For a few months now we’ve been waiting on the word of who was going to win the Canelo Alvarez sweepstakes to become his opponent for May 2nd. Regardless of the opponent Canelo chooses, they’re essentially assured to earn a career high payday, so many prominent names haven’t scheduled their next fight until they know for sure they won’t get the call.
Two of those names are super middleweight titleholders Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders. And despite it being well-known that both fighters have been hoping to be selected for the bout, it came a a pretty big surprise yesterday when it was reported that Smith actually turned down the fight.
Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, who represents both Smith and Saunders, tells Sky Sports that both fighters are still interested in the Canelo fight, but they’ve thus far rejected the offer currently on the table.
“There is a market rate that has been established, unfortunately for [Canelo’s promoters] Golden Boy. Callum and Billy Joe are not even asking for that market rate. I don’t know which one Canelo prefers. But I do know both Callum and Billy Joe want the fight. The one who gets the fight? Probably the one who takes it for the least money.”
Hearn admits that they have been offered a substantial sum of money for the Canelo fight, but that it’s less money than past Canelo opponents have received. That seems like it could prove to be a continued sticking point if DAZN hasn’t seen the ROI they’ve been hoping for and are now tightening the purse strings a little. But whether or not that is actually the case, Hearn says Canelo is in the driver’s seat in these negotiations and that he’ll also have to look for alternative fights for Smith and Saunders — probably against one another.
“If neither get the fight, they have to unify [against each other].”
However this ultimately works out, we should expect to see some definitive news one way or the other in the next coming weeks. May is just around the corner...