Saunders: “I wasted months” on Canelo Alvarez
By Kenneth Friedman: Billy Joe Saunders is upset about all the time that he “wasted” in trying to get a fight against Canelo Alvarez this year, and he has nothing to show for all that wasted energy.
The fight against Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs), which came close to taking place last May, was erased by the pandemic. Saunders has wanted the fight with Canelo for years, and he was incredibly close to getting it.
Unfortunately, fate wasn’t on Saunders’ side, as he lost out on the match, and it’s unclear whether he’ll get another chance to face the Mexican star in 2021.
When Saunders attempted to reschedule the fight with Alvarez for September, there wasn’t enough time for him to get in shape. Saunders would still like to fight Canelo in 2020 if it were possible, but it’s not looking good.
Canelo is suing DAZN, Golden Boy Promotions, and Oscar De La Hoya. It’s entirely possible that Alvarez, 30, won’t fight until May 2021.
WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe (29-0, 14 KOs) was hoping to face Callum Smith in a unification match, but he says he was told by his trainer Joe Gallagher that the money isn’t there for the fight.
Without fans to attend the Saunders-Smith fight, it wouldn’t make sense for them to fight in 2020 during the pandemic.
If they kick the fight down the road after a vaccine is produced and crowds are allowed back in, it’s a match that will likely bring in good numbers in terms of pay-per-view buys on Sky Box Office and the live gate.
Saunders talks of wasted time
“I’ve got no input. I have no say,” said Saunders to IFL TV about Canelo’s lawsuit. “I’ll wait around for him. We had planned to fight and promised the fight several times, and it never happened. I think he’s brushed underneath the carpet. If it happens, it happens.
Callum Smith and myself have been waiting for that sort of fight because it’s a big, big fight to stardom. Forget about the money. If you win, you become the face of boxing. So we were waiting around for that, so obviously it didn’t happen. So I’ve got no comment on that. I’ve wasted months and months of Time,” Billy Joe said about Canelo.
“Time has just flown by, so I need to get a date now, or I need to be told, ‘You’re not going to be boxing. Go home, chill out, I’ll see you next year.’ It’s getting to the stage where we need a date and an opponent.
“If they can’t find a date and an opponent, then let’s just stick to my contract and call the mandatory. You know, I’m not quite sure, but I think it is,” said Saunders when asked if Zach Parker is his mandatory. I’m sure it’s Zach Parker.
“I’m not quite sure because it was some sort of s*** when they boxed last. I remember when he boxed out of Australia. So I’m sure it is,” said Billy Joe.
Saunders is going a little overboard in saying that he would be the “face of boxing” if he were to beat Canelo. That’s unrealistic.
If Saunders were to beat Canelo, his popularity would rise, and he would receive a lot of press, endorsements, and likely a chance for a rematch. But as far as becoming the “face of boxing” after beating Canelo, it won’t happen.
Saunders doesn’t possess the type of fighting style that he would need to for him to take Canelo’s place at the top of the sport.
Billy Joe: Hearn doesn’t pick up the phone
“You text [Eddie] Hearn, and you ring him, and he don’t pick up, and he don’t get back to you,” said Saunders. “So, therefore, I’ll just leave it to MTK and let them deal with it. It’s one of them.
“I’m a man’s man. I don’t need to be wrapped around certain people and be friendly. It’s all business, and I know that. Let’s get my business on the road, get a fight, and let’s crack on.
“Let’s do business together, and let’s get a fight. At the moment, I’m still waiting. This week, things may change. It needs to change anyway,” said Billy Joe.
“I put all the stress in MTK’s hands,” said Saunders. “I gave a certain ate for a fight to be made. Nothing is made at the minute. I’m just waiting at the moment. Hopefully, I get fight news by Monday, 100%.
“I need a date to get out. I can’t stick the f*** messing around. I’m not waiting for no one, and I’m a world champion. And I’m not waiting for no one whatsoever.
“If I don’t get a date soon, I have to think, ‘is the WBO going to call my mandatory if I haven’t gotten an opponent soon?’
“I would like the WBO to get the mandatory out of the way because, at the minute, nobody seems to want to fight,” said Saunders.
Billy Joe’s comment about Hearn, not picking up the phone or getting back to him, is highly enlightening. You have to if this is something that Hearn would do if he were contacted by Anthony Joshua, Matchroom’s #1 fighter.
If it’s just the fighters that Hearn doesn’t value highly that he chooses not to reply to, then at least Saunders knows where he’s at in the pecking order.
There isn’t much time for MTK Global and Hearn to find Saunders an opponent for his next fight. If Billy Joe wants to fight this year, he may be stuck defending against his WBO mandatory Zach Parker or one of the lower-ranked contenders.
Billy Joe wants to fight his WBO mandatory
“So if I don’t fight this year, then I’ll fight in February or March, which isn’t ideal,” Saunders said. “I’d be out for a year, so I can really do it getting out this year.
“I need to know very, very soon, or I reckon the WBO should just call my mandatory to get it on. Callum Smith’s trainer Joe Gallagher said there’s not enough money in it.
“Canelo has got this lawsuit going on. Andrade is just bumming around taking warm-ups, boxing nobodies. At the minute, who’s out there who wants it?
“Let’s put it this way. I’ve got a contract with his name, and I’m very, very game to get the fight this year. I’m in camp. I don’t want to keep being in camp all the time and not fighting the best.
“I want to fight the best. He’s one of the best, so I think we should get it on. He doesn’t want to back down from anybody, but he obviously has his own figures in his head.
“I’ve got mine. I just don’t know if the numbers can add up. I don’t know,” said Saunders.
Unbeaten Zach Parker (19-0, 13 KOs) would be a good opponent for Saunders, and he’s someone that gives him a good fight. For Saunders to take on the 26-year-old Parker, he would need to be in top-notch shape because he’s a real super middleweight.
Saunders hasn’t impressed since he moved up to 168 in 2019, and it’s evident that he doesn’t belong in this weight class. Shefat Isufi staggered Billy last year in May 2019 in his first fight at 169, and Marcelo Esteban Coceres was beating him through ten rounds last November.
Saunders rallied in the 11th to knock out the little known Coceres, but the damage was done. He’d exposed that Saunders doesn’t belong at 168, as he’s too weak for the division and lacks the natural size the super middleweights possess.
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- Leonard Ellerbe questions Canelo Alvarez’s level of opposition, wants him to fight Benavidez, Charlo & Plant