STEVENAGE, ENGLAND - MAY 04: Billy Joe Saunders takes part in a workout session at The Lamex Stadium on May 04, 2019 in Stevenage, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Boxing | Preview: Billy Joe Saunders and Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez set for Arlington showdown

  • Billy Joe Saunders and Saul Alvarez meet in their highly-anticipated super middleweight unification fight this Saturday
  • Canelo defends unified WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine titles at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
  • Undefeated Briton puts his WBO crown on the line also, in fight years in the making
ARLINGTON, TEXAS – As Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders meet on Saturday night in Texas, who will become the unified super middleweight champion?


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High noon in Texas

As boxing fans around the world await news of the upcoming two-fight heavyweight unification deal between Anthony Joshua and Tyson Fury to be made official, first this weekend, arguably the biggest fight in the new decade takes place in Arlington, Texas.

Not only the biggest superfight since 2020 – and possible far further back – Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez‘ super middleweight unification bout with Billy Joe Saunders has been eagerly anticipated for some years now, and finally in the Lone Star State on Saturday night, two of the biggest names in the division during recent years will square off.

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Billed as ‘Face the Fearless’, the undefeated Saunders clashes with one of boxing’s poster boys in the Mexican, as the best fighter in the middleweight division will at last be determined.

As host for the event, The AT&T Stadium will see the biggest crowd for a sporting event in the United States since the initial pandemic shutdown.

It is yet unclear if it will, but should the venue sell out, it will become the biggest boxing attendance in the US, since the rematch between Gene Tunney and Jack Dempsey in 1927.


Lengthy conjecture

A fight previously planned for 12 months ago in Las Vegas, the ensuing COVID-19 pandemic then brought plans to a grinding halt.

As Alvarez eyed his return fight last September, all three of BJS, Callum Smith and Gennady Golovkin were touted as possible opponents, however, the Mexican refused to take a pay cut off his deal with DAZN and Golden Boy Promotions, whilst Saunders stated he was not ready.

Last December, Alvarez did win the unified title against Smith at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, then again defending the belts against WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim three months ago in Miami.

Saunders himself then retained his WBO title in his first fight post-pandemic at the SSE Arena, against Martin Murray in London five months ago. An official deal for Alvarez-Saunders was then signed off by promoter Eddie Hearn back in February.


Saunders undefeated; Canelo formidable

For Saunders, Saturday night at the home of the Dallas Cowboys could mark his crowning moment in boxing, having waited years to face-off with Canelo.

With an undefeated record of 30-0 (14 KOs), Welwyn Garden City’s own claimed his first title in 2015 and is a two-weight former champion of the world.

Arguably his finest performance versus David Lemieux at the end of 2017, Saunders retained his title in the Canadian’s own back yard of Quebec, during his third defence of his WBO crown he won against Andy Lee two years earlier.

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As documented widely on social media in the past few weeks, the Hertfordshire fighter has trained extensively for this fight, and has slimmed down dramatically for the rigours the bout could bring. Make no mistake, Saunders is in the shape of his career.

Canelo however, is different gravy.

Though one of Mexico’s favourite sons has now turned 30, Alvarez has lost just one fight during his 58-fight, 15-year career, namely, to one Floyd Mayweather Jr. via unanimous decision at Madison Square Garden back in 2013.

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His only loss aside, Canelo is undefeated in two fights against GGG – defeating the Kazakhstani in 2017, 12 months on from their equally controversial draw – whilst also having beaten Sergey Kovalev in the only defeat of the Russian’s career.

Alvarez also has victories versus Miguel Cotto and Shane Mosley on his record. Saunders will be up against, not to mention contending with a likely partisan home crowd.


Tale of the tape

In Friday’s weigh-in, the scales for both men were predictably tight, with Canelo just 4oz lighter than the Briton.

Whilst Saunders is the heavier fighter, he is two inches taller than the Mexican, and whose southpaw style will counteract Canelo’s more orthodox stance.

Alvarez however, has the greater experience by almost 1:2, with 28 more fights under his belt than BJS.

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Both fighters bring a unique flavour to the ring in Arlington this weekend, and though Canelo will undoubtedly be the favourite, many are beginning to fancy Saunders’ chances of becoming Britain’s second reigning unified, and first unanimous champion.

The eyes of the boxing world will be on Texas on Saturday evening.


Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez faces Billy Joe Saunders for the unified WBA, WBC, WBO and Ring super middleweight titles at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday night, with ring walks at approximately 04:00 BST Sunday morning.


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