The triple title clash between WBA ‘Super’ and WBC 168lbs champion Canelo Alvarez and WBO king Billy Joe Saunders has officially been confirmed for May 8.
No venue has been announced as yet though the super-middleweight unification bout is expected to take place at either the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, or Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
“I’ll fight anyone. I fight the best. I always fight the best. I’ll fight the best at 168. It doesn’t matter and here I am making history,” said Canelo (55-1-2, 37 KOs), after predictably sweeping aside WBC mandatory contender Avni Yildirim in three rounds in Miami on Saturday night. “I had to fight against Yildirim to have the opportunity to unify at 168. I had to do it to maintain and keep my title.”
Now the Mexican star turns his attentions to a far more credible challenge in the form of Hatfield’s slick but erratic Saunders. The undefeated WBO champion is in the mould of boxers who have given four-division champion Canelo problems in the past – a smooth southpaw with great feet and a recipe for frustration.
But these days Canelo looks a different animal to the fighter who toiled against portsider Erislandy Lara and was schooled by master technician Floyd Mayweather in the twilight of his great career.
“We want to unify the division, he’s a world champion, we want to go for it and we need to go for it,” said Canelo. “He’s a very difficult fighter and has a championship, the WBO.
“People talk but I’m a very mature fighter and I know how to control myself. All I need to do is go into the ring, win and make history.
“It’s because it hasn’t been done, no one has done it in Latin America [unify all the super-middleweight world titles]. In the world, only a few fighters have done it [unify four belts], the best. I want to make history and be one of the best in the world.”
Meanwhile, the WBO title holder is, as expected, talking a great fight.
“Canelo, I’m ready to rock and roll,” said two-weight champion Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs). “You have to dare to be great and you aren’t going to be a great if you don’t beat the greats. I believe I am the only one with the footwork, knowhow, skillset, mindset and brain to unlock that door in Canelo.
“He’s the main man in the sport and the face of boxing. You have to give him respect, he hasn’t ducked anyone, he’s beaten good names, but nobody is unbeatable, and I believe I have got the tools to beat him if I use them properly and if the gamelan comes off that I believe works.
“I am looking at the golden ticket to cement my legacy, and that’s how you have to go in there to beat him. I’ve won everything from Southern Area to world titles, I could say, ‘I’ve won it all, been to the Olympics, I’m unbeaten – I’ll see you later’. But I’ve only just turned 31, I’ve got no miles on the clock, haven’t taken any punishment – I believe he’s been in harder fights than me and has more miles, so I want to cement my legacy and beat him.”
Canelo and Saunders were originally slated to meet in May 2020 before the intervention of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Promoter Eddie Hearn added: “This is one of the biggest fights in the sport of boxing. The pound-for-pound king on the road to undisputed against the unbeaten champion who has long believed he can overcome him. After missing a chance to fight and celebrate on Cinco de Mayo last year this is going to be very special, we look forward to welcoming you for this momentous event.”
Mexican maestro Canelo has been pegged as an early 1/5 favourite with Saunders viewed as a live outsider at 10/3.