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Billy Joe Saunders: Canelo doesn’t want to fight me

The former titleholder will look to win another belt in a new division on May 18.

Tyson Fury and Billy Joe Saunders Workout Session Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images
Scott Christ is the managing editor of Bad Left Hook and has been covering boxing for SB Nation since 2006.

Former middleweight titleholder Billy Joe Saunders is now campaigning at super middleweight, and will face Shefat Isufi on May 18 for the vacant WBO title at Lamex Sadium in Stevenage. The card will air live on ESPN+ in the United States and BT Sport in the United Kingdom.

But Saunders (27-0, 13 KO) still would like to face WBC/WBA/IBF middleweight titleholder Canelo Alvarez — he just doesn’t believe Alvarez wants any part of him.

“I would love the Canelo fight, but does he want to fight me? I don’t think so,” Saunders said. “If they do want to fight me, ring me up. I am not asking for millions. Just be fair with me and we can get the show on the road.

“Canelo has cemented his name, made good money and is a superstar in the sport. I wouldn’t say he is avoiding me, but there are plenty of people he can pick apart from Billy Joe Saunders. That is a fact. Who wants to fight a slick southpaw who is hard to hit?”

Saunders, 29, says he would do 160 again for that fight.

“It could be middleweight or super middleweight. I want the big fights and that is a reason I am moving up to super middleweight. I cannot get the big fights at middleweight.”

Saunders had a WBO 160-pound title defense against Demetrius Andrade lined up last October, but failed a VADA drug test and relinquished the title before he could officially be stripped. He also twice pulled out of scheduled dates against Martin Murray in 2018. His last fight at 160 was a very impressive schooling of David Lemieux back in Dec. 2017.

Saunders also commented on potentially fighting WBA super middleweight titleholder Callum Smith (25-0, 18 KO), who has been linked to Canelo in the last couple of days.

“Callum is a good fighter and big, but I think people go on about size in this sport too much,” he said. “We saw David Haye beating Nikolai Valuev. Size doesn’t matter in this sport. If you’re good enough, you’re good enough, end of, and I believe I am good enough to beat Callum Smith. That is a fight I would entertain.”

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