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CANELO’S CHOICE – WILL THE BILLY JOE SAUNDERS FIGHT BE SIDELINED?

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Canelo Alvarez was originally scheduled to fight Britain’s Billy Joe Saunders in Vegas, May 2nd. The fight was postponed, supposedly until June, and a deal was made with Golovkin to finish off their trilogy in September. 

Canelo and his team have been looking for Canelo – GGG 3, it’s a huge money fight, but there are a lot of hurdles. For one Canelo’s team isn’t the only one with choices to make and deals already on the table. Golovkin’s team has their own agenda and they have arguably the smarter choices to make. Golovkin is 38 and has far fewer opportunities left to cash the big cheques before considering retirement.

Golovkin had originally agreed to the September fight with Canelo. While Canelo – BJS would have taken place in June, Golovkin would have faced Kamil Szeremeta, also in June. This would have paved the way for the trilogy. As things are going now, COVID-19 looks to be sticking around, placing all fights in jeopardy until far beyond June. There was mention of Canelo skipping BJS in this case, and just jumping straight in with Golovkin in September.

Cue more hurdles. Golovkin’s team has expressed the desire to go ahead with the Szeremeta fight in September, seemingly just to honor their deal. This leaves Canelo waiting in line for the fight to finish, Golovkin to recover, and their teams to agree on new terms and find a venue. In the meantime, who does Canelo fight? He’s continued raining but he would definitely want a tune-up fight before facing Gennady again. There are many options for him to consider.

Billy Joe Saunders seems like the best choice. They’ve already hashed out the details and, venue permitting, there should be fewer barriers to getting it done. BJS is a good fighter, facing him won’t raise too much suspicion of ducking the best boxers, but likely won’t pose too much risk to Alvarez. The ideal tune-up.

However, the first fights following the reopening of the U.S will likely have much lower attendance than usual. With each state setting different dates, travel bans still likely in place, the attendance will greatly suffer. Without the gate attendance, there’s no telling how much will be made in tickets. PPV sales might make up for it? You might think that with everyone camping out at home this would make sense, maybe not though. 

The PPV sales for a fight with Canelo could be set around $80. Anyone who has bought PPV before knows, you invite 10 of your closest mates around to split the cost, or they at least furnish your fridge with beer and pizza. It’s unlikely that enough fans will feel comfortable with a gathering that big at this time, or feel comfortable paying the $80 alone. 

There are more hurdles. BJS is based in the U.K, he’d have to fly a team of managers, trainers, family and more out to the U.S. That might not fly (Sorry I had to). This might force Canelo to look solely at stateside competitors if he’s to fight in Vegas, his adopted home turf. 

A situation like this would unfortunately also likely rule out another fighter who graced the Canelo rumor mill recently. The Russian Dmitry Bivol. Bivol went on record, as early as March last year with TMZ, saying he’d happily drop to super-middleweight to meet Canelo. 

That would be an amazing fight, albeit probably more dangerous for Canelo than he’d be comfortable withIn a stay-busy fight. Bivol is criminally overlooked at Light-Heavy and has had issues getting big money fights. This is purely because he currently lacks the selling power, but the other boxers know he’s the real deal. Bivol is a big-risk, low-reward fight for most people. Aside from his WBA belt, he doesn’t offer what Canelo wants. A travel ban is a great excuse to avoid this one for now.

So which American based fighter could offer Canelo what he wants? Perhaps a re-run with Kovalev, although it’s unlikely that would bring in the money. Maybe David Benavidez at Super-Middleweight? Also unlikely as Benavidez likely wants to get his own run at BJS and Callum Smith first. 

Back in the Middleweight division, the two men that stand out are Jermall Charlo and Demetrius Andrade. Charlo has apparently rejected a Canelo fight before, and honestly, he just doesn’t look ready. Canelo would take this fight, unlikely that Charlo would. That leaves Andrade. Andrade would take this fight. Andrade would take this fight and run with it. He’s claimed that GGG and Canelo don’t want to fight him. It’s not easy to disagree with this. Andrade might just be the true boogeyman of the Middleweight division, the scary guy the scary guys are ducking, the same way Bivol was at LHW until he won his belt. 

The year of 2020 quickly became the year of canceled plans, affecting the general public’s dreams of feeding the ducks in the park, as well as Canelo’s plan for multiple $50m paydays.

Let us know who you think Canelo should fight next, as well as who he probably shouldn’t fight next, in the comments below. 

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