Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14KO) will finally get his long-awaited opportunity to be called the best in the world when he faces Mexican megastar Canelo Alvarez (55-1-2, 37KO) this Sunday morning.
Saunders will be pitting his WBO Super Middleweight title against Canelo's WBA and WBC belts when the pair clash in front of 70,000 fans in the AT&T stadium in Texas. It will be the biggest boxing crowd since the Covid-19 pandemic swept the world.
Canelo vs Saunders | DAZN
Saunders has been calling out Canelo for many a moon now and will want to finally show that he is indeed the best 168lb fighter in the world. The WBO Super Middleweight champion was originally calling out Canelo when he was a WBO Middleweight champion. He first became world champion way back in 2015 when he wrestled the title off of teak tough Irishman Andy Lee via a majority decision. His career since then has been relatively frustrating.
Two low key title defences against Artur Akavov and Willie Monroe Jr. followed before he went over to Canada to completely dominate former world champion David Lemieux in a performance which has widely been accepted to be the best of the unbeaten Englishman’s career. A disappointing year out of the ring due to injuries and a disputed case of a stimulant found to be in Saunders' system saw his fight with Demetrius Andrade cancelled whilst also seeing his world title run come to an end. The traveller ballooned up to Light-Heavyweight for his return bout when he stopped Charles Adamu in four rounds.
Saunders is punch perfect | Bloody Elbow
Saunders captured a vacant world title at Super Middleweight when he defeated Shefat Isufi on points in an uninspiring showing which saw him become a two-weight world champion. Another poor showing followed when he was dragged into deep waters by unheralded Argentinian Marcelo Esteban Coceres before stopping him in the 11th round. A title defence against an over the hill Martin Murray followed and then came the call for the Canelo clash.
Canelo Alvarez needs no introduction. The four-weight world champion looks unstoppable since his defeat to Floyd Mayweather back in 2013. He is a former Junior Middleweight, Middleweight and Light Heavyweight champion as well as the reigning WBC and WBA Super Middleweight champion. Canelo has been red hot recently with wins over Callum Smith, Sergey Kovalev, Avni Yildrim and Daniel Jacobs in his last four fights.
Records to date | The Sun
Canelo has become something of a bogeyman for British fighters. He holds a hugely impressive 6-0 (KO 4) against fighters on this side of the pond. The aforementioned Callum Smith, Amir Khan, Liam Smith, Matthew Hatton, Rocky Fielding and Ryan Rhodes have all fallen to the cinnamon haired crusher in his career.
Saunders will be hoping that he can fair better than those who went before him.
This is the chance the WBO king has been craving. Lack of major contests have plagued the 30-0 man's career. His biggest wins are over the likes of Lemieux and Eubank Jr, both of which are four and seven years ago respectively. These two names pale in comparison to Canelo's resume which possesses the likes Gennady Golovkin x2, Erislandy Lara and Miguel Cotto to name a few.
Another Brit on Canelo's list | Liverpool Echo
Saunders will have to step his game up to heights he has never seen before and whether he can do that will remain to be seen. The WBO champ does strike as the type to step up his game depending on the competition. Don’t forget, this is the same man who looked uninspired and overly uninterested against Willie Monroe and then in his very next fight put on a masterclass against the hard-hitting and dangerous Lemieux.
For Saunders this is a career-defining moment, forget the belts, this is about legacy and for the Englishman it’s his chance to finally gain the respect his enormous ability deserves. This is the chance he has banged the drum for since the win over Lee. He must grab the bull by the horns and put on a career-best performance to take down the man who many Brits have tried and failed against. The time is now.
ESBR's own prediction guru Greg Doyle has had his say on the mega fight and it’s worth checking out his view on how he sees it going down before Sunday morning. Doyle’s in-depth analysis of fights continues to draw interest from many in the boxing community and are always worth a watch:
Alan (@alandrewettjnr)- I fancy a Canelo win and by a wide points decision, 118-110 or around that. I do think BJS has to knock him out to win but I don’t think he simply has the power to do so. Getting a points decision away from home is a tough task, let alone when you are fighting one of the world's elite. It would be great to see BJS bring the belts home but it would go down as the biggest upset in recent history if he is to do so. Canelo UD
Doey (@xDoey) - Unfortunately, I just don't see a way Saunders comes away with a win. Following the Lemieux performance I was convinced that Saunders had the tools to test Canelo. But over 3 years later, many personal ups and downs, and some lackluster outings, I can't see a way Saunders wins. Saunders supporters may argue that Canelo has struggled with boxers in the past, Mayweather and Lara for example, but I think Canelo has an answer to everything Saunders can offer and has him comfortably outgunned in every area - Speed, strength, fitness, ring craft. Canelo KO 7-8
Eliot (@EliotStott1) - I’m actually on the side that this could be a challenging night for Canelo. Saunders is an extremely tricky customer when he wants to be and will be much more of a challenge to Canelo than Callum Smith was. I’m predicting Canelo to win on points but it won’t be as straightforward as some are suggesting. Canelo UD
Elliott (@elliottgrigg) - Whilst I would love to be wrong here, anyone who has followed the respective careers of both fighters, and who is not personally invested, either financially or emotionally in the Saunders' camp, would have to predict an Alvarez victory. The narrative that Saunders raises his performance to correspond to the skill of the opponent, is the only one seductive enough to have me believe that this fight could even be competitive. And I've been a Billy Joe Saunders fan! The task is Herculean, one of the biggest is world boxing; he'll be unlikely to edge a decision (GGG bettered Canelo in their first fight and had to swallow a draw), and I don't think he'll have the arsenal to stop the Mexican. Conversely, Canelo's power is demonstrably concussive, even at light heavyweight. Depending on whether Canelo looks for the knockout, and just how focused and switched on Saunders is, I can foresee either a Canelo stoppage or a unanimous decision points win, but I'm slightly favouring the former. Canelo KO 9-10
Paul (@paulkelly98) - I’ve always been a huge Billy Joe Saunders fan. Stylistically I like what he’s about and I really enjoy watching him when he’s on point and at his best. However, that doesn’t happen too often, whereas with Canelo he seems to just get better every fight. I think had the fight have been at 160 lbs rather than at super-middleweight, Saunders would’ve stood a much better chance, but I still believe he gives Canelo all sorts of problems this weekend. That’s right, I’m backing the Brit. I think Saunders will put on a masterclass and win a split decision in one of the biggest upsets in boxing for years. Saunders SD
Avni Yildrim - Win - RTD 3
Callum Smith - Win - UD
Sergey Kovalev - Win - KO 11
Daniel Jacobs - Win - UD
Billy Joe Saunders
Martin Murray - Win - UD
Marcelo Esteban Coceres - Win - KO 11
Shefat Isufi - Win - UD
Charles Adamu - Win - RTD 4
Date: Saturday May 8th 2021
Time: Show starts 11pm - Main event ring walks approx 4am
Venue: AT&T Stadium, Texas, USA
Elsewhere on the card Elwin Soto (18-1,12KO) defends his WBO Light Flyweight title against the Japanese veteran Katsunari Takayama (32-8, 12KO). Britain's Kieron Conway (16-1-1, 3KO) clashes with unbeaten and highly touted Frenchman Souleymane Cissokho (12-0, 8KO).
Intriguing heavyweight Frank Sanchez (17-0, 13KO) is in action against Nagy Aguilera (21-10, 14KO), Christian Duran (19-2-1, 17KO) fights Xavier Wilson (11-2-1, 1KO), Keyshawn Davis (2-0, 2KO) continues his pro journey as he meets Jose Antonio Meza (6-4, 1KO), American Marc Castro (2-0, 2KO) is in action against Irving Macias Castillo (9-1, 6KO) and finally, Kelvin Davis (1-0, 1KO) fights Jan Marsalek (8-2, 7KO).