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‘There’s a style that beats Canelo’ – says Mark Tibbs, talks Saunders & Alvarez – Plant

Billy Joe Saunders Caleb Plant Callum Smith Canelo Alvarez

By Charles Brun: Billy Joe Saunders’ trainer Mark Tibbs believes he knows the style that can beat Canelo Alvarez, and we’ve already seen it on display in his past fights.

Tibbs points out that it doesn’t require power to beat Canelo (56-1-2, 38 KOs), which we saw with his controversial wins over Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout and his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr.

Tibbs says to beat Canelo, a fighter must be tricky, slick, and have good feet. Saunders had those qualities, but he didn’t have the gas tank.

Additionally, Billy Joe was foolishly leaning forward, begging Canelo to hit him with uppercuts, which he eventually broke his left eye socket in the eighth round in their fight on May 8th.

Tibbs not sure if Billy Joe Saunders will continue

“He’s another human being. I don’t want to bring him down,” said Billy Joe Saunder’s coach Mark Tibbs to Pro Boxing Fans in talking about Canelo Alvarez.

Billy Joe Saunders Caleb Plant Callum Smith Canelo Alvarez

“He’s a persistent, consistent professional fighter. He’s been a professional sine he was 17-years-old.

“So he’s worked at his craft and you can tell the way he walks around and lives that he’s worked at his craft and himself in the years that he’s got. So he’s not wasted time in his window as a professional boxer. That’s what makes him great.

“No, we haven’t spoke,” Tibbs said when asked if he’s talked to Billy Joe Saunders about his future. “I think Billy Joe could return to boxing for sure.

“Why not? He’s a former world champion, a double world champion, and on that basis, he’d get promoted, of course.

“But I’m not sure if the ambition would be there, the money would be there.

“So what I’m saying is I’m not sure if the ambition would be there and the money would be there.

“Do you know what I’m saying? Does that make sense? So I don’t really know. It’s up to Billy. He said himself, he’s got to wait and see,” Tibbs said.

Tibbs says about the money and the ambition possibly not being there for Saunders, 31, is true.

With Saunders no a world champion after his loss to Canelo, he will not get millions for his next fight.

It’s questionable whether Saunders will make that kind of loot ever again, particularly if he chooses to pick the low-hanging fruit he largely fought during his career.

Saunders won’t make the millions he got in the Canelo fight if he chooses to cherry-pick opposition like he’s done consistently during his 12-year pro career.

Look at Saunder’s last 10 fights if you want an example of the cherry-picking that he’s been doing.

  • Martin Murray
  • Willie Monroe Jr
  • Artur Akavov
  • Shefat Isufi
  • David Lemieux
  • Charles Adamu
  • Marcelo Esteban Coceres
  • Yoanne Bloyer
  • Andy Lee

It’s great that Saunders won two world titles at 160 and 168, but the reality is, he fought mediocre opposition during his career, including for his world title victories.

Saunders won his belts against Andy Lee and Shefat Isufi. Lee was a decent fighter, but he couldn’t even beat Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. That puts things in perspective about Lee.

It’s still unclear why the World Boxing Organization sanctioned a fight between Saunders and the little-known Shefat Isufi for their vacant WBO 168-lb title in 2019.

That was a pure gimme fight for Saunders. Heck, the WBO might as well have just given Bully Joe their 168-lb title back then because it was bizarre that they would give Isufi a high ranking and sanction a fight between Saunders and him.

If you look at the WBO’s rankings today for the 168-lb division, Isufi is nowhere to be found, despite having won his last three fights against obscure opposition since his defeat against Saunders.

The question is, why was Isufi ranked at the top of the WBO’s rankings in 2019?

You can argue that if Saunders had to fight a quality contender like Carlos Gongora or David Benavidez, he’d have never won the vacant WBO 168-lb title.

The style to beat Canelo

“He’s got to be a really slick, tricky operator with good feet, and a little bit of power. You don’t necessarily need to have power. You just have to have that mindset to hang in there and be confident of your work,” Tibbs said about Caleb Plant in talking about whether he can beat Canelo.

“[Erislady] Lara, look at the way he worked Canelo. He was consistent in everything, in his pivoting in his moving and his work to make him fall short.

“There is a style that beats Canelo, and Billy Joe is all that style. He just got caught with that right uppercut and it changed the fight. It damaged his eye socket,” said Tibbs.

We’ve already seen the style that beats Canelo in his fights against Erislandy Lara and Floyd Mayweather Jr. To a certain extent. You can include Gennadiy Golovkin on that list.

The way to beat Canelo is to box him, stay outside, and not stand in one place. Saunders would have had a chance of beating Canelo if he didn’t gas out after six rounds in their fight on May 8th.

Also, Saunders’ amateur style of fighting, in which he would lean forward with both hands hanging down in front of him uselessly, was something that was always going to get him in trouble against Canelo.

It would be interesting to know if Tibbs attempted to coach that bad habit out of Saunders.

Any good coach worth their salt would have noticed right away Saunders’ bad habit of leaning forward with his hands down.

If Saunders hadn’t fought like that, he still would have had a shot at beating Canelo.

Hearn says Callum Smith ready for first fight at 175

“Callum Smith, yes, you’re right. I just talked to his team this morning and we’re looking at opponents for his first fight at 175 pounds, which I feel is the obvious move for him now,” said Eddi Hearn to Boxing Social.

Billy Joe Saunders Caleb Plant Callum Smith Canelo Alvarez

“It’s hard for him because you kind of outstay your welcome a little bit in a weight division because you have to because you’ve got a belt.

“That’s your value if you like and if you move up. It’s kind of like Demetrius Andrade. He’s getting to a stage where 168 is calling, but he’s a belt holder at 160.

“So when it’s difficult to get Demetrius Andrade a fight anyway, to lose that world championship belt would be even more difficult.

“So I think Callum won that Ring Magazine Championship, he defended it twice and he had to. Thankfully, he got the big fight.

“It didn’t work out with Canelo, but now he’s moving up to 175 in his quest to become a two-weight world champion,” said Hearn.

It could prove to be difficult if not impossible for former WBA 168-lb champion Callum Smith (27-1, 19 KOs) to win a world title or have any real success at 175.

The light heavyweight division has too many solid fighters for a fighter like Callum, 31, to have much of a chance for success.

It depends on what Callum’s goals are for what he wants in moving up in weight to 175. Callum has already made millions from his losing fight with Canelo last December in which he was beaten by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision.

With the money Callum made against Alvarez, he can likely retire and not have to work any longer. But if Smith, 6’3″, is serious about wanting to win a world title at 175, he’s going to have to make a lot of changes in his game for that to happen.

We’ve seen in Smith’s last two fights against Canelo and John Ryder that he has a bad habit of backing up against the ropes and shelling up. He lets his opponents unload on him while he covers up against the ropes.

That style is not going to work in the professional ranks, and it’s unclear where he learned that from.

Perhaps Smith has sparred with too many low-level sparring partners that tended to back up against the ropes and let him pound on them.

If Smith fights like that at 175, he’ll be food for the top fighters like Artur Beterbiev, Dimitry Bivol, Joshua Buatsi.

Gilberto Ramirez and Joe Smith. Pretty much any top 15 contenders at 175 will have a field day against Callum with the way he shells up against the ropes like a sparring partner.

If Eddie Hearn wants to do Callum Smith a favor, he’ll have a long talk with him about changing his fighting style, and maybe getting a new trainer.

Any trainer that lets Callum fight with his back against the ropes like we saw in his fights with Canelo and Ryder, needs to be replaced. But even with a proper trainer, Smith doesn’t have what it takes to compete against the sharks in the 175-lb division in this writer’s estimation.

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