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Billy Joe Saunders to find out about Canelo Alvarez fight on Monday

Billy Joe Saunders Callum Smith Canelo Alvarez

By Kenneth Friedman: Billy Joe Saunders expects to know by this Monday whether he’ll be getting the fight against Canelo Alvarez this year. That’s when Saunders’ promoter Eddie Hearn will be contacting him to let him know what the status is on that fight.

WBO super middleweight champion Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) doesn’t hold out much hope that he’ll get the fight against the former four-division world champion Alvarez.

Billy Joe feels that Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) won’t fight at all in 2020 as a result of his skirmishes with DAZN. Although Saunders is still hoping he gets the fight, he doesn’t think it’s going to happen this year.

If the Canelo fight doesn’t happen, Saunders’ plan-B is Callum Smith, who is interested in facing him. Hearn is eager to negotiate the Saunders vs speedily. Smith fight for the fall as soon as he finds out about the Canelo situation.

Alvarez situation to be sorted by Monday

“What I hear with the word on the street, I don’t reckon Canelo will fight this year, but maybe he will,” Saunders said to IFL TV. “I’ve left it to my team and Eddie [Hearn] to get back to me today, Friday slash Monday.

Billy Joe Saunders Callum Smith Canelo Alvarez

“I can’t hang around because he’s [Canelo] having problems with DAZN. I need a date, let’s go. And I don’t want to be inactive for a full year. I need to be out.

“I’ve gone with Matchroom to keep busy and keep going. I know it’s not their fault, but I need to be out. I think myself and Callum Smith or myself and [Demetrius] Andrade if Canelo doesn’t fight this year.

“The only thing I’m interested in is ‘are you fighting this year or not?'” Sauders said about Canelo. “I took myself out of date for September. I got straight back into training. I’ve been training since mid-July.

I wasn’t ready for September, but I’m ready for any other date. If they were to come back and say, ‘It’s November 14th, November 21st or December 14th,’ let’s go.

“I hope it does, obviously, but I beg to differ. So I’m going to get on with Eddie this week and hopefully secure a date,” said Billy Joe.

Golden Boy wanted Saunders to be ready to face Canelo in September, but he had to bow out for that month because he wouldn’t have been in shape.

Saunders has been working out since July, and he’s confident that he’ll be ready to face Canelo or whoever by November or December.

Callum Smith and Demetrius Andrade are the two backup options for Saunders if he doesn’t get the Canelo match. Of those two, Callum is the opponent that Saunders prefers.

Saunders doubts Canelo fight happens in 2020

“The Canelo situation is a load of s***. They want to use people as bait, and they want to use fighters against each other,” Saunders said. “And then with the click of the fingers, ‘Let’s go.’ It doesn’t work like that.

Billy Joe Saunders Callum Smith Canelo Alvarez

“Callum Smith, I don’t think would settle for that as a world champion, and I’m a world champion. I won’t settle for that. If you give me a proper notice to prepare, which I wasn’t ready for September.

“I was locked away, and I didn’t have a proper gym to train. No, I don’t think he’s [Canelo] will be fighting this year.

“I think the biggest fight he has for the moment is sorting business out with his team,” said Saunders of Canelo Alvarez. “If Eddie phones up on Monday and says, ‘the fights on,’ brilliant,” continued Saunders.

It’s not looking good for Canelo fighting in 2020 right now, but if he does, Saunders and Smith are the two that he’s expected to select from.

Canelo and DAZN are reportedly at odds on his contract. Saunders was so close to getting the Canelo fight earlier this year, but the pandemic wiped it out.

Billy Joe isn’t impressed with Andrade as a professional even though he’s an unbeaten two-division world champion. They were supposed to fight each other in 2018, but Saunders failed a drug test.

Andrade fight doesn’t interest Saunders

“It’s a unification fight, a big fight,” said Saunders about him facing Callum Smith. “There’s only one shame in that fight. The fans, the crowd, the gate, that’s the only shame.

“It could change. It would be nice to have it in a big stadium. Do we do 50,000, 40,000? I think not. Do we do 30,000? I reckon so.

Billy Joe Saunders Callum Smith Canelo Alvarez

“At this level, it’s s*** politics,” said Saunders. “I know we can’t help the pandemic what’s going on, but it’s not helped anyone at all. Callum Smith and me are a definite must.

“I know he’s not frightened of the fight. Callum Smith is a good fighter. If the right deal is in place for himself and me, then I know there won’t be a problem to make the fight for this year.

“Andrade, he hadn’t boxed anybody since the Olympic games when he got beat in 2008,” Saunders continued. “He’s [Demetrius] boxed a load of bums, and I think he just wants to get by with his rap videos and boxing nobodies.

“No disrespect to the opponents he’s boxed, but they’re nowhere near world-class. He has Liam Williams as a mandatory, but is it going to happen this year? Definitely not. Liam Williams will fight in October.

“Maybe he might fight in December. I don’t think so. Personally, I don’t think Andrade is going to fight Williams,” said Saunders.

Saunders-Andrade would attract more interest in the United States than a fight between Saunders and Callum Smith. Billy Joe needs to understand that before he makes his choice for his next fight.

Billy Joe wants to be A-side against Smith

“Against Callum Smith? I think so because what they lose on the gate, they’ll gain on the pay-per-view,” said Saunders when asked if the Smith fight can take place behind closed doors.

“It’s definitely 100 million percent pay-per-view [Saunders vs. Callum]. People can groan about pay-per-view, but you can’t groan over that. I personally think Callum Smith is a very good fighter, but making that fight, 100%, I would have to be the A-side.

“I know he’s won the [WBSS] tournament, but I’m probably more known for the wrong reasons, but I’m more known, especially in America. And I know DAZN would more favor me for the fight and would be willing to give me more money than Callum Smith.

“I know that. Do I believe I can beat him and am a better fighter than Callum Smith? Yes. Does he think the same? Probably, yes. Does he think he’s the A-side? Probably, yes.

“The thing I know about Callum Smith and me is we won’t go past a sell-by date before we box each other. It’s not going to be a Kell Brook-Amir Khan going on and on. I think it’ll happen sooner rather than later.

“If anything, that’s the fight that is more likely to happen next. The big fight,” said Saunders on a unification match against Smith.

Billy Joe Saunders Callum Smith Canelo Alvarez

Saunders is right about him being better known in the United States than Callum Smith, and he has the more outgoing personability.

It would be easier for DAZN to have Saunders as the frontman in a fight against Canelo or Smith than vice versa.

Saunders will be the one creating the soundbites for his fight against Callum, who is soft-spoken and doesn’t show facial expressions when he talks. He has a flat affect with his stone-face appearance during interviews.


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