Despite having fought as recently as the 27th of February, there appears to be nothing stopping the appetite of Canelo Álvarez, who is due to return to the ring as early as May. A meeting with Billy Joe Saunders has been scheduled for the 8th of May, which holds significance for Mexican people, as it is Cinco de Mayo weekend.
This fight will unify three of the four major super middleweight belts, with the WBA Super, WBC, and The Ring super middleweight titles on the line plus it is for the WBO super middleweight title, so there is plenty riding on this fight for both men.
Canelo comes into the contest having easily taken care of business against Avni Yildirim in late February. It is clear it does not matter who is in the other corner, Canelo takes every opponent seriously, even when he is the clear favourite to succeed. That approach was also evident in the victory over Rocky Fielding. The likes of Gennadiy Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, and Sergey Kovalev have given Canelo a sterner test but the Mexican came out on top in all three fights.
In fact, you must go back to the 14th of September 2013 to find that last time Canelo lost a fight and that came against the great Floyd Mayweather Jr. Canelo has remained undefeated in 14 fights since that loss and must begin this bout as the favourite to win.
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In terms of Canelo’s opponent, Saunders last fought on the 4th of December 2020 and defeated Martin Murray by unanimous decision at the SSE Arena, London. The victory extended Saunder’s undefeated run as a professional fighter and it now stretches to 30 fights. Having made his debut against Attila Molnar in 2009, Saunders has held world championships in two weight classes, including the WBO super-middleweight, which will be on the line in the fight against Canelo.
Perhaps the one concern for Saunders will be the level of his recent opponents in comparison to what he can expect in the ring from the Mexican. David Lemieux provided Saunders with the opportunity to fight away from home but he was clearly superior to the Canadian. The win against out-of-shape Charles Adamu was not worth bragging about and Saunders has arguably made more headlines outside the ring in recent times, with one incident leading to the suspension of his boxing license by the British Boxing Board of Control.
Saunders could rise to the occasion and deliver the world-class performance he is capable of producing. The British boxer certainly stands a better chance of defeating Canelo than his previous opponent and has the ability to compete with the Mexican. However, Canelo must start as the favorite to win.