Billy Joe Saunders On Claims He Quit Against Canelo Alvarez: “As A Fighter, I Wanted To Go On, I Would Have Loved To See How The Next Four Or Five Rounds Go”
By: Hans Themistode
Billy Joe Saunders has always been loquacious. Recently, however, the former two-division world champion has been abnormally quiet.
Approximately one month ago, the British native talked and fought his way into a super middleweight unification contest against Canelo Alvarez. During the lead-up to their showdown and for years before that, Saunders claimed that if he were ever given a chance to face Alvarez, he would hand him the second loss of his career. However, when the two stood across the ring from one another at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, Saunders realized how wrong he was.
While the moment was intense, when Saunders began swapping fist with the pound-for-pound star, he claims that he didn’t feel overwhelmed or out of his element. In fact, as he evaded the oncoming onslaught of Alvarez and landed a few big shots of his own, there were moments where he believed the Mexican star was a bit overrated.
“When I got in the ring with him, I thought was this it?” Questioned Saunders during an interview with Talk Sport. “I expected more but I suppose everyone is going to be sort of like that going into that sort of fight you know.”
As Saunders continued to question if Alvarez had anything more to give, the unified super middleweight titlist immediately answered him. During the eighth round, Alvarez avoided a left hand of Saunders and landed a right uppercut. The British star immediately stumbled back and held on to Alvarez for the remainder of the round. Although Saunders kept his poker face on and appeared fine, he admits that the moment the shot landed, he knew something was wrong.
“I thought, ‘Ooh, that’s a good shot, that’s a good shot.’ And I started bouncing about, but my eye had dropped down. I could see like two or three all the time and I realized after 30 seconds it wasn’t my legs, it was my eye. It’s a bad injury, an injury I thought I’d never get, but you never know what’s gonna happen in boxing.”
After attempting to reopen his right eye, team Saunders came to the conclusion that their fighter couldn’t go into the ninth round in his condition. Reluctantly, trainer Ben Davison waved off the contest. Despite suffering a broken eye socket and orbital bone, many have accused Saunders of quitting. Ultimately though, Saunders says that simply wasn’t the case, if it was up to him, he would have gladly gone out on his shield.
“The people who were in my corner know the conversations,” continued Saunders. “I was going out for the ninth round orthodox. My team is there to do a job. They are there to look out for my best interest. I’m there to go on all night. When we step in that ring, that’s our lives and I’m willing to put that on the line. Never would I say I’m finished, I’m done or go down. I boxed a minute and 20 seconds with a broken eye socket. That was the corner man’s decision.
“As a fighter, I wanted to go on. It was the right stoppage. No one wants to lose and it’s gut-wrenching. The better man won on the night. I would have loved to see how the next four or five rounds go.”
If Saunders had somehow avoided the fight ending blow, the scorecards were just close enough for him to mount a second-half rally. Judge Tim Cheatham had it 77-75 in favor of Alvarez while Glenn Feldman and Max DeLuca each had it 78-74 for Alvarez as well.
Still, regardless of how close the scorecards were, Saunders won’t waste any time wishing and wondering what could have happened had he been able to continue. While he has never been fond of Alvarez, all Saunders could do at this point is give him his respect for a job well done.
“He’s a world-class fighter and he caught me with a world-class shot. You got to give that man that credit and respect. He’s a very, very good fighter, very tricky.”
Caleb Plant On Canelo’s Opposition: “He’s been Fighting These UK Level Guys, He’s Looked Human In Some Of These Bigger Fights”
By: Hans Themistode
Caleb Plant can’t help but notice the large target currently on his back. The Nashville, Tennessee native became the last stumbling block for Canelo Alvarez and his road to undisputed just a few days ago.
In front of what turned out to be a record amount of fans, Alvarez shattered the right orbital bone of Billy Joe Saunders at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. The win for the Mexican star allowed him to wrap the WBO super middleweight world title of Saunders around his waist. With the WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine belts already in his possession, Alvarez has now turned his full attention towards Plant and his IBF world title.
With Alvarez determined to become the first undisputed super middleweight champion of all time, Plant smiles as he has the same exact goal.
“He wants to become undisputed,” said Plant during an interview with Mike Coppinger. “I’ve been keeping the same energy as well.”
If both Alvarez and Plant do, in fact, find themselves in the ring against one another, Plant figures to be a massive underdog. The 30-year-old Alvarez has picked up world titles in four separate weight classes and is widely viewed as the number one fighter in the world.
But while Alvarez continues to soak up the praise and adulation, Plant isn’t exactly impressed with who he’s been fighting. If those in the boxing world would simply take the time to examine his resume, they’ll notice a certain pattern in the Mexican native’s level of opposition.
“He’s been fighting these UK-level guys and European type guys,” continued Plant. “That’s cool but as far as him fighting the top – Floyd, Lara, GGG, he’s 1-3. At the end of the day, he’s just a man and he’s looked human in some of these bigger fights as well.”
Despite Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) claiming that Alvarez is only 1-3 during those previously mentioned contests, Alvarez is actually 3-1. However, those wins were not without controversy. In September of 2013, Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) was handed the first defeat of his career against Floyd Mayweather. One year later, he eked out a close, yet highly controversial split decision win against Erislandy Lara. Fast forward three years later, and Alvarez found himself embroiled in controversy yet again, this time, against Gennadiy Golovkin.
The two faced off in September of 2017 and despite most of the boxing world believing Golovkin did more than enough to take home the win, Alvarez was handed a split decision draw. The two would have an immediate rematch. This time around, Alvarez was awarded the majority decision win.
Recently, the pound-for-pound star has spent most of his time facing fighters from the United Kingdom and abroad. In December of 2020, Alvarez easily defeated UK’s Callum Smith to claim his WBA, Ring Magazine and vacant WBC super middleweight titles. Shortly after, Alvarez made short work of Turkish born mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim, stopping him in the third round in February earlier this year. Lastly, Alvarez of course took care of business against UK’s Billy Joe Saunders last weekend.
In no way will Plant disrespect any of the former fighters Alvarez has fought. But, with that said, Plant firmly believes he’ll be facing an entirely different animal when the two face off.
“When that bell rings, I feel like he’s going to be in front of someone who has the mentally, the mindset and the heart of someone that he hasn’t been in front of for a long time.”
Caleb Plant: “People Misconstrued The Fact That Because Me and Billy (Joe Saunders) Have Some Slickness To Our Style That We’re The Same Fighter, That’s Almost Disrespectful”
By: Hans Themistode
Like most of the boxing world, Caleb Plant observed closely as Canelo Alvarez took care of business against Billy Joe Saunders. The two faced off this past weekend at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas in a super middleweight unification bout.
While their contest was mostly competitive, Alvarez ended things violently with a right uppercut in the eighth round. The blow from Alvarez forced Saunders to remain on his stool at the beginning of the ninth. After the win, it was revealed that the British native suffered a quadripod facial fracture.
With the WBO world title now safely wrapped around the waist of Alvarez, the Mexican native is now one belt away from becoming the first undisputed super middleweight of all time. To do so, Alvarez will now look to target a showdown with IBF titlist Caleb Plant. For the most part, despite sporting an undefeated record, most observers view Plant as having virtually no chance of picking up the win. Considering the manner in which Alvarez dispatched Saunders, and Plant’s somewhat similar qualities to the slick southpaw, many believe the same fate is awaiting should the two face off.
Although he respects the fighting ability of Saunders, Plant would appreciate it if everyone stopped comparing the two.
“I think people misconstrued the fact that maybe because me and Billy have some slickness to our style that we’re the same fighter,” said Plant during an interview with Mike Coppinger. “That’s almost disrespectful.”
Plant, 28, has shouted from the mountain tops that he is determined to take on Alvarez in his next fight. Recently, the Nashville, Tennessee native made quick of former champion, Caleb Truax earlier this year. Whether Plant has a fight coming up on his calendar or not, the undefeated 168 pound belt holder has a propensity for staying sharp outside of the ring. Saunders, on the other hand, has been known for gaining weight in between fights and putting on lackluster performances. Because of those reasons, and Plant’s continued winning ways, the IBF champion believes that the dedication he has shown both inside and outside of the ring, coupled with his overall fighting ability, has him on a completely different level when compared to Saunders.
“The discipline I have, the athletic ability that I have, the speed that I have – Billy’s quick but he’s not explosive. The height, the reach, the boxing IQ, I hit harder than him. I mean, the list goes on and on. Just because we have some slickness to our style, don’t construe that we’re the same boxer or even the same type of man.”
From A Fighter’s Perspective: Saunders Did Not Quit
By: Steven Galeano
Billy Joe Saunders would have entered the ninth round and tried to fight to the best of his abilities, all while enduring the pain he was experiencing. Canelo Alvarez brutally broke Saunders’ eye socket in the eighth round of their super middleweight unification Saturday night in Arlington. Saunders’ trainer Mark Tibbs ultimately decided to stop the bout immediately after the eighth round ended.
Tibbs made the right decision.
As a young prospect, the closest I have experienced to this event was a grotesquely broken nose during sparring. The moment happened in an instant and I could do nothing more than continue boxing until the bell rang. Although I felt more than fine, I knew something was immediately wrong at that moment. My trainer looked at me and let out an uncomfortable grimace once he saw the damage. It was painful, especially once the adrenaline of sparring faded. If it were an official match, I undoubtedly would have continued, as a broken nose is the kind of injury you can maneuver around.
A broken eye socket? That is a whole other level. A broken nose, as painful as that was, can be corrected back into place. My fracture was in 5+ different spots, so at best, I was able to have 80% back in place. Continuing with a broken eye socket starts to raise risks of going blind and never being able to fight again. A fighter should only continue with such an injury in VERY specific situations.
If I were in Saunders position, naturally I would have wanted to continue. I am sure he would have wanted an opportunity knowing it would all go wrong. The situation at hand just was not anywhere near worth the risk. Losing on the cards, four rounds to go and across the ring from a monstrous puncher, I believe my corner stopping the fight is the right decision as well. While I would not have verbally expressed that in the ring, I would thank my corner after accessing the situation later on. Even while damaged, you should always try to continue giving your all, it is your corner’s job to weigh the options at hand. All things considered, it must be incredibly difficult continuing to fight knowing it is the wrong decision.
Saunders should thank Tibbs, Alvarez would have brutally punished him further, and unnecessarily.
The deeper issue is that fighters should never call out other fighters for quitting in such situations – whether they have been in them or not. Saunders slammed heavyweight prospect Daniel Dubois when he could not continue after suffering a fractured orbital bone against Joe Joyce.
“If my two eye sockets were broken, my jaw was broken, my teeth were out, my nose was smashed, my brain was beaten, I was not stopping until I was knocked out or worse,” Saunders said after Dubois’ loss in Nov’ 2020. “I don’t agree with a man taking the knee and letting the ref count him out.”
These words will live with Saunders’ in the coming months, now that he is in the same situation just six months later. Similarly, both Dubois and Saunders produced great efforts in both respective fights and had zero reasons to look for a way out. There was something seriously wrong and it is unfortunate that Saunders suffered this same fate. He will bounce back, and this situation will allow for growth moving forward.
Saunders expressed the spirit one should have to even get to such an elite level. The truth is, I feel the same way, but it does not mean that should happen. Your corner should never have you risk your life, as that corner does not care for their fighter. Boxing has seen it all too often. Saunders did not quit, he was beaten by the better man.
Dubois tweeted after Saunders’ defeat, sharing several positive messages on Twitter. “You fought well @bjsaunders_ hope your eye heels up quickly and you can come back stronger champ,” Dubois stated in one tweet. “Maybe he’ll regret what he said about me, maybe this might teach him something. It could be a life lesson.”
An important lesson for all fighters, especially those who have never been in similar situations. Fighters feel like they know how they would react in certain situations but things reveal themselves in the heat of battle. This idea of continuing while receiving unnecessary damage is glorified, well, it should not. Boxing is about trying to hit while not being hit. Wars are glorified by fans who do not think of the fighters past the hours after they have fought.
Saunders has heart, as it takes a tremendous one to reach such a prominent level in the sport of boxing. Had he been pushed to continue, he would have tried to find ways to compete and minimize damage. Thankfully he was not out there for such a dangerous task.
Wishing a speedy recovery to Saunders.
David Benavidez Doesn’t Like The Chances Of Caleb Plant Against Canelo Alvarez: “I Think Canelo Beats Him Easier Than He Did Billy Joe Saunders”
By: Hans Themistode
David Benavidez wasn’t entirely surprised that Canelo Alvarez defeated Billy Joe Saunders, but nevertheless, he was still impressed. The two faced off in a super middleweight unification bout this past weekend at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
In front of over 73,000 screaming fans, Saunders gave Alvarez a competitive bout before the Mexican star landed a devastating right uppercut that completely shattered the right orbital bone of his man.
With Alvarez adding the WBO title previously held by Saunders to his WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine belts to his collection, he’s only one title away from becoming the first undisputed super middleweight champion in boxing history. In order to do so, Alvarez will be tasked with handing IBF titlist Caleb Plant the first defeat of his career, something Benavidez believes he’ll get done with relative ease.
“I think Canelo beats him easier than he did Billy Joe Saunders,” said Benavidez during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “I think he’ll stop Caleb Plant with a body shot, I really feel like Caleb Plant doesn’t take body shots too well and Canelo throws amazing body shots.”
At the moment, Plant is hoping that he’ll receive the opportunity to make everyone, including Benavidez, eat their words. The 28-year-old dominated his latest opponent in long-faded former champion, Caleb Truax this past January. Following the win, Plant didn’t eschew from the possibility of facing Alvarez. Despite the belief in himself, Benavidez simply isn’t buying his chances.
While the Mexican star may crave a showdown with Plant more than anyone else in the boxing world, the IBF belt holder is currently under the banner of Premier Boxing Champions. Alvarez, on the other hand, while a promotional free agent, has stated on numerous occasions that he would like nothing more than to continue his business relationship with promoter Eddie Hearn. Those relationship ties could lead to long, drawn-out contract negotiations. With that said, Benavidez is firmly under the belief that their showdown makes too much sense for it to not happen next.
“I think so, I think it makes sense on both sides. Caleb Plant is what? 29 years old? He’s probably in his prime right now and he doesn’t have any bigger opportunity than that. What else does he want? Fighting Canelo is the biggest opportunity anybody ever gets. It has to be made, I’m sure it’s going to be in September.”
Billy Joe Saunders Did All He Could
By: Oliver McManus
Billy Joe Saunders has channeled his inner Arnold Schwarzenegger in declaring “I’ll be back” after a dispiriting defeat at the hands of Canelo Alvarez this past weekend at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
The 31-year-old suffered a broken eye socket and broken cheekbones during the contest but has subsequently undergone an operation. Mark Tibbs had pulled out his charge at the end of the eighth contest with Saunders’ face looking increasingly disfigured at the hands of the merciless Mexican.
Alvarez had eased his way into the contest after some opening rounds in which Saunders was seeing success. In truth, you get the feeling that whilst the Brit did take a handful of rounds, it was mainly due to the patience of Canelo Alvarez who knew he could turn the tide of the contest in an instant.
The 30-year-old Mexican seemed to be in little bother at the artillery coming his way; Saunders’ punches were slick but lacked the power to properly trouble his opponent.
Pockets of social media took umbrage at the scorecards returned in Arlington, Texas: Alvarez up 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75 at the time of the stoppage. All three cards seemed fair, this writer had it 77-75, with Canelo comfortably a class above as soon as he stepped on the gas.
Yet some persist with the claim that Saunders ‘outboxed the best in the world and was ‘unlucky’ to be caught by that monstrous uppercut from Canelo. Those arguments do no favours for the two-weight WBO world champion who did a far shout better than many were expecting or, indeed, were hoping.
It was a brave effort from Saunders but the harsh truth is, for many people, it simply doesn’t matter. Having conducted himself in poor regard for the past few years – controversy or distraction is only ever seconds away – he’s at a stage where a lot of people take satisfaction in his defeats. Perhaps from that sense, the logical match-up is a rematch with Chris Eubank Jr. who, whilst less controversial, is equally divisive.
Alvarez, meanwhile, can turn his gaze to becoming undisputed champion at 168lbs with Caleb Plant, IBF Champion, the missing piece in the jigsaw.
Mikey Garcia On Canelo Alvarez: “I Don’t Think Anybody Can Beat Him”
By: Hans Themistode
An epiphany of sorts hit Mikey Garcia. The former four-division world champion sat ringside this past weekend at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas as unified super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez dominated Billy Joe Saunders, causing the British native to retire on his stool at the end of round eight. After their showdown, it was revealed that Saunders suffered a quadripod fracture and is now facing an uncertain future.
With the super middleweight division filled with several top-level fighters, the weight class is commonly regarded as one of the deepest in all of boxing. Still, despite that, Garcia believes everyone else is fighting for second place as he doesn’t see anyone handing Alvarez a defeat anytime soon.
“I don’t think anybody can beat him,” said Garcia during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “I think he’s the best one.”
Alvarez, 30, adjusted quickly to the box first approach of Saunders as he quietly stalked his man in the opening round. After successfully evading most of the Mexican star’s deleterious shots during the first half, Alvarez found what he was looking for as he landed a huge right uppercut that effectively ended the night.
Regardless of the one-sided nature of their contest, Garcia tips his cap in the direction of Saunders. Although Alvarez ultimately won, the slick southpaw made things a bit more interesting than most were expecting.
“Great performance,” said Garcia of Alvarez. “He had an answer for everything. Saunders had a little bit of success in the middle rounds but not enough to complicate things too much. I think Canelo did great.”
With Alvarez adding the WBO super middleweight belt previously held by Saunders to his WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine titles – the pound-for-pound star is only one title short of becoming the first undisputed super middleweight champion of all time. To do so, Alvarez will look to now take on IBF titlist, Caleb Plant.
The Nashville Tennessee native hasn’t backed down from his belief that no matter how great Alvarez is, the Mexican product will ultimately fall at his hands. In the opinion of Garcia, however, he simply doesn’t agree with that statement. While he acknowledges that Plant is a terrific fighter, he merely views Alvarez as someone on another level.
“Caleb needs to box tremendously all night, which he can, I’m not saying he can’t but I just think Canelo will have an answer for it.”
Canelo Alvarez Makes Billy Joe Saunders Eat His Words, Beats Him Down Then Stops Him In The 8th
By: Hans Themistode
For years now, Billy Joe Saunders watched as unified super middleweight champion, Canelo Alvarez, destroyed the competition. Yet, no matter who he defeated, Saunders claimed that he knew exactly what to do to defeat the Mexican star. Tonight, at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs) was given his opportunity. However, he quickly learned that defeating Saunders is more difficult than he realized.
From the moment the opening bell rang, Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) walked towards his man and kept a high guard. At no point did the Mexican native throw a punch. Instead, he simply gauged his opponent and got a feel for his range. Saunders, in no mood to allow Alvarez to push him back, flicked out a persistent jab that seemingly had no effect. With only a few seconds remaining in the round, Alvarez began letting his hands go.
As round two rolled by, Alvarez got more and more comfortable. Still, he kept his punch output low and focused more on accuracy. His game plan worked flawlessly as Alvarez tagged his man repeatedly.
Although Alvarez appeared to be edging ahead, Saunders began finding his rhythm and timing. On several occasions, Alvarez found himself hitting nothing but air as Saunders came back with several hard shots of his own.
In what became a theme, Alvarez picked up on the tendencies of Saunders. The slick southpaw would repeatedly duck low in an attempt to avoid the punches coming in his direction. While it may have worked early on, Alvarez began adjusting. As the former two-division star would dip low, Alvarez would throw a well-placed uppercut that left his man on weak legs.
With what appeared to be a closing right eye, Saunders fought more aggressively in the middle rounds. He ditched his box first approach and instead, opted to engage with Alvarez in the center of the ring. At times, the former WBO super middleweight belt holder found success. However, more times than not, he was on the wrong end of several well-placed shots.
Round seven saw Alvarez come out as aggressive as ever. He punished Saunders and attacked his midsection throughout the round. While that appeared to be his shining moment, Alvarez took things up a notch in round eight.
Under normal circumstances, Alvarez is composed and refuses to engage in trash talk. This time around, that simply wasn’t the case. Throughout the entirety of their fight buildup, Saunders insulted Alvarez at every turn. While Alvarez would say little in return, he warned Saunders that he would pay dearly for it with the price of a knockout win and the forfeiture of his world title.
Alvarez stayed true to his word as he toyed with Saunders. With each deleterious shot that landed, Alvarez would stand back and place his hands in the air in an attempt to implore the crowd to rise to their feet. On numerous occasions, Saunders attempted to hold but Alvarez refused to be entangled with his man and continued his offensive onslaught.
As round eight came to a close, Saunders appeared to wince in pain. He slumped into his corner, seemingly a defeated man as his corner tried desperately to relieve the pressure of his closed eye. Despite their efforts, the right eye of Saunders was closed shut. With the bell ringing to signal the start of the ninth, Alvarez jumped to his feet as if to say he was ready to dish out more punishment to Saunders and force him to eat his words.
With that said, Saunders remained in his corner, hands on the ropes and feet spread out. Within seconds, his corner waved the white flag and officially called the end of their showdown. A normally reserved Alvarez jumped onto the shoulders of his trainer, Eddy Reynoso, and pounded his chest as his shoulders were draped in gold.
Now, with three of the four super middleweight world titles wrapped safely around his waist, Alvarez set his sights on the last remaining champion, IBF titlist, Caleb Plant.
“That’s the plan,” said Alvarez. “Caleb Plant.”
Roy Jones Jr. Adamant On Billy Joe Saunders Chances Against Canelo Alvarez: “It’s Not Easy, Billy Joe Can Freaking Box”
By: Hans Themistode
Roy Jones Jr. has a tremendous amount of respect for Canelo Alvarez. The future first-ballot Hall of Famer has sat back and watched as the Mexican star has won world titles in four separate weight divisions and looked dominant while doing so.
Yet, despite how highly Jones Jr. thinks of the pound-for-pound star, he’s growing sick and tired of hearing most of the boxing world and their dismissive attitude towards his upcoming opponent, Billy Joe Saunders.
“It’s not easy,” said Jones Jr. during an interview with Little Giant Boxing. “Billy Joe can freaking box. A lot of people don’t like him but Billy Joe understands boxing.”
Both Saunders and Alvarez are set to face off later on tonight at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas in front of 70,000 fans. Despite sporting an undefeated record through 30 fights, virtually no one is expecting the British product to walk away with the victory. Those sentiments, however, are something Jones Jr. simply doesn’t understand. Although activity hasn’t been on the side of Saunders, and his performances inside the ring haven’t been noteworthy, when he’s on, Jones Jr. believes his chances of beating Alvarez are as good as anyone’s.
“He’s been out for a little while and he doesn’t look like he’s progressed a whole lot lately but he’s still a very smart boxer with boxing skills. Billy Joe can beat anybody.”
The combination punching, highlight-reel level knockouts and aggressive nature of Alvarez have him pegged as the number one boxer in the world, according to most. But while the attributes of the Mexican native have earned him numerous world titles, Jones Jr. is under the belief that his style is perfect for Saunders.
“Billy Joe’s best guys to fight against are those hard-hitting guys. They give him the opportunity to see it coming. He loves that. If he gets comfortable then he can become a problem.”
Eddie Hearn Views Billy Joe Saunders As A Bigger Threat To Canelo Alvarez Then Caleb Plant: “I’m not sure He’s (Plant) As Quick, As Skillful And As Clever”
By: Hans Themistode
From the very beginning, Eddie Hearn has stood firmly in his belief that Billy Joe Saunders is the right man to dethrone unified super middleweight champion, Canelo Alvarez. Now, by no means does the long-time promoter believe that Saunders will actually win, but in terms of who has the best chance, Hearn won’t hesitate in mentioning the British native.
“Billy is a bit of a maverick,” said Hearn during an interview with FightHype.com. “He does have the ability to turn it on at the right time. So for me, he’s a guy that could rise to the occasion and he’ll have to beat Canelo Alvarez.”
For Saunders, the WBO super middleweight titlist is scheduled to take on Alvarez later on tonight at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas. If Alvarez does what many are expecting, he’ll be one title away from becoming the first undisputed super middleweight of all time.
With Caleb Plant in possession of the IBF title, Alvarez has already set his sights on him. While the Nashville, Tennessee native has looked impeccable during his career, including pitching a shutout against Caleb Truax in January earlier this year, Hearn doesn’t give Plant much of a chance of actually pulling off the win. Although he respects what he brings to the table, Hearn believes that the only person who can ultimately stop Alvarez from becoming the first undisputed super middleweight champion is Billy Joe Saunders.
“He (Saunders) has the style, brains, sharpness, movement and he’s a southpaw. I’m not sure he’s (Plant) as quick, as skillful and as clever. Personally, that’s my opinion.”
During the entire promotional buildup between Canelo and Saunders, the Mexican star has been greeted by loud cheers. That pattern continued during the pairs ceremonial weigh-ins yesterday as Saunders was met with boos from thousands of fans.
For Hearn, he’s watched closely as raucous crowds have gotten under the skin of Alvarez’s opponents. That, in turn, has left many of the world’s best boxers unable to perform under the brightest of lights. Although the vast majority of the 70,000 fans that will be jam-packed into AT&T Stadium will once again cheer loudly for Alvarez, Hearn is unconcerned with the amount of vitriol that will be aimed in the direction of Saunders. While fans are hoping to make the British star uncomfortable, Hearn actually believes he’ll feel right at home in the hostile environment.
“He’ll love it and that makes him dangerous as well. I think the great thing about Billy is you’ll get the best Billy on Saturday.”
Chris Algieri: “There’s So Much On Canelo’s Back Now, He Really Can’t Have A Misstep”
By: Hans Themistode
For better or for worse, Canelo Alvarez has become the face of the boxing world. In addition to carrying his homeland of Mexico on his shoulders, he also bears the burden of expectations. In just a few short hours, those aforementioned expectations will skyrocket as Alvarez takes on Billy Joe Saunders at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
In the mind of many, Alvarez should claim the WBO super middleweight title currently in possession of Saunders to add to his WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine titles. With so much on the line, Chris Algieri believes one bad performance could become an indictment against the Mexican star.
“There’s so much on Canelo’s back now,” said Algieri during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “He has to perform time and time out. He’s going out there four times a year so he really can’t have a misstep.”
Alvarez, 30, has rolled through the competition as of late. In May of 2019, the pound-for-pound star picked up a clear decision victory over former middleweight champion, Daniel Jacobs. He quickly followed up that win by moving up in weight and stopping former light heavyweight king, Sergey Kovalev before moving back down in weight to easily beat Callum Smith for his WBA, Ring Magazine and vacant WBC super middleweight titles. In his most recent ring appearance, Alvarez turned super middleweight contender Avni Yildirim into the laughingstock of the boxing world as he easily stopped him in the third round of their contest in late February.
Still, despite the long list of former champions and great fighters that are currently plastered on his resume, Algieri simply has a hard time when asked if he believes Alvarez will make it look just as easy against the Saunders.
“I just don’t think so,” continued Algieri. “He has an 0 for a reason. He goes out there and performs when he has to but he’s (Canelo Alvarez) been perfect and seems like he’s getting better and better. I don’t think it’s going to be easy but I’ve got Canelo coming out mostly by decision.”
Canelo Alvarez: “I’m Not The Same Fighter From Six Or Seven Years Ago, This Saturday I Will Prove That”
By: Hans Themistode
Canelo Alvarez has heard it all before.
“He lost to Erislandy Lara.”
“Floyd Mayweather gave him a boxing lesson.”
“Austin Trout should have been given the decision.”
During the early stages of his career, while Alvarez was already viewed as a great fighter, many believed that his close calls against pure boxers left him a bit vulnerable. With the Mexican star currently pegged to take on WBO super middleweight belt holder Billy Joe Saunders this weekend, there is a growing belief that the British native has the exact style to hand Alvarez the first loss of his career in nearly a decade.
Despite those sentiments, Alvarez simply smiles whenever anyone questions his abilities to adjust to the pure boxing and counter punching style of Saunders. With so much experience under his belt, Alvarez can’t wait to dive into his new bag of tricks come fight night.
“He’s a great fighter,” said Alvarez during their press conference. “He has a lot of abilities and he’s a southpaw but I’m not the same fighter from six or seven years ago. This Saturday I will prove that.”
Alvarez, 30, will place his WBA, WBC and Ring magazine super middleweight titles on the line at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas Texas, in an attempt to snatch away the WBO title of Saunders and move one step closer to becoming an undisputed champion.
The tension between both sides has been noticeable the moment their contest came to fruition several months ago. Saunders, 31, has remained adamant that the moment will not overwhelm him as roughly 70,000 screaming fans are scheduled to be in the arena. Regardless of the pressure seemingly on the shoulders of Alvarez, the Mexican star is unfazed by it all. While the entire event may appear to be pressurized, the pound for pound star simply shrugs his shoulders as he’s been down this road several times over.
“I’ve been involved in a lot of big fights and this is just another day at the office.”
Looking Ahead To Canelo-Saunders, More Controversy?
By: Steven Galeano
As Saturday night looms, Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders finally went face-to-face Wednesday at the final press conference. Fight week has been eventful as Team Saunders threatened to pull out due to a ring size dispute, yet fight fans can look forward to the long-awaited 12-round Super Middleweight unification on May 8 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, live worldwide on DAZN.
Fight week has proven to be controversial, beginning with Team Saunders claiming both sides agreed to fight in a 24 ft ring. The Saunders camp allegedly learned on fight week in Texas that they would instead fight in an 18 or 20 ft ring, much to their dismay. They further expressed that if the inner ring was any less than 22 ft, they would fly back home. Saunders went to the extent of missing Tuesday’s media day, which Alvarez attended solo.
After discussions behind the scenes, the ring issue has been resolved, although the exact size has not been revealed.
Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs) has previously expressed frustration with Saunders, long accusing his opponent of searching for excuses and already showing signs of defeat. Saunders voiced his disapproval of the entire process, one of which involves the judges for Saturday night.
No judge from Texas, a state notably linked with dubious scorecards in big fights, was assigned to the main event. Nevada’s Tim Cheatham, California’s Max De Luca and Connecticut’s Glenn Feldman will judge Alvarez and Saunders 12-round title tilt.
Ring size and officiating aside, England’s Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) faces a tall order Saturday night. When in great rhythm, Saunders poses a slickness from the southpaw stance that would simply trouble any elite fighter. Saunders figures to be perfect for 36 minutes if he stands any chance of troubling Mexico’s Alvarez, arguably the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world today.
With potentially 70,000 fans in attendance, Alvarez will enjoy a massive home advantage. A raucous crowd cheering for every move Canelo makes further causes Saunders’ gameplan to be a much more daunting task. Saunders has long called for the fight, and the notion that he could beat Canelo has diminished over the years leading up to Saturday night. His two most recent performances have left much to be desired, yet he fully believes the time to accomplish this feat could not have been better.
Alvarez was last seen in the ring just over two months ago on February 27, dismantling overmatched WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim (21-3, 12KOs) over three one-sided rounds in Miami. The bout took place only ten weeks after Alvarez defeated England’s Callum Smith (27-1, 19KOs) for Smith’s WBA/RING titles and the vacant WBC title on December 19 in San Antonio. Saunders was last seen in the ring on December 4, when he soundly outboxed fellow Brit Martin Murray (39-6-1, 17 KOs), who retired shortly after the bout.
Tyson Fury: “Canelo Is An Excellent Fighter But He’s Not The Animal, Beast, Killer People Make Him Out To Be”
By: Hans Themistode
Billy Joe Saunders knows good and well that the deck is stacked against him. The WBO super middleweight titlist is only a few days away from taking on unified champion Canelo Alvarez at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas this coming weekend.
Currently, the betting odds have listed Saunders as a long shot to pull off the upset. To go even further, the boxing public believes his chances come Saturday night are virtually zero. Regardless of those sentiments, WBC heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, is standing firmly behind his countrymen.
“He’s going to rise up to the occasion,” said Fury during an interview with FightHype.com. “He’s going to give Canelo a boxing lesson. I’ve always said it, Billy Joe is the man to beat him. Billy Joe is undefeated in over a decade now. He’s unbeaten in 30 fights and no one has come close to beating him and I don’t think Canelo will.”
In the mind of many, Alvarez tops the charts on virtually every pound-for-pound list. At the age of 30, the Mexican product has won world titles in four separate weight classes, defeated some of the biggest names the sport of boxing has ever seen in Miguel Cotto, Gennadiy Golovkin and several others. Alvarez is also highly motivated to become the first undisputed world champion in super middleweight history.
But while Alvarez has run through the competition for years now, Fury doesn’t look at the pound-for-pound star as a supernatural force. In actuality, behind the world titles, flashy combination punches and endless accolades, lies a man who bleeds just like everyone else.
“Canelo is an excellent fighter, great fighter but he’s not the animal, beast, killer people make him out to be. He’s just a man with a pair of boxing gloves like us all. He can be beaten, he has been beaten before. People are scared before they even go in there and they already lose. Billy Joe ain’t scared of a fight. Billy Joe came out of the womb fighting like myself. We’ve fought to survive, we fought to live. On the world’s biggest stage, he’s going to rise to the occasion and win.”
If Fury is indeed correct, many believe Saunders best chance of pulling off the upset is to box Alvarez and avoid long, drawn-out exchanges. Although Fury wouldn’t exactly disagree with those sentiments, he’s also fully aware that at some point, boxing and moving won’t work. If Saunders truly wants to walk away with the biggest win of his career, Fury believes he’ll have to draw a line in the sand, bite down on his mouthpiece and let his hands fly in the center of the ring.
“This is a fight. I always say you can’t go swimming and not get wet. You’re going to have to fight sooner or later.”
John Ryder Making His Way To Dallas, Willing To Save The Day And Step In For Billy Joe Saunders Against Canelo Alvarez
By: Hans Themistode
With Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders squabbling over the size of the ring, their showdown, which was due to take place this coming Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington Texas, is in serious jeopardy.
Realizing that the entire event could go down the drain, super middleweight contender John Ryder has thrown on his cape in an effort to save the day.
In fact, Ryder is currently flying out to Dallas as we speak.
“I was always due to go out to Dallas,” said Ryder to Sky Sports. “Eddie wanted me to get out there and do a bit of promotion, for my up and coming fight in June, so I was always heading out there. But I mean if he gives me the call, I’ll pack the gum shield and protector.”
Issues between Alvarez and Saunders came to light earlier this week. The British product was initially under the impression that their unification contest would take place in a 24 ft ring. Yet, the moment Saunders and his team were given the opportunity to examine the ring up close, they quickly realized that it was significantly smaller.
According to Tom Saunders, father of Billy Joe, team Alvarez produced an 18 ft ring. Once he balked at the idea of his son stepping into such a small ring, team Alvarez offered to increase the size by 2 ft. Still, a 20 ft ring was unsatisfactory to team Saunders. While they were of the belief that their showdown would take place in a 24 ft ring, Tom stated that at minimum, the ring would have to measure at least 22 ft. Once broached with the idea, team Alvarez grew apoplectic and gave Saunders only one option.
“They’ve said it’s either 20 foot or book your flights home,” said Tom Saunders during an interview with IFL TV. “He (Billy Joe Saunders) wants to go home. We’re not going to take this bullshit anymore.”
Regardless of team Saunders standing their ground and threatening to walk, Ryder believes that their contest is simply too close to fall apart now.
“I think it’s smoke and mirrors. I think he’s going to get what he wants. You don’t come this far in a fight to let it go at the last minute, because of a couple of foot. It’s something that should have been settled at the start of negotiations. One of the first things. Sort out your purse, sort out the ring, sort out whether you are walking first or second, or whatever. It should have been tied up ages ago.”
For Ryder, the super middleweight contender was lauded for his efforts against then, WBC titlist Callum Smith in November of 2019. While he came up short on the scorecards, many who watched their contest believed he did more than enough to walk away with the win.
Given how much Ryder enjoys getting into a brawl, the smaller ring wouldn’t be an issue for him. And, more importantly, he’d be willing to step in to save the day as long as he’s compensated for it.
“Listen, I’d do it outside the pub on a Saturday night for free, so put a bit of financial motivation behind it, definitely.”