By Sean Jones: DAZN’s approved opponent list for former WBA/WBC middleweight champion Saul Canelo Alvarez has expanded to seven with Billy Joe Saunders and Jermall Charlo being added to the growing list. Canelo Alvarez (52-1-2, 35 KOs) isn’t expected to fight either of those guys though for his match. Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn states that Canelo turned down a fight against Demetrius Andrade this week. It was a match that could have been made.
Alvarez is waiting on the outcome of Sergey Kovalev’s title defense against Anthony Yarde on August 24 in Russia, as he wants to fight the Russian KO artist for his WBO light heavyweight title.
Billy Joe Saunders would be an ugly style match-up for Canelo
There’s no upside for Canelo facing the unbeaten WBO super middleweight champion Saunders (28-0, 13 KOs), because he’s not a household name in the United States. Further, Saunders’ fighting style if very negative. He’s like a small version of Tyson Fury. In other words, Saunders slaps a lot, and moves constantly around the ring. He doesn’t stand and engage for any length of time.
The U.S Boxing fans wouldn’t want to see Canelo chasing Saunders around the ring for 12 rounds in an ugly bore-fest. Saunders’ history of suffering frequent injuries while training would make him a risky opponent for Canelo. The Mexican star can’t devote one year of his career dealing with Saunders’ injury postponements. He’s not a big enough name for Canelo to potentially devote a year of his career trying to fight.
DAZN’s seven fighter approved list for Canelo
- Gennady Golovkin
- Demetrius Andrade
- Callum Smith
- Sergey Kovalev
- Jermall Charlo
- Billy Joe Saunders
- Sergiy Derevyanchenko
Of the names that DAZN has approved for Canelo Alvarez, GGG, Kovalev and Charlo are the only ones that would bring in subscribers. With Charlo and Kovalev fighting on Showtime and ESPN respectively, it would mean fewer subscriptions for DAZN than if they were signed with them. Those are all good fighters, but Golovkin, who is signed with DAZN, stands out as the best option for Canelo.
“A Canelo Alvarez-Jermall Charlo fight is a mouth-watering matchup, a fight Charlo has been lobbying for. Charlo is a PBC fighter, so a hurdle to clear there. Super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders also on list, per sources. He was introduced today as the newest fighter of Eddie Hearn’s stable. Saunders, who holds a title at 168, said he can also fight at 160 and specifically said he wants Canelo,” said @MikeCoppinger.
The undefeated WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo (29-0, 21 KOs) would be an excellent choice for Canelo, 29, to face, but it would a hard fight to negotiate. Charlo is with Premier Boxing Champions and fights on Showtime, while Canelo fights on DAZN. There would be network hassles that would need to be overcome to make the Canelo vs. Charlo fight happen.
Canelo vs. Kovalev not be a huge fight
Kovalev (33-3-1, 28 KOs) might not be a tremendous fight for Canelo if he chooses to face him later this year. Alvarez wants to capture another division world title, and he’s looking at facing the 36-year-old Kovalev for him to achieve that goal. What Canelo might not be aware of is Kovalev’s star power in the U.S, such as it is, has diminished since his losses to Andre Ward and Eleider Alvarez. The hardcore Boxing fans in the States see Kovalev as a vulnerable, faded fighter, who is no longer among the elites in the 175 pound division.
Canelo would have more problems against Beterbiev, Bivol and Gvozdyk than Kovalev
The new guys that are seen as the top fighters at light heavyweight are Oleksandr Gvozdyk, Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol. As such, if Canelo wants to impress the hardcore fans in the U.S, he should be fighting one of those guys, not Kovalev. What Canelo and his promoters at Golden Boy are likely hoping for in selecting Kovalev is the casual fans will be impressed. They’re the ones that don’t follow the spot closely enough to know that Kovalev’s career has gone downhill since 2016, and he’s no longer viewed as an invincible guy that he once was back in 2013.
IBF stripped Canelo of middleweight title recently
I’m very upset and ashamed with my fans, to be unfairly stripped of my belt by the IBF, but specially when i did not have the knowledge of the agreement that GBP match maker had signed.
— Canelo Alvarez (@Canelo) August 2, 2019
Canelo was really upset recently when the IBF stripped him of their title recently when his promoters at Golden Boy failed to put together a fight against mandatory Sergiy Derevyanchenko. Alvarez wanted to keep the IBF title so that he could attempt to unify the entire 160 pound division. The only title that Canelo would have needed to unify the middleweight division was the WBO belt held by Demetrius Andrade. That’s a belt that would be easily attainable for Canelo. Unfortunately for Canelo, now he must win the IBF and the WBO belts for him to unify the division.
Golovkin will be fighting Derevyanchenko for the vacant IBF title. It’s unclear whether Canelo is interested in facing Andrade at some point. He may choose to let Golovkin take care of the Andrade problem by insisting that he pick up that belt too before he agrees to face him in a unification match in 2020. Golokin is expected to easily take care of Derevyanchenko in October, but you never know. It doesn’t seem to matter to Canelo. He just wants the belts, and he’ll fight whoever holds them. But in the meantime, Canelo wants to grab the WBO light heavyweight strap from Kovalev or Yarde, and then look to fight for the last two titles not in his possession at 160.