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Saunders labels Canelo a “cherry-picker” for choosing Yildirim to fight

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

By Sean Jones: Billy Joe Saunders took the opportunity to lash out at Saul Canelo Alvarez on social media on Tuesday. Not surprisingly, Billy Joe reacted negatively after learning that the WBC Board of Governors has approved Canelo as the opponent to face WBC 168-pound mandatory Avni Yildirim for the vacant WBC super-middleweight title.

Billy Joe says Canelo is a “cherry-picker” for stepping forward to face the 28-year-old Yildirim for the vacant WBC belt in a weak move.

For boxing fans not familiar with the Turkish fighter Yildirim, he was knocked out in three rounds by Chris Eubank Jr on October 7, 2017, in the World Boxing Super Series tournament in Stuttgart, Germany.

Eubank Jr crushed Yildirim in 2017

Eubank Jr recently called out Canelo but with no luck, despite plenty of interest fans all around the globe, who wanted to see the two mix it up

Saunders (29-1, 14 KOs) notes that Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) wasn’t stepping forward to challenge David Benavidez when he held the WBC 168lb title from 2017 to August 14, 2020.

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

The knockout artist Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) lost his WBC belt last Friday when he came in overweight at the weigh-in for his title defense against Roamer Alexis Angulo. During the three years that Benavidez held the WBC belt, Canelo wasn’t trying to get a fight against him. Now that the WBC 168-lb belt has been stripped, Alvarez is going for the title.

DAZN hasn’t yet chimed in about whether they’re going to approve Yildirim as Canelo’s opponent, as he’s not well known in America, and it’s vital that the Golden Boy star face opposition that fans want to see.

What DAZN needs is for Canelo to face fighters that people want to see him fight, and Yildirim doesn’t float all boats unfortunately in that department.

Of course, you can also say the same thing about the British super middleweights Billy Joe Saunders, Callum Smith, John Ryder, and Jason Quigley.

All four of those Brits have been mentioned recently as being in the running for Canelo’s next fight, but none of them are household names with Americans.

Nothing for Canelo to gain

The positives of DAZN approving Yildirim for Canelo’s next fight:

  • An easy match to negotiate. Yildirim won’t want a lot of money like other opponents for a fight against Canelo
  • It’s an excellent showcase opportunity for Canelo
  • Yildirim is a pure slugger, and it would be fun to watch while it lasts

It’s challenging to dispute Saunders’ lab of Canelo as a “cherry-picker,” and that’s troubling because he’s ‘The Face of Boxing.’ If the lead guy in the sport is an opportunist that cherry-picks his opponent, then what kind of future does boxing have while Alvarez is viewed as #1?

Canelo’s fans would point out that he’s faced several talented fighters during his 15-year professional career. However, most of the good boxers Canelo has fought were old by the time he met them, which strengthens the label that Saunders has of him being a cherry picker.

The negatives of Canelo fighting Yildirim:

  • Fans aren’t familiar with Yildirim
  • The fight is a mismatch in favor of Alvarez
  • DAZN won’t bring in a lot of new subscribers
  • Alvarez’s reputation as a cherry-picker will be reinforced

It’s going to be difficult for DANZ to lure their subscribers back to their platform with Canelo selecting weak opposition like Yildirim, Sergey Kovalev, and Rocky Fielding.

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

Premier Boxing Champions and ESPN are putting together better fights involving Errol Spence Jr battling Danny Garcia and Vasiliy Lomachenko facing Teofimo Lopez.

For DAZN to compete, they need to set limits on prima donnas like Canelo by being firm with him, letting him know he can’t face dreadful opponents like Yildirim, Fielding, and Kovalev and expect to be paid for the mismatches.


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