By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn still believes that Canelo Alvarez will face Callum Smith or Billy Joe Saunders if he returns to the ring this year. Hearn says he doesn’t see Canelo, 30, facing Avni Yildirim next for the vacant WBC 168-lb title.
Hearn is leaning in the direction of WBA super-middleweight champion Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) aa being the one that gets the fight with Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) if he clears up his litigation with DAZN, Golden Boy Promotions, and Oscar De La Hoya in time for him to fight this year.
Ideally, Hearn would likely prefer that Canelo fight both Smith, 29, and WBO super middleweight champion (Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) in consecutive fights, but that ha very little chance of happening. But given how Canelo has picked out safe fights recently, you can’t entirely rule that scenario out.
Hearn predicts Canelo faces Smith next
“Callum Smith may end up fighting Canelo. If Canelo ends up boxing this year, he’s going to box Callum Smith or Billy Joe Saunders, and if we don’t hear soon, he’s not going to be fighting Billy Joe Saunders,” said Eddie Hearn on social media.
Hearn sounds hopeful that Canelo will eventually pick Smith or Saunders to fight, but he may be disappointed. It’s not just Canelo making the pick. DAZN has some say so as well about Canelo’s next fight, and they’re probably not going to want to see him fight guys that won’t bring in subscribers.
You hate to compare Callum and Saunders with fellow countryman Rocky Fielding, but the amount of interest from casual boxing fans in the states in Canelo acing one of those to amounts to the same.
In other words, DAZN could wind up regretting if they let Canelo face Smith or Saunders.
U.S boxing fans want to see Canelo fight one of these fighters next:
- Jermall Charlo
- Gennadiy Golovkin
- David Benavidez
- Demetrius Andrade
- Jermell Charlo
- Dmitry Bivol
- Artur Beterbiev
Callum Smith and Saunders are at rock bottom of the wish-list for U.S fans for who they want to see Canelo fight next. The reason for that is how poor Callum and Saunders looked in their last fights in November, and the largely pedestrian level opposition they’ve faced in their respective careers.
U.S fans are more familiar with the fighters from the above list than they are Saunders and Smith.
By Canelo facing Callum Smith and Saunders back to back, he could justify those picks by having his management argue that he’s facing world champions.
Callum faces Alvarez or Saunders next
“So I believe Callum Smith will get that Canelo fight. If not, then I don’t believe Canelo will fight [Avni] Yildirim.
“I believe the WBC should order Callum Smith to fight Yildirim for the WBC and WBA. That was effectively ordered a while ago,” said Hearn.
Eddie could be wrong on both accounts about Callum getting the fight with Alvarez or a bout against Yildirim. Smith has the following guys in front of him in the World Boxing Council’s top 15 rankings:
- David Benavidez
- Avni Yildirim
- David Lemieux
- Anthony Dirrell
Hearn is obviously hoping that the WBC will step in and let Callum leapfrog ahead of the top contenders in their rankings at 168 to fight for the vacant title, but they may not do that, and why should they?
Callum has already got a title with his WBA strap, and he’s not in the WBC’s rankings. So why should he be given preference over all the fighters that have been working hard all this time waiting for a title shot at the WBC star?
“‘Are you confident of doing [Callum] Smith-Saunders in 2021?’ Very confident. I just need a crowd or at least a strong pay-per-view date away from everything else,” said Hearn.
- Saunders Vs. Murray Lands On December 4 in London
- Hearn talks, Canelo, DAZN, Golovkin & Fury vs. Joshua
- Billy Joe Saunders faces Martin Murray on Dec.4 on DAZN & Sky
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