Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders intense face off at weigh-in
By Sean Jones: Super middleweight champions Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders both made weight on Friday at their weigh-in for Saturday’s fight at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The two champions had an intense face-off after weighing in, and you could tell Canelo was ready to rip Billy Joe’s head off.
Canelo Alvarez: 167.4 lbs
Billy Joe Saunders: 167.8
Canelo looked like he was ready to step into the ring and start fighting immediately. He didn’t look drained, worn down, or depleted the way some fighters do when they’re making weight.
Saunders didn’t look nearly as good, though, as he clearly went through a lot to drain down to make the 168-lb limit.
Alvarez’s body punching will be key
“Canelo can use his jab to stabilize Saunders,” said Teddy Atlas on his Teddy Atlas Fight Game channel. “He [Saunders] doesn’t do anything at such a high level that it’s going to create a problem for Canelo.
“Canelo is going to use his jab, even if it’s to the chest. He’s going to use his jab to stabilize Saunders, keep him around,” said Atlas.
Alvarez will need to focus on throwing to the body early if he wants to stop Saunders from moving all night. Without Canelo throwing spearing jabs to the body, Saunders will run all night and pick him apart with his longer reach.
“Being that he’s going to be around you, you’re going to have a chance to go to the body,” Atlas said. “Of course, that’s one of the fortes for Canelo. He goes to the body really well.
“I think that’s going to be one of the things that turn the fight for him. He’s going to use his jab. Again, he’s not fighting someone with scintillating speed or power that can take you out with one.
“And I think Billy Joe Saunders, the only chance he’s got is to try and wind him into a frenzy and frustrate you all night. He’s a nice solid guy, and he does everything pretty good,” said Atlas said about Saunders.
It’s too late for Saunders to try and upset Canelo with mind games because the fight is tomorrow, and the Mexican star doesn’t look upset.
Sure, Billy Joe can try and showboat and taunt Canelo inside the ring, but that probably won’t work on Saturday.
Canelo picked the right guy
“To beat Canelo at this point in his career, it’s going to take someone that does things better than he does,” said Atlas. “I don’t think that’s Saunders.”
Billy Joe definitely ticks all the boxes as far as being vulnerable in these four areas:
- Defensive ability
“As I said, he’s not a big puncher,” said Atlas of Saunders. “He’s not slow, but he’s not speedy, and he’s solid technically, but he’s not a ghost. I think he’s a decent, solid guy, and I think Canelo has picked the right guy.
“And I think Canelo picked the right guy; I think he has the upper hand in all the right areas. I think he wins the fight.
“Does that mean that I think he walks through him [Saunders]? No. I didn’t say that. I didn’t say he walks right through him, but I think he wins.
“First of all, he [Saunders] has two problems. One is the opponent of straight-up Canelo, where he has to beat that talent, and I don’t know that he has the talent to beat that.
“Alright, that’s number one. Number two, he’s got to beat the judges and the system. And even if he wins by stoppage, he [Saunders] may get disqualified.
“Are they going to let the golden goose [Canelo] get beat like that? I don’t think so. Come on; he’s too important,” Atlas said.
Canelo clearly picked the right guy in selecting Saunders, but that doesn’t mean he will win. He’s still going to need to figure out how to get to Billy Joe regularly for him to win rounds and hurt him.
That’s not going to be easy for Canelo to do because Saunders will be on the run the full three minutes of each round, trying to get away from Alvarez.
Billy Joe does nothing better than Canelo
“I think Canelo is picking the right fights,” said Atlas. “In Saunders, he’s hitting the triple from a business standpoint.
“He’s [Billy Joe] got a great undefeated record, he has one of the belts [WBO], and he sells to an audience over there in London, England, and he sells over in Europe across the pond.
“I think it’s a great match-up for Canelo as far as the physical standpoint. As far as ability and style, there’s nothing that Saunders does better or as good as Canelo; that’s number one,” said Atlas.
The only area that Saunder does better than Canelo is with his movement, but that’s it. Saunders isn’t faster, stronger, better skilled, or on the same level defensively as him.
It’s debatable whether Canelo would have shown a desire to fight for the WBO 168-lb title if a dangerous fighter like David Benavidez or Jermall Charlo held the belt. Saunders is the perfect opponent for Canelo. He can punch, he has marginal speed, and he has stamina problems.
“There is not one area where you can say, ‘He does this better,'” said Atlas. “Number two, he [Saunders] doesn’t have one area where he excels or has a special ability.
“What I mean by that is there isn’t one area where he’s a great puncher, or he has great speed or one area where he’s got great elusiveness.
“He’s technically solid. The one good thing you can say about Saunders is there’s not one area where he’s really bad in.
“That’s a good compliment, but there’s not one area where he’s great in. To beat Canelo at this point, you don’t have to be great, but you have to be really good in one area,” said Atlas.
You would like to think that Canelo would still have taken this fight if Saunders could punch like Gennadiy Golovkin and had the technical skills of a Floyd Mayweather Jr. I don’t know that he would.
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