Canelo Alvarez is undeniably in the prime of his career and appears at the peak of his powers since permanently moving up to super-middleweight late last year.
The Mexican star dominated the world’s previous No.1 168-pounder Callum Smith in a virtuoso performance last December (W12) before ruthlessly sweeping aside the WBC’s less than deserving mandatory contender Avni Yildirim in three in February.
Next, WBA Super and WBC champion Canelo (55-1-2, 37 KOs) faces WBO king Billy Joe Saunders in a unification clash in Arlington, Texas, on May 8 as he seeks to annex all the world’s 168lbs titles in 2021.
The four-division champion feels Saunders is likely to be one of his toughest tests to date though believes, on current form, he would have beaten his sole conqueror Floyd Mayweather, who handily outpointed him way back in September 2013.
“Without a doubt I would beat him, it would be a very different fight,” Canelo told Univision. “I am a more mature fighter, it would be a totally different fight. I have more experience, I learned a lot.
“I said that this was not going to stop me [defeat to Mayweather], that I would be the best in the world at some point, it hurt a lot because I wanted to win, but only God knows why he does the things he does.
“We will see on May 8 if [Saunders] is the best opponent that I’ve faced, but it’s being assumed that he is. Yes, he is a fighter who moves a lot, he’s left-handed, with experience. He is supposed to be one of the most difficult opponents that I’ve faced.”
Retirement is still some way away for Canelo, 30, who believes he will be fighting near the end of the decade.
“Walking to the ring is going to be one of the moments that I miss the most when I retire,” he added. “I have seven more years and I talk about it because at some point I am going to retire.”
Photo: Alamy/The Photo Access.