Britain’s Billy Joe Saunders will lock horns with P4P king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in a blockbusting world super-middleweight title unification match on May 8.
The pair will meet with the WBC, WBA WBO and Ring Magazine titles on the line. The venue is yet to be confirmed and the bout will be streamed live globally by DAZN (except in Mexico).
‘Canelo’ removed the final obstacle to a clash with Saunders when he easily retained his WBC, WBA and Ring titles by crushing the overmatched Avni Yildirim in Miami on Saturday night.
It was a brutal beatdown at Hard Rock Stadium as Yildirim was pulled out by his corner after round 3 following nine minutes of vicious punishment.
‘Canelo’ could hardly miss all night with left hooks to the body and uppercuts as he gradually removed any resistance from the underdog. And a beautiful left jab-straight right combination decked Yildirim in the third. The end came soon after.
The 30-year-old Alvarez (now 55-1-2) has a long-stated ambition to unify all the belts at 168lbs. And the 31-year-old Saunders is the logical next step.
The Mexican megastar said: “We want to unify the division, he’s a world champion, we want to go for it and we need to go for it. He’s a very difficult fighter and has a championship, the WBO.
“People talk but I’m a very mature fighter and I know how to control myself. All I need to do is go into the ring, win and make history.”
“It’s because it hasn’t been done, no one has done it in Latin America. In the world only a few fighters have done it, the best. I want to make history and be one of the best in the world.”
Saunders (30-0) retained his WBO title with a points victory over fellow Briton Martin Murray last December. Now he takes the ultimate step up to truly elite level.
“Canelo, I’m ready to rock and roll,” he said.
“You have to dare to be great and you aren’t going to be a great if you don’t beat the greats.
“I believe I am the only one with the footwork, knowhow, skillset, mindset and brain to unlock that door in Canelo.
“He’s the main man in the sport, and the face of boxing. You have to give him respect, he hasn’t ducked anyone, he’s beaten good names, but nobody is unbeatable, and I believe I have got the tools to beat him if I use them properly and if the gameplan comes off that I believe works.
“I am looking at the golden ticket to cement my legacy, and that’s how you have to go in there to beat him. I’ve won everything from Southern Area to World titles, I could say ‘I’ve won it all, been to the Olympics, I’m unbeaten - I’ll see you later’.
“But I’ve only just turned 31, I’ve got no miles on the clock, haven’t taken any punishment - I believe he’s been in harder fights than me and has more miles, so I want to cement my legacy and beat him.”
Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing have promoted Canelo’s last two bouts - against Callum Smith last December and Yildirim on Saturday night. He will again be the man charged with maximising revenues from what should be one of the biggest fights of 2021.
He explained: “This is one of the biggest fights in the sport of boxing. The pound-for-pound king on the road to undisputed, against the unbeaten champion who has long believed he can overcome him.
“After missing a chance to fight and celebrate on Cinco de Mayo last year this is going to be very special, we look forward to welcoming you for this momentous event.”