Billy Joe Saunders has no guarantee of EVER getting Canelo Alvarez offer again
By Matt Lieberman: The decision by Billy Joe Saunders to pull himself out of discussions for a fight against Canelo Alvarez due to him needing more time to train may have enormous ramifications for the British fighter. According to Golden Boy Promotions executive Bernard Hopkins, Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) may have blown his one opportunity for a fight against Alvarez, and he may not receive future offers.
Saunders failed to train during the lockdown, and he let his weight get out of hand. So when Golden Boy let him know that Canelo wanted to fight in September, Saunders said he needed more time than the ten weeks that they were giving him to prepare.
Professional fighters are expected to stay in shape in between fights, particularly when they know they’re being considered for a fight with Canelo Alvarez.
Saunders dropped the ball by failing his job to keep in shape, and he’s paying the consequences now in losing out on the Alvarez match.
Even though Saunders, 30, could have still taken the Alvarez bout, he pulled out and seemed bitter about it afterward. If Saunders loses his title shortly against one of the contenders, he could second-guess his decision in not taking the Canelo clash.
Hopkins says Saunders should always be prepared
“You should always be prepared,” Hopkins said to Sky Sports. “It did because Billy Joe Saunders is not a rookie in the game,” Bernard said when asked if he was shocked at Billy Joe choosing not to take the Canelo fight.
“He missed out, and there’s no guarantee, especially in the world of boxing, that Billy [Joe] Saunders will get a call from anybody, pertaining to a world champion, the biggest spotlight you can get, pandemic or not, opportunity,” said Hopkins.
The Canelo offer was Saunders’ golden ticket, and he chose not to accept it and then gave a weak excuse about ten weeks not being enough time for him. Saunders claimed that he would have had only six to seven weeks of real training time because he would be expected to deal with the press conferences and the other media events.
That sounds like an excuse, though, because fighters that attend press conferences can still train around that time. Boxing workouts don’t take eight hours. Surely, Saunders could have found four uninterrupted hours each day for him to training during the final few weeks of the fight. If Canelo can do it, then Saunders should be willing to do it as well.
Golden Boy is still trying to find an opponent for Canelo’s September 12 bout. John Ryder and Callum Smith are two of the names that are still being considered for the fight. Sergiy Derevyanchenko, a fighter that was in the running, is said to be close to finalizing a deal with WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo.
Canelo is taking a pay-cut for his next fight due to the absence of a crowd. He still needs to face a good enough opponent to keep DAZN happy, as they’re paying him a great deal of money.
Alvarez needs a good opponent
Canelo’s last two fights have been ho-hum affairs against Sergey Kovalev and Daniel Jacobs. Alvarez didn’t look great in either of those fights, and they weren’t exciting to watch.
What may limit the ability for Golden Boy to get Canelo a quality opponent is the lack of money they’re working with for his September fight. The top fighters aren’t going to want to fight Canelo for pennies because they know this will likely be their only shot at facing him. Moreover, if they lose, their careers are hurt badly, and they’re not going to agree to that unless they get paid well by Golden Boy.
Oscar De La Hoya wants the fighters to be “reasonable” with their requests, but what he doesn’t understand is the damage that is done to the careers of the opponents that lose to Canelo. They don’t want to trade in their good records for low pay for a fight with Alvarez, and that’s why Golden Boy will likely continue to have problems getting the A-level fighters to accept their offers.
Saunders’ negative fighting style might have made it dull for American boxing fans to watch Canelo fight him. They prefer to see nonstop action, and it’s not enjoyable for them when they see fighters that are mainly trying to showboat and box for 12 rounds.
Hearn not saying what he’ll do with Saunders
Saunders doesn’t have much choice but to fight in that way, considering that he lacks punching power.
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn hasn’t said what he plans on doing with Billy Joe in terms of his next fight. Callum Smith might be busy facing Canelo. So he could be out of the picture for Saunders.
If Saunders is going to make a title defense of his WBO 168-pound belt, he’ll need to be careful. Daniel Jacobs is ranked #3 by the WBO, and he would likely be a big favorite over Saunders if that fight took place.
Billy Joe hasn’t looked like the same fighter that he once was since moving up to 168. He doesn’t handle the power well from the super middleweights, and he doesn’t punch well enough to score knockouts in this weight class. The only way that Saunders can win fights at 168 is by decisions, and that means he ends up soaking a lot more punishment than he did at 160.
When Saunders fought at middleweight, he didn’t fight the quality opponents. You hate to say it, but Saunders’ management put him in with fighters with limited talent and power. Aside from Andy Lee, Saunders fought a lot of middle of the road fighters during the eight years he fought at 160.
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