Andrade & Eubank Jr
By Tim Royner: Billy Joe Saunders is still in the running for Canelo Alvarez’s next fight, and his promoter Eddie Hearn says he reached out to Golden Boy Promotions this week to let them know he’s ready to face him.
Canelo (53-1-2, 36 K.O.s) is already training for his September 12 fight, and his opponent needs to be selected soon to start getting fans ramped up to watch him on DAZN.
Hearn understands the dynamics that’ll be in play for Saunders (29-0, 14 K.O.s) if he wants to get the fight with Canelo in September.
The reality is that if Saunders, 30, still wants to face Canelo, he’ll need to accept less money because the match will likely take place without fans.
Without the gate, which could be as much as $8 million, there’s less money for Saunders and the undercard.
Hearn says that if Saunders chooses not to agree to the money offered to him by Golden Boy, then he plans on matching him against one of these three fighters:
- Callum Smith
- Demetrius Andrade
- Chris Eubank, Jr.
The fight that Hearn prefers as Saunders’ Plan-B is WBA Super World super middleweight champion Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) because he sees that as a big match-up. They can stage it in one of the football stadiums in Liverpool, England. Of course, if live crowds still aren’t allowed in the U.K. by September, October, or November, then Hearn will need to take the fight outside of the country.
It could prove to be difficult for Eddie to find an outside country willing to stage Saunders vs. Callum because neither fighter is popular outside of the U.K. We’re not talking about Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury here with these two.
Saunders still ready to fight Canelo
“Billy Joe Saunders, I actually e-mailed Golden Boy two days ago, and said, ‘I know you’re in the process of selecting your opponent for September for Canelo, and I want to say, we’re ready,'” said Hearn to IFL TV.
“I expect everybody now that was in a fight pre-pandemic and was in a fight with a crowd, to come back with a reduced offer. I’ve done it for fights that I’ve had planned, and I say to those fighters that if they want a fight with no crowd, ‘this is the new offer.
“If you want to wait, we’ll pay you the same money when crowds come back. Right now, if you want to get out and advance your career, this is the deal.’ 95% are saying, ‘I understand. I don’t want to wait. I want to get out now,'” said Hearn.
It might not be possible for Saunders to get the fight with Canelo even if he is willing to agree to a substantial pay cut. Saunders created some bad press for him recently with the video he put together in talking about domestic abuse.
Golden Boy Promotions are already talking about alternatives for Canelo to fight, and the guys they’re mentioning will likely agree to less money. Fans would like to see Canelo face someone exciting and with a shot at winning, but that not be possible right now.
The talented guys are probably not even being considered by Golden Boy because of the cost. Also, the economy is in poor shape in the U.S., and it’s questionable whether Canelo could bring in a large crowd.
Will Saunders accept less money for Canelo fight?
“So with Billy Joe Saunders, you have a situation with Canelo where his $8 million gate or whatever it is has evaporated. And so if you’re Golden Boy or a promoter, does Canelo Alvarez want to take less money? Not really.
“He’s one of the biggest stars in the sport, but maybe he’ll say to himself, ‘I understand the situation, and I understand the market. I’ve got no crowd.’ Then you say to Billy Joe, will Billy Joe take less money? I don’t know. Maybe he does.
“Maybe he does understand. But this is where we’re at now in boxing where if the people want to get out and understand the environment and the market we’re in until the months pass and we return to normal. No, not if Billy keeps winning,” said Hearn when asked if Saunders will miss out on the Canelo fight if he doesn’t get it this time.
“But then again, I believe Canelo will fight GGG after this fight. Whatever fight he has in September, I believe his next fight after that’ll be GGG. So you’re talking about a year if you don’t get the opportunity to fight Canelo,” said Hearn.
With the way that Saunders has been chasing the Canelo fight since 2015, he might agree to a smaller payday. If Saunders beats Canelo, he will make a massive amount of money in the rematch, and that would make it worth it.
Predicting how Saunders is going to react to a smaller offer from Golden Boy is challenging to do. Saunders might agree if he looks at the big picture of what he stands to gain, but he won’t take it he thinks he’ll lose.
Hearn names three options for Saunders
“I’ll put him in with Andrade, or I’ll put him in with Callum Smith,” said Hearn about Saunders’ options for next fight. “There are three fights for Billy Joe Saunders.
“There’s Callum Smith, which is an all British unification fight, which I think is the priority if the Canelo fight doesn’t happen. There’s Demetrius Andrade, which is a fight that was supposed to happen.
“It’s a really good fight, and there’s Chris Eubank Jr for the banter. The build-up would be fantastic. That’s just Box Office all over it. Not just the fight, but the build-up. Billy Joe terrorizing Junior and Senior.
“That’s something we got to see, but I don’t think Billy is really motivated for that fight because he’s saying, ‘I’m world champion. I’ve already beaten him.
“What am I doing? Just giving him a shot at the world title?’ But if commercially, if that’s the fight that makes sense, I’m sure he’ll do it,” said Hearn.
Out of the three names that Hearn is mentioning for Saunders, Callum Smith is probably the most dangerous. But Andrade is quite capable of not only beating Saunders but knocking him out as well. The Saunders we saw in his last fight against Marcelo Coceres would probably lose to Andrade, Eubank Jr, and Callum.
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