Abel Sanchez says Canelo beats Saunders “easy”
By Dan Ambrose: Trainer Abel Sanchez sees an “easy” victory for Canelo Alvarez over WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday night on DAZN.
Sanchez, who used to train Gennadiy Golovkin, says Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) lacks the power to keep the faster and more powerful Canelo (55-1-2, 37 KOs) off him.
Abel believes that Saunders’ inactivity will hurt him in this fight, as he’s fought just four times in the last four years. Additionally, Saunders’ opponents have been carefully picked, and he’s just taken no risks.
Sanchez says Canelo wins easy
“First of all, Billy Joe Saunders had some problems in his previous fight,” said Abel Sanchez to Fighthub. “You’re talking about a Billy Joe Saunders who has had some inactivity.
“He’s got a lot of rust, and he’s fighting the best fighter in the world right now pound-for-pound. I think the first four or five rounds will be tactical, will be difficult because Billy Joe has a lot of skills, but as the fight goes on, Canelo takes over the fight and makes it an easy fight for him,” said Sanchez.
It sounds like Sanchez hasn’t stayed up on Billy Joe’s career, as his last fight was in December against 38-year-old Martin Murray, who he beat quite easily.
Saunders didn’t look bad against Murray because he was facing an older fighter who was past his prime.
With that said, Saunders did terrible in his previous fight before that against Marcelo Esteban Coceres in November 2019, and he was forced to rally to win that fight by an 11th round knockout.
Ring-rust isn’t an issue with Saunders at all. A problem is the lack of quality opposition on his resume, as the only two good fighters he’s faced are Andy Lee and Chris Eubank Jr.
Neither of those fighters had Canelo’s ability, and Saunders struggled against them.
“If it’s a TKO, it’s late in the fight, and if it’s a decision, I’d say Canelo by 117-113 or 116-112. I don’t think it’s going to be a factor of him [Saunders] being tired,” said Sanchez.
Canelo will figure out Saunders and take advantage of the openings he sees to take it to him. It’s crazy to predict a knockout for Canelo because Saunders will go into the survival mode in the second half and play keep-away to go the full 12.
Alvarez will figure out Billy Joe
“As you’ve seen Canelo progress, you’ve seen Canelo take people apart because of his ring IQ, because of his ability to figure out what you’re doing and capitalize on it.
“You’re talking about a guy with very good hand speed, very smart, and good head movement with good defense. He’s [Canelo] quick with his punches, and he doesn’t take them back all the way.
“He punches real short-arm punches from close where they hurt you, except the Khan right hand that came from New York,” said Sanchez.
Canelo will counter Saunders when he opens up with his offense, and that’s why it’s sill that he made a big deal about wanting a 22-foot ring. Alvarez will counter Billy Joe no matter what size ring the fight is staged in.
“But against [Sergey] Kovalev, his punches were short, and his punches were crisp,” Sanchez continued.
“I think once he figures out what Billy Joe is doing and gets his speed down, I think he’ll land whatever he wants to land, and he’ll have some fun,” said Sanchez of Canelo.
Saunders is living off his accomplishments from 1,500 yesterdays ago, and he’s been coasting ever since big one big win over David Lemieux in 2017.
Instead of briefly enjoying the win over Lemieux and moving on to bigger and better things, Saunders has been reliving the memories of that fight.
That was a non-win, a Lemieux already been exposed several times before that in losses. Saunders picked a flawed fighter and then made a big deal out of it when he beat him.
Billy Joe is living on his laurels
“I would say to you go back and see Billy Joe’s last fight,” said Sanchez. “Did he fight a right-hander or a left-hander?
“So, he fought a right-hander [Martin Murray], so he has issues with right-handers too then, huh?
“So you could be devil’s advocate and have an opinion about that, but you’re talking about the best fighter in the world right now.
“This is a guy whose credentials are above everybody else’s. You’re talking about a guy who has had a string of very good destructive knockouts, and you’re talking about another guy [Saunders] that had a hell of a time in his last fight,” said Abel.
Canelo has a far better ring record than Saunders, and it’s impossible to ignore that. Saunders has been brought along slowly and carefully, which has kept him doing big things.
He never fought Jermall Charlo, Demetrius Andrade, or Golovkin. Billy Joe could have fought all of them, but he didn’t
“His inactivity will be his downfall,” said Sanchez. “Yeah, he’s been in the gym, but it’s not the gym. It’s the actual fights that are going to keep you sharp.
“When Mike Tyson was at his best, he was fighting every five weeks. So Canelo has been consistent; Canelo has fought the bigger guys, guys that have been champions.
“Canelo’s resume is the best right now, and I think Billy Joe is still living on the laurels of three or four years ago,” said Sanchez.
Inactivity isn’t Saunder’s problem, considering he fought last December.
His problem is he’s fought weak opposition in record-padding fights. Now he’s taking a massive step up in class against Canelo, and he’s not ready.
Saunders will likely survive the distance
“I think Billy is slick enough to try and avoid and try and box him, and keep him off him,” said Sanchez when asked if Canelo can knock out Saunders.
“But Billy Joe doesn’t have the punching power to keep Canelo off, and if he doesn’t have the punching power to keep Canelo off, Canelo is going to be able to potshot him.
“If he does knock him out, it’s going to be a TKO late in the fight where maybe the referee or the corner stops it. But I can see it going to decision and Billy Joe wearing out in the end.
“This fight is easy to pick because you’re talking about one of the best fighters in the world, if not the best fighter in the world,” said Sanchez about Canelo.
“I think he and Terence [Crawford] are up at the top there. Spence is close, and Tyson [Fury] is close.
“Canelo’s resume in his last three or fights tells me he’s one of the best ones, and the other guy [Billy Joe] has not. That’s why it’s an easy fight to pick,” said Sanchez.
With Saunders’ movement, it’s going to be near impossible for Canelo to knock him out unless he catches him with something big. Canelo isn’t a tremendous one-punch type of fighter, though.
Sanchez gives Canelo a chance against Beterbiev
“Canelo has already fought at 175, but that’s kind of crazy talk because that guy is a beast,” said Sanchez when told that Canelo’s trainer Eddy Reynoso wants him to go up to 175 to challenge champion Artur Beterbiev in 2022 if he unifies the 168-lb division this year.
“Again, his [Beterbiev] inactivity could be his downfall. Canelo would be moving up. When you have these guys moving up from 154 and 160, he’s got faster hands, better feet; he’s got better head movement.
“He’s got all of that, and he’s not going to sit there for Beterbiev to hit him. So Beterbiev is going to be a little bit slower.
“Yes, he can punch, yes, he’s strong, but if he’s a tick behind Canelo, he’s going to be getting hit,” said Sanchez about Canelo potentially taking on IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Beterbiev.
“But it is a difficult fight, though. That is probably the most difficult fight physically. The most difficult fight technically would be [Dimitry] Bivol at that weight ,” said Sanchez.
We don’t know if Canelo’s trainer Eddy Reynoso is serious about wanting to have him move up to 175 to challenge Artur Beterbiev for his titles in 2022. It could be that Reynoso is just talking to get boxing fans to pay attention to him.
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