World Boxing News understands Billy Joe Saunders is now 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 TV network DAZN.
The trilogy clash with GGG is set to take priority if the United States can get back to some sort of normality in the coming months.
Las Vegas, the favored venue, has suffered a relatively low amount of COVID-19 cases compared to the likes of New York, New Jersey, and California.
This means if some control, contact tracing and ramped up testing can be put in place, 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 well be in a position to happen – fingers crossed.
But that’s obviously bad news for Saunders, who will be required to wait a year. As Canelo is not negating on the contract, only delaying, this should not hamper the agreement in place.
DAZN is willing to take the hit on the Saunders in order for the much-bigger (stateside) Golovkin fight to go ahead. More subscriptions would certainly be attainable from Canelo facing his greatest 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.