Ahead of this weekends big fight between Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders we get one of OddsChecker's boxing experts to preview the bout.
Saturday sees a fight that many of us have us have been looking forward to for many years, Canelo vs. Billy Joe Saunders. It's taken a long time to arrive but we're set to finally see the the super middleweight clash this coming weekend.
Over the past few years we've seen Canelo develop into the biggest star in boxing, adored by millions across the world but especially in his home country of Mexico. Billy Joe has spent the past few years differently, he's shown glimpses of his elite quality but also had easy bouts, trouble outside of the ring, and at times has gone for around 12 months without a fight.
We know all about Canelo's resume. He has one defeat to his name, which came against Floyd Mayweather and has fought the biggest names in boxing, Sergey Kovalev, Miguel Cotto, Amir Khan and Gennady Golovkin twice. In my view he was very fortunate to avoid another loss on his CV against Golovkin and that first meeting in particular was a disgrace, and shows just how tough it'll be for any fighter to beat Canelo by decision in a country where he is a massive star. Worryingly for Billy Joe is that he's beaten plenty of Brits throughout his career, including the aforementioned Amir Khan, Rocky Fielding and the Smith brothers, Callum and Liam.
Billy Joe Saunders feels like one of the 'what ifs' of British boxing. He's undoubtedly talented but his career has often failed to hit the great heights that it looked destined to, with the Hertfordshire based boxer to blame in some instances, but also a victim of circumstance in others. He's been chasing a big fight for what feels like a lifetime and it's finally here. In that time he's been treading water, facing boxers who aren't fit to lace his gloves.
That isn't to say Billy Joe doesn't stand a chance, he does, and 67% of bettors in the past week have backed the Brit to win, but it's going to be tough. One thing to give fans of the enigmatic star hope is that performance aginst David Lemieux in December '17. Saunders went to Canada to face the home star and put on a clinic as he defeated the home favorite by unanimous decision. That fight was arguably the highlight of his career and his performance that night offers hope.
Certainly the southpaw is going to be a handful for Canelo and at +500 odds is perhaps too long. When Saunders is at the races he's mobile and smart and has all of the tools to frustrate Canelo and cause him problems. Despite arguments about the size of the ring I think that Saunders is totally tuned-in for this fight. He looks in incredible shape, has been training with this fight in mind for some time and truly believes that he has a sense of destiny, something shared by his longtime friend and heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury.
At a best price of -625 I simply could not recommend betting on Canelo, and yes, I do think that at +500 the odds on Billy Joe are too long, but in truth I wouldn't put my cash on the fighting man from gypsy stock. At 30-years of age the Canelo that Saunders will see in front of him is just too savvy of an operator, he's smarter and more calculated than he used to be, and we simply don't know what 2021 Billy Joe Saunders looks like. I'll be supporting Billy Joe this weekend but part of me wishes this fight took place five or six years ago when talk of a big fight for Saunders was beginning to grow. Back then I truly think Saunders would have beaten Canelo but now it's going to be a far harder task, especially in Texas with a crowd full of supporters.
So if Canelo is to win then how will he do it? Billy Joe is no mug and Canelo won't be able to finish him in three rounds like he did Avni Yildirim. Mike Tyson has claimed that Canelo will win inside two rounds, but he's well wide of the mark. Saunders is too mobile, too smart, too elusive and will be able to evade Canelo's power, at least at the start. Canelo's one defeat came against Mayweather, a master tactician, and although early in his career it showed that he can get beaten by boxing clever, even if that was against a future Hall of Famer. Saunders is as smart as they come and could even outbox Canelo early and potentially through the middle rounds. Billy Joe is slick and has great footwork, he's also a southpaw which has been a weakness for Canelo previously when he's struggled with the likes of Erislandy Lara.
Saunders' struggles against Martin Murray in his last fight should be a concern though, he wasn't able to dominate him in the style that you'd expect and I worry that he'll tire and begin to struggle in the later stages of the fight, potentially leaving himself open to Canelo's power. If this goes to decision then Canelo wins, he's almost too big to fail, but I don't think it will. At +370 you can get Canelo to win by KO in the final four rounds of the fight. That looks like the best value possible for the fight. Canelo may struggle with the tricky Brit to start with but as the fight progresses he'll work his way in and have plenty of firepower left in his fists if and when Saunders gets sloppy.
Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders Picks
1u - Canelo Rounds 9-12 @ +370
|Fighter||Odds (Click to Bet)||Public Betting % (Past 7 Days)||Winnings from $100 Wager|
|Billy Joe Saunders||+500||67%||$600|
Where can I watch Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez vs. Billy Joe Saunders?
Where To Watch: DAZN
Day: Saturday, May 8
Time: 8PM ET