Eddie Hearn negotiating 2-fight deal for Canelo against Yildirim in Feb. and Saunders in May

By Dan Ambrose: Eddie Hearn is working with Canelo Alvarez’s trainer/manager Eddy Reynoso on a 2-fight deal to match the Mexican star against his WBC 168lb mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim for February 27th, and WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders for May 2021.  In other words, Canelo will get two gimmes in his new two-fight deal with DAZN.

Hearn revealed the news of his negotiating with Reynoso to the AK & Barak Show @SiriusXMBoxing.

Until today, it wasn’t clear who WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Canelo (54-1-2, 36 KOs) would be facing next May on Cinco de Mayo, because Hearn had previously stated that Gennadiy ‘GGG’ Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) was an option for the former Golden Boy promoted star as well as Billy Joe.

Now that Hearn has let the cat out of the bag in saying that Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) is the second name for Canelo in his two-fight deal with DAZN, it takes away the suspense and lets the boxing fans know what they’re getting if they choose to subscribe to the streaming giant to specifically see Alvarez fight against superb fighters.

Fans were hoping that at least one of the two fighters on Canelo’s new two-fight deal with DAZN would be Golovkin.

Canelo to get two easy fights in new deal

For DAZN, it’s surprising that they would agree to let Canelo have two easy fights back to back, given the first match of the new 2-fight deal against Yildirim is a total gimme. It’s not just an easy fight on paper, it’s one that won’t attract a lot of new subscribers.

Image: Eddie Hearn negotiating 2-fight deal for Canelo against Yildirim in Feb. and Saunders in May

Ideally, DAZN should use the Yildirim fight as leverage to pressure Canelo to face Golovkin as part of the second fight of the deal, considering how poor the first fight will be. If you’re the negotiator with DAZN, that would be the logical approach that you would take in negotiating with Alvarez.

Some boxing fans that are in favor of Canelo fighting Yildirim and Saunders in his two-fight deal would point out that Billy Joe is the WBO super middleweight champion. It’s true, Saunders is a world champion at 168, but he’s what you call a “belt-holder” and some would say he’s a “Paper champion,” which is also a fitting description of what he represents.

Billy Joe brings nothing to the table

Canelo’s enablers view Billy Joe Saunders as a talented fighter, and they have no problems that he’s never fought any of the talented fighters at 160 and 168.

But more importantly, Saunders isn’t well-known to U.S boxing fans of the casual variety, and he is not held in high esteem. In other words, Saunders is a spoiler type of fighter, who has arguably skated his way through his 11-year professional career without really fighting anyone.

Although Saunders has captured two-division world titles, he’s done it without fighting anyone talented. It’s fair to say that Saunders has been matched in a calculated way to enable him to win two world titles.

Saunders’ opposition during his career has been woeful, to say the least, and it’s troubling that he’s been so poorly matched. It’s very likely that if Saunders had been matched tough his entire career, he’d have been beaten many times by now.

Unfortunately, Saunders is a prime example of how careful match-making by skillful promoters can create a champion out of a fighter with limited talent.

Saunders’ world title wins:

  • Shefat Isufi – WBO 168
  • Andy Lee – WBO 160

Yildirim lost his last fight to 36-year-old Anthony Dirrell, hasn’t fought in two years, and has pretty much failed his way into a fight with Canelo. In 2017, Yildirim was knocked out three rounds by Chris Eubank Jr.

DAZN should insist Alvarez face one quality fighter

The streaming giant DAZN should at least be getting one good fight out of the new 2-fight deal with Alvarez because both of the opponents that Hearn is negotiating with Reynoso will not do much for the company.

Image: Eddie Hearn negotiating 2-fight deal for Canelo against Yildirim in Feb. and Saunders in May

If Canelo absolutely is going to insist on the mismatch with Yildirim for February, DAZN should make it essential that his second fight comes against one of these fighters:

  • David Benavidez
  • Gennadiy Golovkin
  • Jermall Charlo
  • Edgar Berlanga
  • Bektemir Melikuziev
  • Dimitry Bivol
  • Demetrius Andrade
  • Jermell Charlo

My guess is if DAZN insisted that they get value for the second fight of their two-fight deal with Canelo, it would be a deal-breaker.

Canelo would likely walk away from the deal, not wanting to sign because he wouldn’t want to fight any of these dangerous opponents.

If you’re DAZN, you negotiate a deal that works for your company because you’re the ones that will be stuck with a lower number of subscribers if Canelo is able to fight two gimmes back to back in his new 2-fight deal.