Canelo Alvarez has long been set to fight on May 2 in Las Vegas, but nobody knew who the opponent might be. But Alvarez’s next target was finally revealed on Thursday, and it’s an undefeated world champion.
Alvarez, 29, from Mexico, currently holds a secondary title belt at 168, but the real prize will be Saunders’ WBO belt. Both Alvarez and Saunders are former middleweight champions who have since moved up in weight.
Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) is the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in boxing according to The Ring magazine. Saunders is ranked No. 5 at 168 pounds by the same outlet, with Alvarez one spot ahead of him at No. 4.
Alvarez vs. Saunders will take place on May 2 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas according to The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger. Since becoming a boxing superstar on the world stage, Alvarez has traditionally aimed to fight every year in May and September during the Cinco De Mayo and Mexican Independence Day holiday weekends.
The card is expected to stream live on DAZN in the U.S.
Canelo Fighting in Different Weight Classes Continues
Since defeating Gennady Golovkin in a rematch to become the unified middleweight champ in September 2018, Alvarez has competed in three different weight classes each time out. Alvarez defeated Rocky Fielding for a secondary super middleweight title in December 2018, jumped back down to middleweight to defend his belts at 160 against Danny Jacobs in May 2019, then went all the way up to light heavyweight top rip Sergey Kovalev’s 175-pound title away from the Russian via eleventh-round stoppage in November 2019.
Now, Alvarez hopes to take Saunders’ 168-pound belt away from the undefeated southpaw. The win would give Alvarez legitimate world titles in four different weight classes: 154, 160, 168 and 175.
Saunders Could Provide Tough Test for Alvarez
Saunders is a clever southpaw that isn’t easy to hit. Alvarez’s counterpunching ability will be tested to the maximum against the cagey British boxer, but the Mexican is still likely to be heavily favored by oddsmakers in the fight.
Still, Saunders is a solid opponent for Alvarez. He’s never tasted defeat and has won world titles at both middleweight and super middleweight.
Saunders captured his WBO super middleweight title in May 2019 by scoring the unanimous decision win over Shefat Isufi. In November, he defended his new belt for the first time by stopping Marcelo Coceres.
Saunders’ best win was probably his dominant WBO middleweight title defense against David Lemieux in December 2016. The hard-hitting Lemieux was no match for the clever defensive stylist, and Saunders won almost every single round in the fight.