KEY POINTS

  • Canelo Alvarez could be mentally flat against Billy Joe Saunders
  • Teddy Atlas believes Saunders could give Canelo a much tougher fight
  • Saunders said fans have already seen the best of Alvarez

Canelo Alvarez’s return to the ring could be against Billy Joe Saunders. But the bout is yet to be finalized due to the Coronavirus pandemic which has affected sports all over the world. The belief, however, is that the face-off will still happen this year – reportedly in June - with the Mexican superstar being tagged as the early favorite to win.

But boxing trainer and sportscaster Teddy Atlas issued a warning for Alvarez, saying that complacency, plus the effects of having to trim down in weight, could make the four-division world champion mentally flat facing the English fighter.

“Canelo has gone up and come down, and it could be an impact on his performance and an impact on his body,” Atlas said, per Boxing News 24. “There could be an impact mentally where you get a little flat. He’s been in so many big fights. The GGG fights, of course, that wasn’t that long ago at middleweight. You go up to light heavyweight and you come back down. You’re fighting a guy (Saunders) that you’re expecting to beat.”

Besides the mental aspect added with too much confidence that might take its toll on the 29-year-old slugger, Atlas also believes the “blue-collar” Saunders already has the toolbox to go toe-to-toe against Alvarez.

“Saunders is an overachiever. He’s a blue-collar guy,” added Atlas. “I think Saunders will give him a much tougher fight. The guy that knows he can handle that competition. That means something too. I think Billy Joe Saunders is going to give him a hell of a fight. And I think it’s going to be a strategic fight.”

 The undefeated Saunders, meanwhile, recognized Alvarez when he spoke about the potential fight. “I rate (Alvarez) as the best pound-for-pound at the moment,” he said. “I really do rate him, I think that he’s a brilliant fighter, he’s complete.”

He added, though, that fans have already witnessed the peak of his potential nemesis whilst he is just on his way to his prime.

“But the thing is, I believe that we’ve seen the best of him. We haven’t seen the best of me yet. I have seen the absolute best of him; the Golovkin fight twice, the Danny Jacobs fight, he’s not going to get any better than that,” Saunders said. “I believe on my night — as long as everything is bang-on right for me — I believe I’ve got the beating of Canelo Alvarez, but he’s a brilliant champion. You have to beat the best to be the best.”

Canelo Alvarez Canelo Alvarez will be dropping down to 160 pounds again. In this picture, Alvarez celebrates after technical knockout of Rocky Fielding in their WBA Super Middleweight title bout at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Dec. 15, 2018. Photo: Sarah Stier/Getty Images