Canelo vs Saunders? Not a good match-up for Team AlvarezWritten by Leroy Cleveland
Last night, WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders dominated top-flight contender David Lemieux, winning a unanimous decision by the scores of 117-111 and 118-110 and 120-108.
For all intents and purposes, all three judges should have scored it 120-108.
A massive middleweight who looked much larger than his foe, Saunders moved like a lightweight and gave a boxing clinic. It was a brilliant - and entertaining - display of hit-and-don't-be-hit boxing as Billy Joe landed hard jabs, straight lefts, hooks and uppercuts while forcing the aggressive Lemieux to air-condition the arena from start to finish.
Not only did Billy Joe appear to win every round, he seemed to have won every minute of every round.
Canelo vs Saunders in September?
Should Canelo Alvarez defeat Gennady Golovkin in their rematch in May, don't expect Canelo vs Saunders next.
Fighting Billy Joe Saunders would be too much risk for the reward for Team Alvarez.
For starters, Billy Joe is a southpaw and the biggest middleweight I've ever seen. He would be noticeably bigger and rangier than Canelo just as he was against Lemieux last night.
Saunders is listed as 5'11 but looked every bit of a 6'1" fighter with a light heavyweight reach.
But that's not all...
Saunders wouldn't take the lead against Canelo and try to force toe-to-toe exchanges like Golovkin. Billy Joe is a hit-and-don't-be-hit boxer who likes to dictate the pace without taking risks.
Instead of trying to knockout an opponent, Saunders 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 or Golovkin but his stinging jabs and powershots certainly got Lemieux's attention last night.
And Saunders' footwork is exemplary as it enables him to make opponents miss while he returns fire at angles where he can't be hit. Last night, Lemieux couldn't close distance or cut off the ring. And when he fired shots, his arms were too short to find the target and Saunders was too simply quick to allow David to land meaningful punches. Billy Joe had Lemieux missing badly as the latter plunged wildly into the ropes after missing on several occasions.
Canelo Alvarez is a better fighter than Lemieux. He's quicker, more skilled and wouldn't eat as many clean shots as David did.
However, Saunders' southpaw stance, slick style and speed as well as his height and reach advantage would make Canelo vs Saunders a risky proposition for Team Alvarez given its man would have much more to lose.
Let's not forget, Alvarez had trouble with slick southpaws Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout. Sans Amir Khan, a fella who bolted two weight divisions to face him, Canelo has fought stationery opponents since 2015 (James Kirkland, Miguel Cotto, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Liam Smith and Gennady Golovkin).
Should Canelo and Saunders fight at the end if 2018 (and they won't), Alvarez would be the favorite. And he could very well knockout Saunders, but at this moment Billy Joe would be too much risk for the reward.
Don't expect to see Canelo vs Saunders unless the former can pocket $10 Million.