Billy Joe Saunders obviously hopes he gets the opportunity to challenge Canelo Alvarez once the boxing business gets back to normal.
The unbeaten WBO super middleweight champion won’t allow the postponement of their May 2 fight or the possibility of that bout being canceled altogether affect him, though. After returning to his home in England from training camp in Las Vegas earlier this week, Saunders is just trying to remain healthy and positive about the southpaw’s showdown with Alvarez being rescheduled for some point this summer.
“It’s not one bit frustrating for me because it’s something that’s out of our own government’s hands, this stuff,” Saunders said in reference to the coronavirus pandemic during an interview with IFL TV. “It would’ve been frustrating if it would’ve been, oh, I got cut in sparring or one was injured or something like that, or something happened with the show. Then yeah, that would be frustrating. But, you know, the complete boxing world’s on lockdown. You know? So, it is what it is. There’s not gonna be any boxing at all until we get the nod from Mr. Boris Johnson and our country, you know?”
Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) acknowledged that it’ll “possibly” be too late for him to face Alvarez if the COVID-19 lockdown lasts too long because Alvarez also has agreed to battle rival Gennadiy Golovkin a third time. The targeted date for the third Alvarez-Golovkin fight is September 12, which means Alvarez-Saunders would have to happen by June to afford Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) some time off between the Saunders bout and the start of training camp for another fight versus Golovkin (40-1-1, 35 KOs).
If Alvarez lost to Saunders, it would damage the appeal of a third Alvarez-Golovkin fight DAZN executive chairman John Skipper has wanted since signing Golovkin to a nine-figure contract a year ago. Saunders thus has braced himself for the potential need to go in a different direction than Alvarez.
“It’s happened to me before, yeah?,” Saunders said. “I’ve had these big fights and they’ve not materialized or happened. So, it’s not the first time I’ve been through this experience. I know what it’s about. But if it’s not meant to happen for me, it’s not meant to happen. Please, God, it does. Fingers crossed, I hope it does. MTK [Global] has reassured me, ‘Look, we’re doing everything we can,’ along with [promoter] Eddie Hearn.
“So, look, Eddie has been around the job long enough. I’m sure that, you know, he knows what can happen and what can’t happen. He’s very hopeful it will still happen, as is my team. So, I can only do what I can do, what’s in my hands. So, I’m just ticking over, doing a bit of training, isolating, making sure that I’m all right, you know?”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.