Canelo Targeting Saunders Fight on May 2
We may now be a step closer to the answer to who will be Canelo Alvarez’s next fight — his annual Cinco de Mayo showdown.
Per Mike Coppinger of The Athletic, Alvarez, the holder of the WBA (Super) and WBC Franchise middleweight titles and WBA (Regular) super middleweight title, is reportedly focusing in on a super middleweight title unification showdown with WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders.
Sources: Canelo Alvarez has zeroed in on Billy Joe Saunders as his May 2 opponent, and negotiations are expected to pick up during the week toward consummating a deal. Saunders holds a 168-pound title, so a victory would make Canelo a full-fledged four-division champion
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) January 11, 2020
Alvarez claimed the WBA secondary 168-pound title in December 2018 with a third-round finish of Rocky Fielding but didn’t make a defense of the title in 2019. Instead, Alvarez defeated Daniel Jacobs in a WBA/WBC/IBF middleweight title unification bout before an 11th-round knockout of Sergey Kovalev to win the WBO light heavyweight championship.
In the weeks following his November 2 title win over Kovalev, rumors began to swirl that Alvarez would be vacating his super middleweight crown. In fact, Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn claimed in late November the WBA (Regular) 168-pound title was going to be on the line in a planned bout between Lennox Allen and John Ryder.
However, Alvarez ultimately decided last month to surrender the light heavyweight belt. The WBO does not allow a fighter to hold its championships in multiple weight classes, but it would allow Alvarez to challenge for any of its other championships. So, vacating the WBO 175-pound title allows Alvarez to challenge either its middleweight champion, Demetrius Andrade, or its super middleweight champion, Saunders.
Both men have previously been deemed appropriate opponents for the Mexican superstar by DAZN, with the streaming service holding the rights to all three men’s fights.
Saunders won the WBO’s 168-pound title by defeating Shefat Isufi in May and retained the title with an 11th-round stoppage of Marcelo Esteban Coceres as part of the KSI vs. Logan Paul 2 undercard. Saunders also previously held the WBO middleweight title from December 2015, with a win over Andy Lee, until October 2018, when he surrendered the title after a failed VADA test before a scheduled fight with Andrade.