Canelo Alvarez will look to add another super-middleweight world title to his collection on Saturday when he takes on the undefeated Billy Joe Saunders in a highly anticipated unification fight at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs), a four-division world champion, has settled in at 168 pounds and appears intent on unifying the division. He holds the WBA and WBC belts, and this will be his third straight fight at super middleweight after bouts against Sergey Kovalev at light heavyweight and Daniel Jacobs at middleweight.
The 30-year-old is the No. 1 pound-for-pound boxer, according to The Ring, and he has shown he can do it all over the past few years, winning fights with power, sharp counterpunching, elite footwork and dazzling head movement.
Is Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) going to solve the riddle? He's a slick southpaw who can stand up to heavy hitters, like he did against David Lemieux in 2017. He's also coming off a dominant performance over Martin Murray last year. But it will take a razor-sharp performance for the WBO world titleholder to upset Alvarez and become the man to beat at super middleweight.
Here's a look at the odds for the fight.
Alvarez vs. Saunders Fight Info
When: Saturday, May 8 at 8 p.m. ET (11 p.m. ET for main event)
Where: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
Live stream: DAZN
Odds (via DraftKings): Alvarez -770 (bet $770 to win $100), Saunders +450
Alvarez has solidified himself as a heavy favorite going into this matchup. He's taken on the likes of Kovalev, Jacobs, Amir Khan, Gennady Golovkin, and the Smith brothers, coming out on top each time. Lesser opponents like Rocky Fielding and, most recently, Avni Yildirim, were finished off early and easily. It's going to be very tough to bet against him winning this one outright.
If you're favoring the Mexican but want a better payout, then look at the bets for over-under on rounds and the manner of victory. According to DraftKings, over 10.5 rounds is at -152, while under 10.5 is +115.
Saunders represents a different challenge than most of Alvarez's opponents, and this could extend the fight deep into the night. He's a southpaw in his prime at 31 years old. Alvarez hasn't fought a southpaw since James Kirkland in September 2015 and Erislandy Lara directly prior to that in 2014. Alvarez knocked out Kirkland in the third round and won a split decision against Lara.
Saunders is a much better fighter thank Kirkland, especially on the defensive end. Former world champion Andre Ward believes the Briton might even be better than his opponent in this category, via ESPN.com:
"Both Alvarez and Saunders have good defense. Alvarez's best defense is from the waist up—good head movement and timing to avoid incoming punches. Saunders likes to use his legs, distance and range to avoid punches.
"When I think about Alvarez, the first thing that jumps out to me is his offensive prowess, not his defense. When I think of Saunders and his style, the first thought I have is about his movement and ability to make opponent's hit air."
With good defense, hand speed, a size advantage and a southpaw stance Alvarez hasn't seen in a professional ring in awhile, Saunders could well trouble him the same way Lara did at times. He may even be ahead after a few rounds. It seems likely he's angling to stick and move and make Alvarez chase him, considering Tuesday's blow-up over the ring size.
According to ESPN.com's Ben Baby, Saunders' camp wanted a 22-foot ring instead of a 20-foot ring. This didn't sit well with his opponent.
"It's not the only excuse he's had," Alvarez said through an interpreter, per Baby. "He's had plenty of excuses. I'm just going to go in there and do what I have to do."
Even if Saunders doesn't get the ring size he wants, Alvarez might have trouble finishing him early. Going over 10.5 rounds seems like a good betting opportunity. Alvarez went to the judges' cards against Callum Smith, Jacobs and Golovkin both times.
For those looking to put money on Alvarez winning by stoppage, currently -110 on DraftKings, its entirely possible he gets that late in the match too. He didn't stop Kovalev until the 11th round of their matchup in 2019. There's a decent chance betting the over on 10.5 rounds works out even if Saunders doesn't reach the final bell (and, of course, if you like Saunders to win, go ahead and bet the over because Alvarez's chin will almost certainly hold up).
As a counterpoint, Kovalev is naturally a much bigger man than Alvarez and his skull-rattling power kept the Mexican honest for long stretches of the fight.
Saunders, for all his talents, is not a heavy hitter. If he can't frustrate Alvarez with speed and command of the ring, he won't be able to deter his opponent from walking him down and hauling off with his power punches.
Chris Eubank Jr., who lost to Saunders in 2014, thinks Alvarez will get the KO, per DAZN Boxing:
Alvarez does not like to play with his food. If he solves the British fighter's game plan early, he will try to end things quickly. It all comes down to how much you believe in Saunders' dedication, which has ebbed and flowed throughout his career, and his ability to frustrate Alvarez.
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