Canelo Alvarez, Billy Joe Saunders agree to May title unification: Sources

Why didn’t the fight happen last year?

Mike Coppinger, boxing insider: The fight was days away from being formally announced at a news conference in Las Vegas last March when the pandemic took hold. The deal was agreed to, as reported by The Athletic at the time, but without fans, the fight couldn’t take place; too much money would be lost. Eventually, the matchup fell by the wayside as Canelo entered into litigation against Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN.

He finally returned in December while Saunders stayed busy with a schooling of veteran Martin Murray.

Now, the Mexican and Englishman are set to square off one year later with far greater stakes on the line now that Alvarez is a unified champion at 168 pounds.

What kind of threat does Saunders pose?

Coppinger: Alvarez is the consensus best boxer in the world, and there’s no opponent who would be favored to beat him. But Saunders is a dangerous foe, a southpaw with impeccable defense and an excellent jab.

The 31-year-old is undefeated and owns wins over David Lemieux, Andy Lee and Chris Eubank Jr. He’s never faced an elite fighter like Alvarez, but he’s proven to be a top-shelf boxer.

Once again, Alvarez is challenging himself to fight a worthy opponent after facing Smith in December.

How does this affect the possibility of a GGG fight?

Coppinger: A trilogy fight between Alvarez and his bitter rival, Gennadiy Golovkin, remains one of the biggest commercial matchups in the sport. But with each passing month, the fight becomes more and more unlikely.

Alvarez is now settled at 168 pounds while GGG remains at 160. Golovkin, 38, could fight Mexican brawler Jaime Munguia in the spring and chase the Alvarez bout for Mexican Independence Day weekend in September. But there’s no guarantee Alvarez would do the fight.

Canelo told The Athletic in December that he’s open to fighting GGG again, but his immediate goal is to win all four titles at 168. That would make a fight with Plant more likely for September.

(Photo: Steve Marcus / Getty Images, Jayne Kamin-Oncea / Getty Images)

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