Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders in Arlington, TX or Las Vegas on May 8th

By Boxing News - 03/04/2021 - Comments

By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez’s unification fight against Billy Joe Saunders on May 8th will be taking place at either the new 65,000-seat Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas or the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

Mike Coppinger says these are the two venues being looked at for WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Canelo’s match against WBO champ Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) in two months from now.

The fight will take place in front of a live crowd, and there could be as many as 80,000 fans if it’s staged at the 80,000 seat AT&T Stadium. Canelo fought Liam Smith at AT&T Stadium in 2016 and drew a crowd of slightly over 50,000.

It’s unclear whether a crowd of that size would show up to watch Canelo (55-1-2, 37 KOs) take on the British fighter Saunders because this is not a fight that U.S boxing fans are looking forward to.

This is a fight that UK fans are excited about, but not the Americans, as they realize it’s a mismatch and they’d rather see Canelo fight opposition that has a chance of beating him.

Image: Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders in Arlington, TX or Las Vegas on May 8th

Saunders is in the same boat as Canelo’s recent opponents Avni Yildirim, Callum Smith, and Sergy Kovalev in being outgunned even before the fight has started.

Canelo is devoting the entire 2021 year in his pursuit of becoming the undisputed super middleweight champion. He’s already beaten WBC mandatory Avni Yildirim, and now he’ll take on WBO 168-lb champion Saunders on Cinco de Mayo on May 8th to win his third title in the division.

If Canelo wins that fight, he’ll face IBF champion Caleb Plant for the undisputed championship in September. All four titles at 168 will be on the line for the Canelo-Plant fight.

Plant said earlier today that he’ll sit inactive until his fight with Canelo in September. The rationale for Plant sitting and waiting is he hurt his hand in his last title defense against IBF mandatory Caleb Truax on January 30th.

Additionally, Plant says he only fights twice a year, and his match Canelo will be his second fight in 2021. It’s more likely the reason Plant isn’t fighting is he doesn’t want to risk losing out on his massive payday against Canelo.

Image: Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders in Arlington, TX or Las Vegas on May 8th

That tells you a lot about the type of fighters that Canelo is facing to become the undisputed champion at 168.

The real interesting part of this is what will Canelo do AFTER he becomes the undisputed champion. Will he vacate some or all of his 168-lb titles or will he hold onto them and make defenses? #1 WBC David Benavidez is already predicting that Canelo will vacate his WBC title after he unifies the division so that he doesn’t have to fight him? It’s a safe bet that’s precisely what Canelo will do.

If Canelo wanted to impress fans, he would delay his superficial goal of becoming the undisputed champion at 168 and devote September to face either Errol Spence Jr or Gennady Golovkin.

Those are fights that boxing would much prefer than seeing Canelo fight Plant, who can’t punch, and has looked mediocre as a champion.

Canelo could also impress the fans by taking on Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, Artur Beterbiev, or Dimitry Bivol. DAZN would likely be very happy if Canelo put his quest of becoming the undisputed 168lb champion on hold so that he can take on fighters that will actually bring in subscribers.

If you’re one of the top DAZN brass you’d much prefer to see Canelo taking on GGG, Charlo, Beterbiev, or Bivol in September and December than for him be wasting time facing a paper champion like Plant.

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What DAZN needs is to show fighters that are responsive to what the boxing public wants to see. I don’t think Canelo is doing that, and he hasn’t been since his close call against GGG in 2018.

Something about that fight has changed Canelo with the way he picks his opponents. He stopped taking on the best after that, and he’s arguably been cherry-picking ever since.

“Sources: Canelo Alvarez-Billy Joe Saunders on May 8 will land at either AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas (home of Dallas Cowboys) or Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas (home of Raiders). With Texas removing all COVID restrictions could lead to a capacity crowd (over 80,000 seats),” said @MikeCoppinger.