Canelo Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders tale of the tape: How boxers compare after huge title unification fight CONFIRMED
1st March 2021

BILLY JOE SAUNDERS has finally had his crack at supremacy CONFIRMED with a May 8 showdown against pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez.

The slick southpaw has long called to face Canelo or his former middleweight rival Gennady Golovkin.

And after Alvarez retained his WBC, WBA and Ring Magazine super-middleweight belts against Avni Yildirim, the unification was announced.

Saunders will also put his WBO title on the line in exchange for a chance to become only the second man after Floyd Mayweather to beat Canelo.

Here SunSport details how they compare.

Canelo Alvarez

The Mexican superstar turned pro at just 15 in his homeland in 2005, but he made his US debut 23 fights and three years later.

Six years after turning over, Canelo became WBC light-middleweight champion beating Ricky Hatton's brother Matthew.

He won the WBA belt too in 2013 against Austin Trout, which set him up with a blockbuster pay-per-view with Mayweather.

But Canelo, only 23 at the time, was handed a humbling boxing lesson by master tactician Mayweather over 12 rounds.

After that defeat, Alvarez won one more title at light-middle, against Liam Smith, before finally moving to middleweight for Golovkin.

The pair had two thrillers, starting with their draw in 2017, before Canelo won the rematch and unified belts a year later.

Afterwards, he moved up to super-middle, winning the WBA's secondary 'Regular' belt, before defending his middleweight crown against Danny Jacobs.

Canelo in 2019 moved up as high as light-heavyweight and KO'd Sergey Kovalev for the WBO title.

To ensure he was a full-fledged four-division champ, Alvarez challenged Smith for the WBA title last year, winning a shutout on the cards.

Since Canelo's sole defeat, by Mayweather, he has become a defensive maestro and moving up weights has only increased his punching power.

Billy Joe Saunders

Saunders was a standout amateur, representing England and Britain at several international tournaments, but he was beaten in round two of the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

The same year, BJS turned pro at middleweight and picked up the Commonwealth and British title by 2012.

His first major test came in 2014, in a European title fight against domestic rival Chris Eubank Jr.

Saunders, who claimed to have had just a six-week training camp, started fast but Eubank Jr came on strong in the second half.

BJS edged a split-decision, which only heightened the pair's feud, with a rematch still talked about to this day.

Saunders became world champion for the first time in 2015, beating Andy Lee to win the WBO belt.

He made three defences – including a career-best win against David Lemieux in 2017 – before moving up in weight.

Saunders then became a two-division champ after winning the WBO super-middle crown against  Shefat Isufi in 2019.

Since then, the Brit has fought just twice, most recently sending Martin Murray into retirement in December.

Despite Saunders' tricky style, unbeaten record and name recognition, the biggest threat to his progression is inactivity, failing to fight more than twice in a year since 2013.

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