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Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders: Odds, prediction and betting trends

4 min read
Canelo-Alvarez-050521-EdMulhollandMatchroomBoxing-FTR Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing

The next major boxing event takes place on Saturday from Arlington, Texas.

The main event features Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders meeting in a super-middleweight title unification bout with the winner leaving AT&T Stadium the WBA, WBC and WBO champion.

As always with a big-time boxing card, there are certainly plenty of bets to be made. Let's take a look at some of them. 

Canelo Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders odds

Canelo Alvarez: 1/5
Billy Joe Saunders: 9/2

(All odds via Unikrn)

Unikrn has Alvarez installed as a massive favorite — as of Wednesday, he comes in at 1/5, meaning you'd need to bet £50 to win £10 (in addition to getting your £50 back). Meanwhile, Williams is a 9/2 underdog, meaning if you pluck down £20, you will win £90 plus that £20 stake back.

After one bout at 168 pounds in December 2018 when he pummeled Rocky Fielding to win via third-round TKO, Alvarez beat Daniel Jacobs via unanimous decision at middleweight and then ventured up two weight classes to light heavyweight, where he knocked Sergey Kovalev to capture the WBO belt. Now, Alvarez is making 168 pounds his home in hopes of becoming the undisputed super-middleweight champion.

He claimed two of the belts in December when he dominated Callum Smith from start to finish to claim the WBA (super) and the vacant WBC titles. Ten weeks later, Alvarez battered Avni Yildirim to the point where he didn't come out for the fourth round to retain his belts. Standing in the way of his path to becoming the four-belt champion is Saunders.

Saunders is a two-division world champion. The 31-year-old captured the WBO middleweight title from Andy Lee in December 2015. He made three title defenses before relinquishing the belt after testing positive for a banned substance. 

Instead of remaining at 160 pounds, Saunders decided to embark on a new journey and move up to 168 pounds. In his first fight at his new weight class, Saunders defeated Shefat Isufi to capture the vacant WBO championship in May 2019. Saunders knocked out Marcelo Esteban Coceres in the 11th round on the Logan Paul-KSI undercard and then bested Martin Murray to earn the opportunity to face off with boxing's biggest star.

 

Canelo vs. Saunders prediction

Surprisingly, the odds are this high in favor of Alvarez. Don't get me wrong, Alvarez should be the favorite, but Saunders is no slouch. You don't become a two-division champion by not being skilled. This will be a more challenging fight for Alvarez than what the odds and pundits think it will be.

Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) fights up to his competition, as evidenced by his great performances against Chris Eubank, Jr, Lee, and the best showing them of all in former middleweight champion David Lemieux in December 2017. But then the bad Billy Joe pops against lower-tier opposition as he fights at their level with Coerces and Murray as the best examples. He could put them away if he had chosen to but decided to keep his foot off the gas pedal and coast his way to victory. Saunders cannot do that against the guy most feel is the sport's top pound-for-pound fighter. 

Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 has faced them all: Floyd Mayweather Jr., Gennadiy Golovkin (twice), Miguel Cotto, and Kovalev. But the one thing he's had problems with in the past is taking on southpaws. He struggled against Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout but still found a way to get past them. 

What we have seen from Alvarez, starting from the second Golovkin fight to what we see at this current time is an entirely different fighter under the tutelage of long-time trainer Eddy Reynoso and his father, Chepo. Reynoso has turned Alvarez from someone who was known for just his power into a complete boxer who sits on top of the proverbial mountain.

Saunders will give Alvarez some problems for the first couple of rounds with his slick and unorthodox style. But Alvarez is going to process the information he's getting from Saunders. 

It's gotten a bit chippy between the two during fight week. Saunders was upset about the size of the ring, which led to a short confrontation between the two on Tuesday and then a heated staredown on Wednesday with Alvarez and Saunders jawing back-and-forth. Things looked like they could get physical, but both fight camps intervened and had to be separated. 

Reynoso feels Alvarez will knock Saunders out in either the sixth or tenth round. 
 

Muehlhausen's pick: Canelo Alvarez

More Canelo vs. Saunders odds

Will the fight go the distance?

Yes:  4/5
No: Evens

Method of victory

Canelo by KO/TKO/Technical Decision/DQ:   Evens
Canelo by points:  5/4
Saunders by KO/TKO/Technical Decision/DQ:   20/1
Saunders by points:  5/1

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