EXCLUSIVE: Billy Joe Saunders explains why Canelo fight is off this year

Phil Jay 02/07/2020
Canelo vs Billy Joe Saunders

Stacey Verbeek / Mark Robinson

Super-middleweight world champion Billy Joe Saunders has opened up to WBN on why a fight with Canelo Alvarez won’t happen this year.

Saunders, who was due to meet Canelo at the T-Mobile Arena in May, has accused Golden Boy Promotions of dropping his purse too much.

The Hatfield man also cited a lack of real camp preparation as another big factor.

Initially, the undefeated MTK Global star was on board with a Las Vegas unification fight, with an announcement due to be made by Canelo and his team the week of the coronavirus shutdown.

A three-month delay, coupled with an erratic training schedule – hasn’t helped Saunders, who explained why it’s now time to look away from Canelo.

“Listen, they didn’t want to give me proper time to train and they wanted to take millions of pounds from me,” Saunders exclusively told World Boxing News.

“We all sat down at MTK and had a chat. We decided that if they aren’t going to do it properly we move on. Canelo hadn’t even signed the contract yet. Only my signature was on it.”

Canelo back
📸 Amanda Westcott

Asked whether the fight was now dead in the water, Saunders answered: “I’m not going into fighting Canelo for a payday. I’m going in to win the fight.

“I could just take the money and say I’ll fight with seven weeks to go, but they haven’t even given a real date yet. There’s no date on the contract.

“They need to give me the proper time to prepare. I want to win this fight and then get the rematch. Before, they wanted me to fight on some boat or island or something in America.

“I said listen, I’d fight Canelo in Mexico, I’ll fight him in his own backyard if they give me the right notice. I’d beat him in Mexico, it doesn’t bother me.”

CANELO in 2021?

On what could possibly be next for him instead of the Canelo clash, Saunders said he’ll keep training in the hope of getting out before a huge event towards the back end of 2020.

“We’ve got Callum Smith for December. Then there’s Andrade for December and there’s Eubank for December. But ideally – for me, it would be Smith.

“It’s a massive fight and I want to give the fans massive fights. The Canelo fight would have been lovely but I’m not going into it without a good solid camp.

“I want to give the fans proper fights. But if they (Team Canelo) are trying to take money away and giving me less time, then it won’t happen.

“I want to win. It’s as simple as that. If they said we’ll do Canelo again next May and gave me the date, then it could happen then.

“But now, I’m looking at getting a run out in October. Then it will be a massive fight in December,” he concluded.

The UK boxing fraternity would no doubt jump at the chance to see Saunders in the ring with Smith or Eubank Jr.

Smith won the World Boxing Super Series tournament to enhance his reputation.

For his part, Eubank has long-standing bad blood with Saunders and lost a close split decision to his nemesis in London six years ago.

Phil Jay is Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. Follow on Twitter @PhilDJay