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Billy Joe Saunders calls out Canelo Alvarez after his win over Callum Smith

Canelo Alvarez, Billy Joe Saunders, Callum Smith, Eddie Hearn boxing photo

By Charles Brun: Billy Joe Saunders was quick to congratulate and call out Canelo Alvarez last Saturday night following his victory over WBA super middleweight champion Callum Smith in San Antonio, Texas.

WBO 168-lb champion Saunders (30-0 14 KOs) wants to set-up a unification fight with new WBA/WBC champ Canelo (54-1-2, 36 KOs), and promoter Eddie Hearn says he can make that match quickly.

Saunders can’t punch, and would likely be an even easier fight for Alvarez than the injured Callum was last Saturday night. Canelo wants Saunder’s WBO title, as it’s one of the two remaining titles that he needs to unify the division.

With Saunders’ spoiling type of fighting style, a fight between him and Canelo would be virtually unwatchable, but it’ll take place because of Billy Joe’s WBO title.

Canelo says he wants to fight in February, May, and September. The options for Canelo’s February fight are down to these three:

  • Billy Joe Saunders
  • Gennadiy Golovkin
  • Avni Yildirim

Canelo Alvarez, Billy Joe Saunders, Callum Smith, Eddie Hearn boxing photo

The reason Yildirim is in the mix is that the World Boxing Council let Canelo fight for their vacant 168lb title against Callum. They want Canelo to now defend against Yildirim in his first fight, but the Mexican star may choose to face Saunders.

Hearn can quickly make Canelo – Saunders

“Tonight,” said Hearn when asked during the post-fight news conference last Saturday how quickly he can put a fight together between Canelo and Billy Joe Saunders. “The big problem is when you talk about the revenue for any show with a lack of gate.

“Tonight, we were blessed to have 12,000 people here. It was so nice. I felt like it was my first ever show I went to as a kid.

“We already had a deal in place for Billy Joe to fight Canelo Alvarez in May, and he Tweeted tonight that he wants a shot. Canelo walked past me and said, ‘Who’s next?’

“We’ve [Matchroom Boxing] have tried [to beat Canelo] with Rocky Fielding, Daniel Jacobs, and now Callum Smith. We’ve got two more with Billy Joe Saunders and Gennadiy Golovkin.

“Obviously, they’re great fights. He [Canelo] loves the belts, he loves to face the champions. In fact,t that’s what he wants to do. He wants to keep setting goals with the belts,” said Hearn.

Canelo Alvarez, Billy Joe Saunders, Callum Smith, Eddie Hearn boxing photo

It may be a problem for Hearn to set-up a fight between Canelo and Billy Joe Saunders with a live crowd unless he brings it back to Texas.

Large crowds of 10,000+ aren’t expected to be allowed back into UK shows by February, which is when Canelo wants to fight next. At this point in Canelo’s career, he can fight anybody and he’ll draw great numbers on DAZN, and he can sell tickets for his Texas shows.

It doesn’t matter that Saunders has no fan base in the U.S. The fans just want to see Canelo, and they don’t care if he’s facing an unknown.

Yildirim is a possible option for Canelo in February

“I know they [Canelo] wants to fight regularly,” Hearn continued. “There was talk of him fighting in Mexico at the end of February, and getting the [Avni] Yildirim fight out of the way.

“Then boxing in May and September. He said December but he’s obviously quite comfortable at the moment with the adrenalin rush.

“Tomorrow, he [Canelo] might wake up and say, ‘I ain’t fighting in February.’ So now my job is to keep him on DAZN, and try and map out a schedule for him.

Canelo Alvarez, Billy Joe Saunders, Callum Smith, Eddie Hearn boxing photo

“Obviously, the front two guys of his choice, I believe are Billy Joe and GGG. I know he wants to make money, but I can only tell you what I’ve experienced from him and Eddy Reynoso in the last five or six weeks, which is a desire to create a legacy and create challenges.

“They want a plan, they want something mapped out, and they want to see it and picture what the next moves are.

“The next move sometimes isn’t just one fight. He’s saying to me, ‘How does 2021 look like?’

“If they wanted a plan for that, we could come up with a plan and move forward with that,” said Hearn about Team Canelo.

Yildirim would be a good option for Canelo to face in February because it’s a fight that wouldn’t require a lot of training and the promotion wouldn’t be needed.


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