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Billy Joe Saunders no longer wants Canelo Alvarez fight

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

By Charles Brun: Super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders told The Athletic that he’s pulling his name out of the running for a fight against Canelo Alvarez on September 12 due to him not being able to train properly.

According to @MikeCoppinger, Saunders will look to take a tune-up fight next in October, and then face Demetrius Andrade in December.

Saunders is the type that needs a lot of preparation time to get ready for his fights due to his weight issues. At this point, Saunders likely couldn’t get his weight down low enough to make the 168-lb limit for a fight with Canelo on September 12.

Golden Boy needs a cheaper opponent

But the reality of the situation is, Golden Boy needs someone that won’t break the bank for Canelo’s next fight. The September 12 contest for Alvarez will be held behind closed doors, so there won’t be as much money to pay for Canelo’s opponent and to put the undercard together.

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

Canelo and Golden Boy will likely take the cheapest guy they can get that DAZN will agree to. Many people believe David Lemieux or Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan will wind up as Canelo’s next opponent.

There won’t be much interest from fans in seeing Canelo fight those guys, but then again, U.S. fans had no desire to see Saunders as his opponent. Saunders is too pricey and likely wouldn’t take less than what was initially agreed upon.

De La Hoya already looking for an alternative

The revelation by Saunders is kind of pointless, though, as it’s clear that Canelo’s promoters want are looking for a cheaper fighter. Golden Boy Promotions boss Oscar De La Hoya went on a rant this week in an interview with Ring T.V. about the fighters pricing themselves out for Canelo’s next fight n September 12.

That comment suggests that Golden Boy had already moved on and was no longer considering Saunders as an option for Alvarez.

Saunder’s promoter Eddie Hearn also said that Canelo is looking for a “cheaper” option for his next fight and that he wouldn’t be fighting any of the British fighters. They’re “too expensive,” said Hearn.

By Saunders telling the media that he’s pulling his name out of consideration for a Canelo fight, he makes it seem like it was him that was no longer interested. It’s a game.

If Canelo and Golden Boy still wanted the fight with Saunders, they would be talking to Hearn now in putting the deal together for September 12. That’s not happening. Instead, De La Hoya is bellyaching about fighters pricing themselves out for a Canelo fight.

Fans won’t mind that Saunders is out of the picture

Saunders (29-0, 14 K.O.s) doesn’t have enough time to prepare to face the WBA ‘regular 168-lb champion Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 K.O.s). Earlier this year, Saunders, 30, was close to signing for a fight with Canelo on May 2, but the pandemic wiped that fight out.

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

It’s doubtful that too many boxing fans will be upset at Saunders pulling his name out of the list of available opponents for Canelo. Aside from Billy Joe’s loyal U.K. followers, people in the U.S. aren’t interested in seeing a Canelo-Saunders fight. It’s a dull match-up and has cherry-pick written all over it.

Fans would like to see Canelo fight these guys:

  • Sergiy Derevyanchenko
  • Artur Beterbiev
  • David Benavidez
  • Dmitry Bivol
  • Callum Smith

Breaking: Billy Joe Saunders tells @TheAthleticBOX he’s withdrawing from consideration for the Canelo Alvarez fight on Sept. 12, citing an inability to properly train during the pandemic. @bjsaunders_ had a deal to defend title vs. Canelo on May 2.”

‘Saunders was the front-runner to fight Canelo in the fall, DAZN’s preferred choice. Instead, Saunders said he’ll focus on a tune-up bout in October before a big fight in December, and hopes that’s against @BooBooAndrade.”

Saunders can still fight Canelo

This isn’t the end of the story for Saunders, though, as he can still get a fight with Canelo down the road. If Saunders beats Demetrius Andrade, he’d be in an excellent position to face Canelo in 2021. But again, that would require that the fight take place in front of a live audience because it’s unlikely that Golden Boy would be able to come up with the money needed for Billy Joe.

Saunders will likely lose to Andrade, so that could finish him permanently as a potential opponent for Canelo. It’s up to Saunders. If he can keep winning and put a few good wins under his belt, it may perk up Canelo’s interest. But given Saunders’ history of suffering injuries and fight infrequently, it’s not likely that he’ll beat anyone of note.

Fighting once a year against the likes of Artur Akavov or Charles Adamu isn’t going to get the job. Saunders’ only fight in 2016 was against Akavov in beating him by a controversial 12 round decision. In 2018, Saunders’ single fight was against journeyman Adamu at light-heavyweight.


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