Billy Joe Saunders’ dream shot at Mexican idol Canelo Alvarez may have passed him by and he might not be considered as a future opponent, according to Golden Boy Promotion’s Bernard Hopkins.
Saunders was originally scheduled to face Canelo in May before the intervention of the Covid-19 Pandemic, but earlier this month ruled himself out of the running for a rearranged September 14 date with the Mexican, saying he would not be ready in time.
Now Hopkins, a partner in the Golden Boy business, says there is “no guarantee” that the gifted WBO super-middleweight champion will face Canelo in the future.
British fighters Callum Smith, John Ryder and Chris Eubank Jr. are among those fighters in the running to take Saunders’ place.
Hopkins admitted his surprise that Saunders could not be ready for a potentially life-changing opportunity in two months’ time.
“You should always be prepared,” Hopkins told Sky Sports. “It did [surprise me], because Billy Joe Saunders is not a rookie in the game.
“Billy Joe Saunders has been in some highlighted moments. He understands, he had a taste of the high level.
“He missed out and there’s no guarantee, especially in the world of boxing, that Billy Joe Saunders will get a call from anybody, [relating] to a world champion. [This is] the biggest spotlight you can get – pandemic or not.”
Canelo hasn’t fought since November 2019 when he became a four-weight champion after halting veteran WBO 175lbs king Sergey Kovalev in 11 rounds. Hopkins maintains that Canelo will not receive a soft option in September following Saunders’ withdrawal.
“It has to be someone that will keep him honest, because you want to make a statement every time at that level where Canelo is at,” he added.