Terms are close to being signed for the super middleweight world title unification fight
What is the fight?
Billy Joe Saunders vs Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez, super middleweight world title unification bout.
When and where could it take place?
Either Nevada or Texas in early May – either May 1 or May 8.
What is the latest news?
By Gareth A Davies
Billy Joe Saunders and his management team are close to agreeing final terms for a fight with Canelo in a few months. It is a rescheduled bout after the blockbuster fell apart twice last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Saunders, the WBO 12st champion will be the seventh British fighter to face the Mexican star with Callum Smith, his brother Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Rocky Fielding, Matthew Hatton and Ryan Rhodes all having been defeated in their contests with the 30-year-old box-fighter.
Telegraph Sport understands that Saunders team have a final contract with Canelo, with confirmation of the contest to be made official within the next few days.
The most likely options are that the fight will take place on May 1 or May 8 at the Raiders Stadium in Las Vegas, with promoter Eddie Hearn having recently signed a two-fight promotional deal with Canelo, who must first come through his next contest with Turkish fighter Avni Yildirim in Miami on February 27.
It is unlikely that Saunders, who defeated fellow Britain Martin Murray in his last outing on December 4, will fight until the contest with Canelo.
What are they saying about the fight?
Saunders’ friend and fellow traveller Tyson Fury, the WBC heavyweight champion, believes that the British supermiddleweight’s skills could see him become the first boxer to defeat four-weight world champion Canelo since his sole career defeat in 57 contests to Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2013.
Fury is urging Saunders to have one more fight before facing Canelo, and explained to Telegraph Sport: “Billy Joe Saunders can beat any middle, or super middle in the world, not a problem. No one has a chance with him when he’s active just like no heavyweight’s got a chance with me when I’m active. He needs to be active and he will punch Canelo Alvarez all round the ring.
“Canelo Alvarez’s Kryptonite is someone who boxes and moves, southpaw. Slick, good feet, good hand speed, good power. Billy Joe Saunders does all of that but he needs to be active.”
Ben Davison, a long-term friend of Saunders, who has trained him on and off during his career, also told Telegraph Sport: “I just felt stylistically Callum Smith was a fight that really suited Canelo and it seemed to play out that way. Obviously Callum Smith and Billy Joe are completely different types of fighters.”
He added: “Obviously there is not a fight anywhere in the world where your tactics will have more an important part to play than fighting Canelo Alvarez. So, it’s going to be an important factor. But he has the skillset to do it. He has the skill set to do what you need to do to nullify and take advantage of elements of Canelo Alvarez’s game.”