Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders are ready for Saturday night’s main event on DAZN (8 pm ET), live from AT&T Stadium in Texas, home of the Dallas Cowboys. 60,000 or so fans are expected in the stadium for what will be one of the biggest fights of 2021.
Scott Christ (33-8-2)
I’ve really tried to figure a way I think Billy Joe Saunders can feasibly win this fight; I did so here on Wednesday. But I just don’t really see it. Saunders wants as big a ring as he can get because he does not want to stand toe-to-toe with Canelo. Hey, that’s fine — as long as the sides agree, whatever, not everyone wants to do firefights and that’s not Saunders’ style. It’s not really Canelo’s, either, but the more space Billy Joe can find, the better for him.
I don’t think it’s going to help him actually win so much as stay out of the situations he doesn’t want to get into, though. I do think Saunders’ style can be a problem for Canelo or anyone, and if this were 2015, maybe the sort of problem that leads to controversial scores. I don’t think the cards here are going to be any big outrage; I do expect Saunders to nick some rounds, because Canelo isn’t going to rush forward throwing a billion punches, but I also don’t see Saunders dominating to the point where he’s making anything obvious in his favor.
Expect Saunders to pick and peck, move, play defense, and he’s never going to be in any real trouble. But he’s not going to win. He doesn’t have the layers to his game that are needed, particularly power for Canelo to seriously respect. Not only isn’t Saunders a big puncher, but Alvarez takes a great shot anyway. It’s Canelo on the cards all day here, it could be 11-1 or 7-5, but it’s going to be his fight. Canelo UD-12
How to Watch Canelo vs Saunders
Wil Esco (34-7-2)
The great Al Pacino once said, “On this team, we fight for that inch!” And if you’re at all familiar with Any Given Sunday then you know that the inches Billy Joe Saunders needs are everywhere. That’s probably why he’s been making a stink over all sorts of issues leading into the Canelo fight in recent weeks. Saunders is a superb boxer with a unique kind of style that’s really hard to emulate and prepare for. He’s also not much of a puncher, and in a fight against Canelo — who also has elite level boxing skills — I think punching power is going to make a big difference. Canelo isn’t just some lumbering power puncher like David Lemieux, he has much more craft and versatility. Therefore if Saunders won’t be able to stand toe-to-toe with Canelo, which I’m quite certain he has no intention of doing, then he’s going to have to be able to outscore him significantly on the outside.
I truly do think Saunders will pose some real difficulty for Canelo because he’s a slick fighter who thinks defense first, and that alone is going to make it hard for Canelo to land consistently in the early going. In fact, I half-expect this fight to be pretty dull for the first half with little sustained action by way of punches landed. If Saunders starts to fade in the second half that’s going to be a real problem though, because Canelo has the boxing ability to match Saunders and will inflict serious damage with his power punches. I want to believe Saunders will be fully up for this fight and has prepared himself physically, and if so I think he’s good enough to avoid getting knocked out if that’s what it comes down to. Either way, I really don’t see a scenario where he outpoints Canelo on the cards and I definitely don’t think he can stop Canelo. Canelo UD-12
Patrick L. Stumberg (33-8-2)
Here’s what has to happen for Billy Joe Saunders to emerge victorious: first, the man who went life-and-death with Marcelo Coceres has to put forth the best effort of his entire career. Second, that effort has to be sufficient to overcome a man who, despite my endless personal distaste, has a near-unassailable claim to being the best super middleweight on the planet. Third, his domination must be so thorough that not even Canelo’s preternatural appeal to the judges can stand before it.
Does that really sound feasible?
I just don’t see what Saunders does here. If he tries to play keep-away, Canelo’s ring cutting and body assault will ensure that he lands the more damaging and eye-catching blows. If Saunders tries to force him onto the back foot, Canelo’s a strong enough counter-puncher to recreate Coceres’ successful efforts on that front. There’s not even the inkling of a puncher’s chance; I’ve seen some wild shit during my years as a combat sports fan, but Billy Joe Saunders icing the functionally indestructible Alvarez would put all of it to shame. Saunders hasn’t given me reason to doubt his durability, at least, so perhaps he’ll enjoy the moral victory of lasting the distance. Canelo UD-12