Canelo vs Saunders odds don't tell the story

Lee Cleveland Updated
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The status of the May 2nd-scheduled fight between boxing megastar Canelo Alvarez and WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders is still unknown due to international Coronavirus concerns.

A host of other boxing cards, scheduled to take place in March or April, have been cancelled or postponed while more are teetering on those statuses.

Even if Coronavirus is sorted out by May 2, it would be of little consolation to those involved because it takes many weeks to market an event of this magnitude and venue space, hotel rooms and travel logistics (for fans and all involved) have to be in place well before fight weekend.

Perhaps promoters are contemplating the fallout of showcasing Canelo vs Saunders in an empty venue? After all, the network responsible for broadcasting the card, DAZN, is looking to expand its subscriber base and what better way to get the public's attention than when everyone is quarantined at home watching TV and surfing the internet?

In the event Canelo vs Saunders is postponed or canceled, will it be to Alvarez's advantage?

Should it be pushed back, Canelo may have more time to prepare for Saunders's combination of unorthodoxy, speed and size. He's faced opponents as rangy as Saunders as well foes with slippery defenses; But he has yet to face someone so big and so hard to hit.

If the fight is cancelled, it's likely Canelo will shift gears and get ready for his third bout with Gennady Golovkin, tentatively scheduled for September.

Is Billy Joe as dangerous as some say?

Let's see what oddsmakers say....

Canelo vs Saunders odds

Surprisingly, or not so surprisingly, Canelo is a strong favorite. Sugar House, FOXBet and 888 sport have Alvarez sitting at -500 and Saunders, the underdog, at +350. Hence, a successful $500 wager on Canelo would yield $100 while a successful $100 bet on Billy Joe would payout $350.

How do the odds stack up with previous fights?

In his most recent bout, Canelo (-360) was a tighter favorite against then light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev (+300). And against Daniel Jacobs last May, Canelo sat at -450 while Jacobs was an attractive +333.

In both fights we saw Canelo struggle a bit. Against Jacobs, Alvarez started well but allowed Jacobs to win 3 of the last 4 rounds on the two of the judges' scorecards. The official tallies, all favor of Canelo, were 115-113 twice and 116-112. Although the decision wasn't controversial, some insisted it could have been a draw while a few, like Juan Manuel Marquez, believed Jacobs edged his foe in the end.

Canelo's Last 6 Fights

Won TKO 11 Sergey Kovalev
Nov 2, 2019

Won UD 12 Daniel Jacobs
May 4, 2019

Won MD 12 Gennady Golovkin
Sep 15, 2018

Draw 12 Gennady Golovkin
Sep 16, 2017

Won UD 12 Julio Cesar Chavez Jr
May 6 2017

Won KO 9 Liam Smith
Sep 17, 2016

Against Kovalev, the fight was still up for grabs on the scorecards heading into the 11th Round when Canelo ended matters with a brutal 1-2 combination. Two judges had it scored 96-94 in Canelo's favor while the third had it 95-95.

The odds are slightly wider for Saunders than was the case for Canelo vs Jacobs and Kovalev, even though some believe Billy Joe possess the biggest risk.


Billy Joe Saunders is a defense-minded southpaw with good hit-and-don't-be-hit boxing skills who can frustrate anyone with his movement, footwork and fast reflexes.

Saunders's Last 6 Fights

Won TKO 11 Marcelo Esteban Coceres
Nov 9, 2019

Won UD 12 Shefat Isufi
May 18, 2019

Won TKO 5 Charles Adamu
Dec 22, 2018

Won UD 12 David Lemieux
Dec 16, 2017

Won UD 12 Willie Monroe Jr
Sep 16, 2017

Won UD 12 Artur Akavov
Dec 3, 2016

He befuddles foes with jabs and combinations while dropping hard leather on occasion to keep his foe at bay. Billy Joe doesn't have the explosiveness of Canelo Alvarez or Gennady Golovkin but his stinging jabs and powershots can certainly get one's attention.

In all, Saunders's southpaw stance, slick style and speed as well as his height and reach advantage could make Canelo vs Saunders a risky proposition for Team Alvarez given its man would have much more to lose.

Conventional wisdom says Canelo will have to close distance or cut off the ring to be effective against Saunders but that's easier said than done.

Canelo is the favorite because his resume and pro pedigree are far deeper than Billy Joe's. Let's face it, Alvarez would be a huge step up for Saunders. Moreover, Canelo is the more explosive puncher and has a more crowd pleasing and judge-friendly style than Sauders who has won ugly on a number of occasions.

Also, in his most recent bout against a less rangy Marcelo Esteban Coceres, Saunders showed he was capable of getting touched up. And while the latter produced an 11th Round stoppage, the fight was up for grabs to that point. Saunders was ahead 96-94 on two cards and behind by the same score on the other.

Nevertheless, as of today, March 15, the Canelo vs Saunders odds should be appealing to those who think Saunders can muster the upset. 

Key Canelo vs Saunders Questions

How will Canelo deal with Saunders' s southpaw stance, range, reflexes and movement?

Given their styles, would a distance fight favor Saunders?

How will Saunders react to the major step up in class? Alvarez has faced fellas in Saunders's league but Billy Joe has never faced anyone in Canelo's.

Will motivation be a factor for Canelo? Saunders is not regarded as highly as previous Alvarez opponents such as Golovkin, Jacobs and Kovalev? Rest assured, Billy Joe will be motivated for Canelo.


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