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Oscar Valdez warns Saunders, Canelo is ‘hard to hit’

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez Oscar Valdez

By Jeff Aronow: Super featherweight champion Oscar Valdez is letting Billy Joe Saunders know that Canelo Alvarez will be hard for him to hit tonight when they meet at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Valdez and Canelo are both trained by Eddy Reynoso, and they’ve sparred before.

The two-time Olympian Valdez says it was hard for him to land his shots on Canelo during their sparring due to his head movement. Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) will need to be able to connect with his shots for him to win a decision.

Saunders doesn’t hit hard enough to score a knockout over WBA/WBC/Ring Magazine super middleweight champion Canelo (55-1-2, 37 KOs) tonight.

If Saunders had crushing power for the 168-lb weight class like Edgar Berlanga, for example, he could get away with landing only 10% of his shots against Canelo.

“For Canelo, it’s to be the same fighter he is,” said Oscar Valdez to Fighthype when asked what the keys are for victory tonight. “He’s a defensive fighter, but he doesn’t have to throw 30 punches or 50 or 60 [to win].

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez Oscar Valdez

“If he throws 15 good shots, as long as he lands one, I think that’ll get him the respect for Saunders,” Valdez continued about Canelo.

“For Saunders, I think his best shot is to out-box him, to move. But it’s going to be very hard to outbox someone you can’t hit in Canelo.

“He’s got great head movement, and it’s really hard to hit him. I tried it myself. I sparred him and I was throwing some great shots, and he was pretty hard to hit.

“He was throwing a couple of shots, but obviously, he doesn’t throw hard. He’s too big of a fighter,” said Valdez.

Billy Joe is in a bind here because he’s not going to win the fight just throwing jabs, which is the safest shots he can throw. He can get away with hitting Canelo with jabs without the threat of being countered.

Unfortunately, the judges aren’t going to give Saunders many rounds if all he’s doing is throwing jabs, and running around the ring.

For that reason, Saunders will need to put his chin on the line by throwing power shots.

Doing that is going to put Saunders at risk of getting nailed by one of Canelo’s hard body or headshots.

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez Oscar Valdez

“It’s a lot of nonsense, it’s not going to make a bit of difference,” said Valdez about Saunders making a big deal about wanting a bigger ring.

“It’s a little bit of difference in size, but I think Saunders was trying to get into his head. I don’t think it’s going to work. Canelo is a very determined fighter.

“I was talking to him, and I asked him, ‘Does that bother you?’ And he smiled and said, ‘No,'” said Valdez about his conversation with Alvarez.

What Saunders did this week with making a lot of noise about the ring size was a PR move, but not one that will affect the fight.

Canelo was more amused than anything about the big deal that fans and the media made about it. He knows that the ring size, no matter how big, won’t change the outcome of the fight. For Saunders to win, he’ll need to come forward to throw punches, and when he does that, he’ll be open to counters.

That’s why it’s silly for Saunders to have pushed for a larger ring because Canelo won’t chase him. After all, that’s not what he does.

Canelo is a counter puncher, so he’ll wait for Saunders to come forward to land his shots,  and when he does that, he’ll be just as vulnerable as he would if they fought in an 18-foot ring.

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