After WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders announced he would not be ready in time for a rearranged September date with Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez, Chris Eubank Jr. and Sullivan Barrera are among the latest names to throw their hats into the ring.
A fight with Canelo is widely regarded as boxing’s golden ticket and the target of every world-rated fighter between 160lbs and 175lbs. Earlier this week, manager/trainer Joe Gallagher reiterated the interest of his fighter, WBA Super 168lbs champion Callum Smith, who had previously appeared to close to securing a 2020 money-spinner with Canelo only for Saunders to receive the nod.
Never one to lack self-belief, ‘WBA Interim’ 160lbs champ Eubank took to Twitter to state his interest with a less than glowing assessment of rival Saunders’ withdrawal.
“Billy Bottle Job Saunders won’t fight Canelo in two months?? I’m ready to go in two days!!! So, a fight in September!? No problem,” said Eubank (29-2, 22 KOs), who lost a split decision to Saunders in November 2014.
Inevitably, Saunders and Eubank then traded x-rated barbs on social media.
While he has a number of vocal detractors, Eubank would be a viable opponent at either 160lbs and 168lbs for Canelo and certainly provide entertainment value while the fight lasted.
Former WBA 175lbs title challenger Sullivan Barrera has also publicised his availability, with a rescheduled fight date for his clash with two-time light-heavyweight king Sergey Kovalev no closer to reality. Perhaps crucially, money isn’t a dealbreaker for the Cuban.
“For me it is about the challenge. I don’t need a lot of money to make me happy,” said Barrera (22-3, 14 KOs). “Me and Canelo both work with Golden Boy so making a deal will be easy. I am sure they can work out a deal in less than 24 hours and then I can go to work to prepare for the biggest fight of my life.
“I can make the weight no problem. I barely even have to diet to make 175,” added Barrera. “Right now, I am walking around at 185 or 186 pounds so making weight will be easy. The last couple of fights my shoulder really affected me but now after the surgery last year and the proper rehab I am back to how I felt when I beat Joe Smith.”
The race for Canelo continues.
Main image: Stephanie Trapp/Showtime.