World Boxing News understands Billy Joe Saunders is unlikely to get a shot at Canelo Alvarez in 2021 due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
The Briton had signed a contract to face the Mexican superstar on May 2 and was on the verge of an official announcement before lockdown.
Saunders had revealed his hope that the fight could be salvaged over the summer, but that now seems highly unlikely.
Canelo already has a fight lined up in September with Gennadiy Golovkin. This looks to be the focus of Canelo, along with the TV network DAZN.
The trilogy clash with GGG will take priority if the United States can return to some normality in the coming months.
Las Vegas, the favored venue, has suffered relatively low COVID-19 cases compared to New York, New Jersey, and California.
If some control, contact tracing, and ramped-up testing can be implemented, Nevada may have the opportunity to re-open – even partially – in the new few weeks.
By the fall, and provided the virus is suppressed, Canelo vs. Golovkin III may be able to happen – fingers crossed.
Bad news for Billy Joe Saunders
But that’s bad news for Saunders, who must wait a year. As Canelo is not negating the contract, only delaying, this should not hamper the agreement.
DAZN is willing to take the hit on the Saunders for the much more significant (stateside) Golovkin fight to go ahead. More subscriptions would undoubtedly be attainable from Canelo facing his most powerful enemy of recent times.
So where does Saunders go from here?
It’s likely the Hatfield man, like many other boxers, will be forced to look domestically due to the pandemic. It’s much safer in the current climate to avoid any travel whatsoever.
This means Callum Smith, John Ryder, and a rematch with Chris Eubank Jr. all come back into play for Saunders this year.
As we all know, boxing is off the menu for the foreseeable future in front of a crowd.
“It’s hoped staging restricted events at home or in less-affected countries around the world can happen eventually by this summer.