Billy Joe Saunders looks in tremendous shape with his career-defining unification showdown against pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez now under three weeks away
- Billy Joe Saunders looks in the shape of his life ahead of his fight against Canelo
- The eagerly-anticipated bout is set for May 8 at the AT&T Stadium in Texas
- Saunders’ WBO title and Canelo’s WBC and WBA championships are on the line
- The Brit in March said he was overweight and was fighting to ‘pick up a check’
Billy Joe Saunders appears to be in the shape of his life with his career-defining unification bout against pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez now just under three weeks away.
The undefeated Brit, who was expected to fight Canelo on Cinco de Mayo last year prior to the outbreak of coronavirus, will finally get his shot on May 8, when he puts his WBO super-middleweight strap on the line against his opponent’s WBC and WBA titles in a mouthwatering clash.
Saunders has fought just once in the last 12 months, in December last year, defeating Martin Murray via a unanimous decision, while Canelo has stepped up his activity since becoming a free agent, stopping Avni Yildirim in February, just three months after his highly impressive points win over Callum Smith.
Promoter Eddie Hearn posted an Instagram showing Billy Joe Saunders in terrific shape
The fight will be held in front of a capacity 60,000 crowd at AT&T Stadium in Texas, the home of NFL side Dallas Cowboys, in what will be the largest boxing event worldwide since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Canelo has just the one defeat to Floyd Mayweather in an otherwise near-spotless record and has defeated six Brits on his way to stardom. But Saunders believes he will be the man to finally dethrone the great Mexican, and he has utilised some of the psychological warfare we’ve become accustomed to in previous build-ups.
It was only in March that Saunders revealed he had taken 10 days off from his training camp after contracting flu, insisting he was out of shape and running out of time.
‘I’m pushing for time now,’ he told the Ak & Barak Show. ‘Ten days off training. I’ve got the flu, not in shape.
‘I’m still heavy. I’m still, you know, not started camp properly yet.’
He added: ‘No, I don’t have enough time. But, you know, I’m just gonna go over there, pick a check up and go home. And that’s about it.’
Canelo last fought in February when he defeated Avni Yildirim by a third-round TKO
Canelo has been training alongside Andy Ruiz Jr, who returns to the ring the week prior
A number of fans questioned the validity of Saunders’ sentiments at the time, and promoter Eddie Hearn even took to social media to quash the reports.
Just over a month later, with Hearn’s latest Instagram post displaying a caption which reads ‘Billy Joe Saunders in tremendous shape with just under 3 weeks to go!’, it’s clear Saunders is coming into the fight in the best condition possible.
Regardless, and despite the fact Saunders is the undefeated fighter of the two, it’s Canelo who comes into the bout as the overwhelming favourite.
But as the fight approaches, Hearn has insisted that Saunders will pose stylistic problems that the 30-year-old hasn’t previously faced.
He told Fight Hub TV: ‘Billy Joe Saunders for a long time has said he will beat Canelo Alvarez. He has the style to beat him.
‘I’ll tell you one thing, I think if there’s anyone in the division that will beat or could beat Canelo, it’s Billy Joe Saunders — because he has the style and the movement and he has something different in his head.’
Saunders defeated fellow Brit Martin Murray by unanimous decision in December 2020
Saunders is also highly confident of achieving one of the great scalps in British history, telling talkSPORT: ‘I’m the seventh Brit he’s faced, he’s dealt with six of them very comfortably.
‘The Brits like dancing and moving and thinking they’ve gotta run away, but I will be there for him to hit.
‘I will be in range for him to hit. I’ll be setting traps, the same as he’ll be setting traps.
‘I don’t think running a million miles an hour is gonna do me any justice. He’s not got the best engine in the world, Canelo.
‘He’s very good at what he does, extremely good at what he does, but there’s faults there.
‘We’ve seen people try to run away and box him, we’ve seen people try to use the brawn, but we’ve only seen one man use his brain and that was Floyd Mayweather.’
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