Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14KOs) faces the toughest and biggest test of his professional career this Saturday night as he’s set to trade blows with WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super-middleweight champion Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez (55-1-2, 37KOs) in a unification bout at the AT&T Stadium in Texas.
The Mexican, who boasts an impressive 55-win record, is widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world right now and for that reason his opponent is being given little leverage in the Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders odds. It’s hardly a surprise that Canelo is the heavy odds-on favourite, but it’s evident that Saunders has his work cut out if he wants to cause a huge upset stateside this weekend.
The Welwyn Garden City-native will lengthen the list of Brits to have gone toe-to-toe with Canelo. However, he will certainly be hoping for a much better outcome when the final bell rings on May 8th. So, without giving too much more away, let’s look at how those from the United Kingdom have fared against the Mexican in the past.
Callum Smith – lost via unanimous decision (December 2020)
Callum Smith was the most recent Brit to face Canelo, and unfortunately for the Liverpudlian, his WBA, WBC and Ring Magazine super-welterweight titles were ripped from his grasp in the process. It was a comfortable victory on the scorecards for the Mexican, with all three judges favouring Canelo (119-109, 119-109, 117-111). Credit must be given to Smith for not giving up without a fight and lasting the distance, especially after being wobbled more than once in the ninth round.
Rocky Fielding – lost via TKO (December 2019)
12 months prior to Smith’s defeat, Rocky Fielding felt the wrath of Canelo. Unlike his fellow Liverpudlian, Fielding didn’t put up much of a fight against the Mexican. The Brit, who didn’t have much backing in the boxing betting tips from Betfair, was knocked down four times at New York’s Madison Square Garden before the referee waved off the fight in the third round. Canelo also stripped Fielding of the WBA super-middleweight title.
Liam Smith – lost via KO (September 2016)
Liam Smith was defending his WBO light-middleweight title for a third time against Canelo at the AT&T Stadium in September 2016. However, unlike Smith’s previous opponents, the Mexican proved too much to handle and, after a couple of prior knockdowns, the Liverpudlian failed to make the referee’s count following a fierce body shot in the ninth round.
Amir Khan – lost via KO (May 2016)
Amir Khan moved up two divisions to challenge Canelo at middleweight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas in May 2016, and, for the most part, Khan frustrated the Mexican. The Briton’s speed and combinations arguably landed him the first few rounds, not only annoying Canelo, but also the 20,000-strong Sin City crowd. It was starting to look like Khan’s night until he let his guard slip in the sixth round, inviting a massive overhand right, which brutally left the Bolton-native sprawled out on the canvas. Canelo ultimately retained his WBC and Ring Magazine middleweight titles.
Ryan Rhodes – lost via TKO (June 2011)
In June 2011, journeyman Ryan Rhodes made the brave move of going to face a young Canelo in his own backyard – Guadalajara. Álvarez, who was only in his early 20s, ended the fight with just seconds to spare of the final round. Rhodes was hurt by the right hook of Canelo, and with the Mexican pushing for a finish, the referee was left with no choice but to step in and the end of barrage of blows being thrown the Briton’s way.
Matthew Hatton – lost via unanimous decision (March 2011)
A bout against Matthew Hatton, the younger brother of multiple-time world champion Ricky Hatton, at the Honda Center in Anaheim was Canelo’s first time headlining a big card in the United States. It was also a first major world title attempt for both fighters. Canelo dominated his much smaller opponent from the off, knocking him down twice en route to a comfortable victory on the scorecards, with all three judges scoring the bout 119-108.