By: Hans Themistode
Boxing fans have waited patiently for Canelo Alvarez to choose his next opponent. When you campaign at three different weight classes, making the decision can be a lot more difficult than many realize.
With Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) holding belts at Middleweight, Super Middleweight and Light Heavyweight, although he did drop his 175 pound belt, there was no telling which direction he was going to be heading. Each weight class was screaming at the top it’s lungs to be chosen. With fighters such as WBC titlist Jermall Charlo and WBO belt holder Demetrius Andrade in the Middleweight division, each man could make an argument for why they should be chosen. In fact, they did. But both men were overlooked.
A fight with unified Light Heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev looked great on paper, and truth be told, would have looked even better in the ring. But just like Charlo and Andrade, Beterbiev was left behind as well.
Canelo has decided to bypass those aforementioned divisions and stick right in the middle. The Super Middleweight division is where Canelo will call home. At least for now.
The WBA “Regular” champion is set to square off against WBO belt holder Billy Joe Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) on May 2nd.
Much like everyone else, Saunders made his case for a shot with Canelo. Yet, the argument could be made that his was the least compelling. Other than Saunders one sided beating over David Lemieux in 2017, he hasn’t exactly lit the world on fire.
In his last contest against Marcelo Esteban Coceres, Saunders may have walked away with the stoppage victory, but many were in agreement that it wasn’t his best performance.
Focus has always been the issue for Saunders. If his head is in the game, then good luck beating him. But there lies the problem, his head hasn’t always been in the game.
Still, with Saunders calling Canelo out for years, he has finally gotten his wish. His fellow countrymen and current WBA “Super” champion Callum Smith was also in the running to land a fight with Canelo. Both men seemed to be playing hardball with the four division champion, in the hopes of landing more money.
Mission accomplished. For Saunders that is.
The WBO titlist now enters the biggest fight of his life. The money and fame that are associated with Canelo’s name will, for the time being, be associated with Saunders as well.
For as disappointing as Saunders has been in his most recent contests, a win over Canelo will sweep all of his past transgressions under the rug. If however, Saunders finds himself on the wrong end of an easy win for Canelo, his dreams of staying under the bright lights will be a short one.
With Canelo vs Saunders official, the countdown to May 2nd, starts now.