Major Update On Billy Joe Saunders Vs. Canelo Alvarez

Just a few months ago, it appeared as if Billy Joe Saunders would get the fight he was looking for in Canelo Alvarez. Originally scheduled for late May, the bout was postponed due to the coronavirus. Now, it looks like the fight may be scrapped altogether.

Saunders (29-0), the WBO Super-Middleweight Champion, told Mike Coppinger of The Athletic that he will be withdrawing his name from the long list of contenders for Canelo. The idea of a September return for Canelo is something that Saunders believes he isn’t ready for. He also stated that his request of $8 million for a fight was not being met by Matchroom Boxing’s Eddie Hearn.

“I’m not ready (in) September,” Saunders stated. “You can say to me, ‘Billy Joe, a billion pounds, but you’re not ready and you’re going to get beat.’ I would say keep it. Let me get ready, let me win and I will fight for free. I’m nobody’s stepping stone. I’m not another belt for Canelo. They want to try mind games; that don’t work with me, I play the biggest mind games in British boxing.”

“If they think they’re going to cut my money and cut me short, that’s not going to happen. Considering he’s getting $35 million, they come to me for a pay cut in September? They want to get short notice and a pay cut. Why not him take a pay cut?”

Saunders hasn’t fought since November when he beat Marcelo Esteban Coceres via TKO. The Canelo fight would have been something he felt he deserved. One of the factors surrounding his decision is the lack of preparation due to the coronavirus pandemic. Gyms are currently closed and resources are limited. The lack of gate for the fight, since it would most likely be done without fans, was also a factor.

Training in Spain during this time, Saunders had to take care of his grandparents. The responsibility was another factor in his decision to back out of the Canelo sweepstakes.

“Every gym was closed, and my grandparents are very elderly, I live next door to them. There were a few (health) scares,” Saunders went on to say. “75 percent of my time (was dedicated) to her, I couldn’t leave the place, I had my kids every other day.”

Besides a lack of resources and family, Saunders had a busy few months. He ended up getting his boxing license suspended by the British Boxing Board of Control following a controversial post he made on social media. During the early stages of quarantine, Saunders was seen punching a bag while giving men instructions on how to handle their wives or girlfriends who are bothering them. The BBBofC ended up waiting on Saunders and his team to send in the proper documents to renew his license.

Now that Saunders is out, Canelo still has a long list of potential opponents. A Gennadiy Golvkin trilogy bout might have to wait until 2021 due to the pandemic and alternatives for Golovkin. There is also a chance Canelo could face Sergiy Derevyanchenko or Anthony Dirrell. While Saunders believes the fight with him and Canelo would be great for business, he has moved on.

“Would I like (Canelo’s) business? I would love it. Do I need his business? No, I don’t,” stated Saunders. “I was going to be spot on (May 2). I was probably a couple weeks ahead of schedule, but it is what it is.”

As far as what is next for Saunders, he is looking to try and finally face Demetrius Andrade. The two were supposed to fight in 2018 when Saunders was WBO Middleweight Champion, but Saunders tested positive for oxilofrine.

“That’s the fight I would want, I would love the fight,” Saunders said. “There’s unfinished business with me and him.”

It is also unknown if he will even ever box again. Saunders has considered retirement following the news that Daniel Kinahan will no longer be involved with MTK Global or boxing in general.

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