The next step of Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez's master plan at 168lbs in 2021 has been made official.
Very shortly after Alvarez required just three rounds to break the spirit of mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim in Miami, his next bout was confirmed as being against current undefeated WBO super-middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders on May 8.
The venue for the fight will be announced in due course, per Matchroom Boxing, who promote Saunders and have a working agreement in place with Canelo Promotions. The fight will, however, be available globally on DAZN with the exception of Mexico.
“We want to unify the division, he’s a world champion, we want to go for it and we need to go for it,” said Canelo. “He’s a very difficult fighter and has a championship, the WBO.
“People talk but I’m a very mature fighter and I know how to control myself. All I need to do is go into the ring, win and make history.”
“It’s because it hasn’t been done, no one has done it in Latin America. In the world only a few fighters have done it, the best. I want to make history and be one of the best in the world.”
Saunders will be defending his WBO title for a third time, after recently sending Martin Murray into retirement following his comprehensive points win over the Brit.
“Canelo, I’m ready to rock and roll,” said Saunders. “You have to dare to be great and you aren’t going to be a great if you don’t beat the greats.
“I believe I am the only one with the footwork, know-how, skillset, mindset and brain to unlock that door in Canelo.
“He’s the main man in the sport and the face of boxing. You have to give him respect, he hasn’t ducked anyone, he’s beaten good names, but nobody is unbeatable, and I believe I have got the tools to beat him if I use them properly and if the gamelan comes off that I believe works.
“I am looking at the golden ticket to cement my legacy, and that’s how you have to go in there to beat him. I’ve won everything from Southern Area to World titles, I could say ‘I’ve won it all, been to the Olympics, I’m unbeaten - I’ll see you later’.
"But I’ve only just turned 31, I’ve got no miles on the clock, haven’t taken any punishment - I believe he’s been in harder fights than me and has more miles, so I want to cement my legacy and beat him.”
“This is one of the biggest fights in the sport of boxing,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “The pound-for-pound king on the road to undisputed against the unbeaten champion who has long believed he can overcome him. After missing a chance to fight and celebrate on Cinco de Mayo last year this is going to be very special, we look forward to welcoming you for this momentous event.”
“Canelo vs. Saunders is a fascinating matchup of champions with massive international appeal,” said Ed Breeze, DAZN EVP, Rights. “From what we expect to be a fiery promotion to the competition in the ring, we’re thrilled to deliver this fight to DAZN subscribers across the world.”
You can subscribe to DAZN right now to rewatch Canelo's demolition of Yilidirm and be ready for the Saunders fight on May 8, with a ton of live action and exclusive content at your disposal between now and then.