Billy Joe Saunders may have missed his best chance to beat Canelo Alvarez
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Billy Joe Saunders has finally landed a fight with Canelo Alvarez.
It is a bout which has been four years in the making – or certainly one Saunders has been wanting for that long.
WBO super-middleweight champion Saunders will face WBC and WBA title holder Canelo in early May as long as the Mexican beats Avni Yildirim next month.
But the British super-middleweight may have missed his chance to beat Canelo.
Why? Mainly because he is now a super-middleweight and above his best division.
Saunders was sensational in 2017 when he outboxed David Lemieux in 2017 at middleweight.
Perhaps so good that it was a fight Canelo didn't really need back then.
Saunders is a slick southpaw who, on his day, can make anyone look awful and can win a fight boxing brilliantly on the outside.
The Hatfield fighter didn't bring much to the table back then in terms of revenue but brought a big mouth and the talent to back up his hype.
It was a risky fight for anyone at middleweight to take him on.
It is not Saunders' fault he didn't get the fight then, nor a chance to face Gennady Golovkin which he had signed for on more than one occasion.
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But since moving up to super-middleweight, Saunders has looked sluggish.
He won the WBO title with a good performance against Shefat Isufi in May 2019 even if the opposition was limited.
But then he has put in below-par performances against Marcelo Esteban Coceres and most recently Martin Murray.
All the while changing trainers more times than a picky customer in JD Sports.
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In the same time frame, Canelo has beaten Daniel Jacobs at middleweight, gone up to light-heavyweight to take a WBO title from Sergey Kovalev and most recently comprehensively outpointed Callum Smith at 12st.
Saunders at middleweight against the Mexican who was outgrowing the 11st 6lb gave the Brit a chance to be sharper over 12 rounds.
But he has yet to look his best in the higher division, while Canelo looks to have found his most comfortable weight class.
Saunders finally gets his chance to show he is an elite fighter but the worry is it has come at the wrong weight and the wrong time.
- Callum Smith
- Canelo Alvarez
- Billy Joe Saunders
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