In one of the most interesting bouts of 2021 to date, this unification fight sees Billy Joe Saunders put his WBO super middleweight title on the line against Mexican superstar and Ring Magazine, WBA and WBC super middleweight champion, Canelo Alvarez.
This match up has been highly touted for quite some time and it almost felt as if it was not going to materialise, however at time of writing we are just a few days away from one of the biggest super middleweight fights for quite some time.
All the belts with exception of the IBF title are on the line as Canelo looks to cement his legacy as one of the all time greats while Billy Joe Saunders looks to record what would be one of the greatest victories for any British fighter on the road, possibly only matched in recent times by his stable mate and fellow fighter from the travelling community, Tyson Fury. (v Klitschko in Germany)
Saunders is well versed to controversy and has frequently got himself in to trouble with his out of the ring antics, frequently picking up fines from the British boxing board of control. Well on May 8th 2021 he is going to have to back up all the vocals and put in a career best performance to topple the Mexican superstar, anything less than a Lemieux esque performance just wont cut it, the question is does that 2017 version of Saunders still exist?
The advantages Saunders does have is that he is the naturally bigger man, however the real dilemma he faces is – This fight is in Texas so Saunders probably either needs to win a whitewash of all rounds to have any remote chance of getting the nod on the scorecards in Texas, or alternatively he needs to somehow stop Canelo, given Canelo stood up to possibly the hardest puncher in middleweight history in Gennady Golovkin and is arguably one of the most skilled fighters in the sport today, both scenarios seem very unlikely, although as we have seen over the history of the sport of boxing, and as Muhammad Ali once said – Impossible is nothing.
While Billy Joe Saunders appears to be facing an uphill task in this fight there is no question he is an extremely talented and skilled fighter, I have no doubt if Billy Joe Saunders can put in a career best performance, stringing all his talent and attributes together he can cause Canelo problems, especially in the earlier rounds, my concern for Saunders is he has been inconsistent in his career, he has been prone to gas late in fights and I would question whether he really has the punch power to keep Canelo honest and prevent him from closing the gap as the fight progresses.
I expect Saunders to have some success early in the fight, however I think by the middle rounds Canelo will have taken control of the fight and we may see Saunders start to get backed up more and more as the fight progresses. Once that happens Saunders may go into survival mode and the question may no longer by about who is going to win the fight but more as to whether Saunders can survive the 12 rounds.
I think Saunders has enough evasive ability and footwork to do just that, but I do expect him to be under fire late in the fight and have to escape some hairy moments to get there, if I am betting the fight I would probably back Canelo points at 13/8 but hedge this with Canelo rounds 9-12 at 7/2. (odds correct at time of writing)
PREDICTION – CANELO VIA UNANIMOUS DECISION
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