Billy Joe Saunders’ start to training camp for the most important fight of his career has been delayed due to a bout with the flu.
The unbeaten WBO super middleweight champ revealed that information Friday during an appearance on “The Ak & Barak Show,” which streams weekdays on DAZN and SiriusXM. Saunders stated that he hadn’t trained for 10 days by the time that interview was conducted, but he added that he was looking forward to starting his serious preparation soon for his 12-round, 168-pound title unification fight against Canelo Alvarez.
Mexico’s Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs) and England’s Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) are scheduled to meet May 8 at a site to be determined in the United States.
“I think obviously everyone knows I’ve got to be at me best,” Saunders told co-hosts Barak Bess and Akin Reyes. “But, you know, I’m pushing for time now. Ten days off training. I’ve got the flu, not in shape. I’m still heavy. I’m still, you know, not started camp properly yet.”
Saunders responded sarcastically when Bess asked if, considering the delayed start of training camp, he’ll have enough time to prepare properly for a fight scheduled to take place eight weeks from Saturday night.
“No, I don’t have enough time,” Saunders said. “But, you know, I’m just gonna go over there, pick a check up and go home. And that’s about it.”
Saunders seriously answered when pressed about the additional time off potentially impacting training for a very difficult fight against arguably the best boxer, pound-for-pound, in the sport.
“There’s one thing with me – if I get beat, or if I win a fight, never will I make an excuse, even if there was an excuse,” Saunders said. “From my end, there’s zero excuses. If I’m not good enough to beat Alvarez on the 8th, I’m never gonna be good enough to beat him.”
His illness aside, Saunders has had much more time between bouts to rest than Alvarez.
The 31-year-old Saunders last fought December 4, when he easily out-boxed England’s Martin Murray (39-6-1, 17 KOs) in a 12-rounder at Wembley Arena in London. Alvarez has boxed twice since Saunders’ last fight, though his most recent appearance wasn’t exactly taxing.
The 30-year-old Alvarez said he planned to take one week off following his technical knockout of overmatched mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) on February 27 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. His victory over Yildirim took place just 10 weeks after Alvarez defeated England’s Callum Smith (27-1, 19 KOs) by unanimous decision in their 12-round fight for the WBA and WBC super middleweight championships December 19 at Alamodome in San Antonio.
Alvarez’s fight against Saunders is scheduled for 10 weeks after his easy defeat of Turkey’s Yildirim.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.