By News Team
Last Updated: 7th May 2021
All eyes turn to the AT&T Stadium in Texas this weekend, the home of the Dallas Cowboys, as Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders go head-to-head for three variations of the super-middleweight world titles (WBO, WBC and WBA) in a landmark unification bout.
Can Saunders enter the lion’s den and shock the world with a victory? We preview the most anticipated boxing fight of the year so far.
Active Canelo cruising through the division
Often known for taking centre stage just twice a year, on Cinco de Mayo weekend and Mexican Independence Day, Canelo has enjoyed one of the most active periods of his professional career in the last six months.
Since beating Britain’s Callum Smith for the WBC and WBA (Super) super-middleweight titles in December 2020, Canelo has returned in February to defend his belts against mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim, and no less than three months later, he will look to unify the belts once more this weekend.
If all goes to plan on Saturday, the Mexican will seek to claim the fourth and final super-middleweight belt this summer, against IBF champion Caleb Plant, who remains the last piece of the undisputed puzzle.
Although not as active as Canelo, the travelling Briton Saunders was last out in December against former world title challenger Martin Murray, but it was his performance in that contest that has seen sceptics suggest he in no shape to face who some consider the pound-for-pound boxing king.
Saunders steps up when it matters
Although criticised for his fighting weight for certain bouts historically, Saunders has been known for some of the great British performances in world title fights over the last 10 years, not least against highly rated David Lemieux, who he dispatched in entertaining fashion away from home soil.
But whilst Saunders has been known for raising his game against top-level operators, there is no tougher challenge at this stage of his career than taking on Canelo, who has gone from strength to strength since the only defeat of his career to Floyd Mayweather.
A slick-moving hard-hitter, Canelo has moved through the divisions to become a four-weight world champion, even knocking out light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev, four weight divisions above where he began his career.
It’s a testament to the Mexican’s punching power that he can carry his fierce right hand up through the ranks to such effect, and Saunders’ most difficult moments in this fight will be staying elusive enough to avoid such advances.
If you can fancy Saunders to create a highlight reel moment to stop Canelo on his feet, you can get the challenger at 14/1 to win by KO, TKO or DQ.