On Saturday, May 8th, the boxing’s top star Canelo Alvarez returns to the ring to take on Billy Joe Saunders in a super middleweight title unification bout live from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Alvarez (55-1-2, 36 KOs) is on a mission to become the undisputed super middleweight champ as he already has the WBA and WBC titles. He’s looking to take out Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) who holds the WBO title and then go after Caleb Plant and the IBF belt.
Can Alvarez continue his quest to wipe out the 168 pound weight class or will Saunders pull off a huge upset and become a superstar overnight? The main card for this event will begin at 8pm ET. The Alvarez vs Saunders fight is expected to start around 11pm ET. This boxing card will stream live on DAZN in the United States and Canada.
Canelo Alvarez will be the betting favorite for his 6th straight fight. He hasn’t been an underdog since his two bouts against GGG. Alvarez can be found with odds ranging from -600 to -1050.
Saunders is the underdog with odds ranging from +450 to +550. He hasn’t been an underdog in 3 ½ years since he fought Davide Lemieux for which he was only an underdog with half of the boxing betting sites.
As of this writing, there are nearly 50 wagers for the unification fight. I expect there will be even more as we get closer to fight night. The Over/Under is listed at 10.5 rounds with the Over being the favorite at -155 odds.
“I’ve had dreams of this day happening since I was about five or six years old… I’ve got all the way here. This will be the biggest upset in boxing history, I believe. Certainly in the last 20 years. I believe this is meant to be. To win this means absolutely everything to me. More than money, more than fame, more than everything. I want to win this so badly it’s a joke.”
Saunders won the WBO middleweight title in December 2015 and successfully defended it three times before moving up to super middleweight where he won the vacant WBO super middleweight title in May 2019 by defeating Shefat Isufi.
Saunders has defended this title twice with wins over Marcelo Esteban Coceres and Martin Murray. His most recent bout was December 2020 against Murray where he won via unanimous decision with the following scores: 120-109, 120-109, and 118-110.
14 of his 30 pro wins have come via TKO/KO which is a knockout rate of 46.6%. He will have a three inch height and one inch reach advantage against Alvarez.
“I get up in the ring and maybe I won’t be coming down. Maybe I’ll come down dead. But I know that. And I always say goodbye to my family. I tell them, ‘Don’t worry, don’t cry. If I die, I’ll die doing what I love most.”
That mindset is impressive considering Canelo could walk away already one of the best to ever do it in the middleweight division. Yet, if he cleans out the super middleweight division and become the undisputed champ then Alvarez is going to put his name among the best of the best.
Alvarez last fought in February and easily crushed Avni Yildirim in what was a glorified sparring session. That bout came two months after he beat Callum Smith to capture the vacant WBC and WBA super middleweight titles.
37 of his 55 pro wins have come via TKO/KO. He has a 63.7% knockout rate in 58 total fights.
Will This Fight Go Over or Under?
Over 10.5 rounds (-155)
Under 10.5 rounds (+135)
For Canelo, six of his last eight fights have gone Over 10.5 rounds. Saunders has gone Over 10.5 rounds in seven of his last eight bouts.
As the competition has gotten tougher, both champions have had to go longer in fights to pick up the victory. I see this unification fight going Over 10.5 rounds as well.
As mentioned, Saunders will have the slight height and reach advantages. He’s also a southpaw that’s very adept at counter punching which should provide him with opportunities to land punches considering Alvarez’s willingness to fight within the phone booth.
Saunders will try to stay at a distance, use his jab and fight at angles in order to keep away from the vicious body work that Canelo is capable of.
Alvarez will have the advantage in power and certainly close the distance on Saunders as he uses his fantastic head movement to dodge jabs and other punches from a distance. Another advantage for Canelo is his experience in big time fights against big time fighters. Saunders hasn’t fought anyone the caliber of Alvarez and has never been on a stage this big.
Canelo won’t be overly concerned with Saunders’ power because it’s not a serious threat in this contest. Billy Joe has only 14 KOs in 30 wins and they came against inferior competition. Heavier hitters like GGG and Kovalev couldn’t even put Canelo down.
Alvarez will stalk Saunders, cut off his angles, and eventually corner him or force him into long exchanges. Eventually, Alvarez will rack up enough rounds to cruise to a unanimous decision win and get one step closer to becoming undisputed super middleweight champ.
The last belt in the 168 pound weight class that Alvarez will seek is the IBF title currently held by Caleb Plant. The American last fought in January and his healing from a hand injury.
However, Plant assured everyone that he will be ready for a fight in September against Alvarez if everything goes to plan:
“Hand’s feeling good, healing up. Had to get a small incision made, but nothing major. I’m already in the gym and healing up. (I’ll be ready) for September, so hopefully we can get everything worked out and get the fans the first undisputed super middleweight champion of all time. If everything works out (it’ll be Canelo), but regardless of who I have to fight, I want to be the first undisputed super middleweight champion.”
I fully expect Alvarez to dominate Saunders in a one-sided decision win. He will then go on to beat Plant and become the undisputed champ at the 168 pound weight class. After that, I expect him to settle all doubts with a trilogy fight against GGG.
This is an exciting time for fans of Canelo and boxing. Often times the sport is rightfully criticized for many of its shortcomings and politics, but Alvarez’s quest to clear out the super middleweight division is one of the great things about the sport today.
As a longtime freelance writer, avid sports fan, former athlete, and experienced sports bettor, Rick Rockwell has risen up the ranks at GamblingSites.org to become the self-professed "King of the Blog" in his first year with the site. ...
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