Trainer Mark Tibbs is confident that his fighter Billy Joe Saunders can pull off a major surprise and upset Mexican star Canelo Alvarez in their super-middleweight unification bout on May 8.

WBO 168lbs king Saunders brought back former coach Tibbs after parting ways with Ben Davison last year before widely outscoring veteran Martin Murray in a straightforward title defence in December. 

Tibbs believes the slick Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) can confound the odds and topple WBA ‘Super’ and WBC super-middleweight champion Canelo in two months’ time, if the Hatfield southpaw executes their gameplan.

“As soon as I got back involved with Billy Joe Saunders for the Murray fight, I recognised immediately the maturity in his body and in his strength and also in his thinking,” Tibbs told the Betfred Boxing Show.

“He’s always been strong-minded and he’s always been a phenomenal trainer but he needs to be reminded he’s a slick, free-thinking fighter and we couldn’t take that away from him in any way. He knows he’s got the intelligence and knowhow, stylistically, to take on someone like Canelo Alvarez.

“We can box around, we can diffuse and take away power and exploit areas. There’s another way of fighting. Billy Joe can, and perhaps he will do, diffuse them missiles and exploit the openings, and set traps ourselves, make him fall short, encourage him to swing.

“It’s all about boxing, outfoxing, chipping and clipping. It’s about pulling off a perfect gameplan and I believe Billy Joe Saunders will do that on May 8.”

Canelo (55-1-2, 37 KOs) brushed aside hapless WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim on Saturday before turning his attentions to unifying all four super-middleweight crowns in 2021. WBO champion Saunders and IBF title-holder Caleb Plant stand in his way.