KEY POINTS

  • Billy Joe Saunders pulled out of Canelo Alvarez fight
  • Canelo has been linked to a new yet unlikely opponent, David Lemieux
  • Lemieux's promoter said the Canelo fight is already being negotiated

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and his team are reportedly now in talks with a new yet unlikely opponent for his return in September.

Just when boxing fans were ready to witness multi-division champ Canelo finally step inside the ring against Billy Joe Saunders in September, the latter decided to pull out from the fight.

Saunders has been yearning for a megafight with Canelo but was hindered by the lockdown. When finally given the chance, the undefeated champ immediately signed the contract. However, after a meeting with Golden Boy Promotions — Alvarez’s current promotion firm — Saunders decided to withdraw from the fight as he didn’t agree with the terms that came with it.

“Listen, they didn’t want to give me proper time to train and they wanted to take millions of pounds from me. We all sat down at MTK and had a chat. We decided that if they aren’t going to do it properly we move on,” Saunders told World Boxing News.

Saunders, who boasts a flawless record of 29-0, further revealed that “Canelo hadn’t even signed the contract yet. Only my signature was on it.”

Despite Saunders backing down, Canelo will not be left without an opponent for his return. The Mexican star is reportedly still scheduled to fight in September, but he will face a new yet unlikely opponent in David Lemieux.

Canelo has been linked to several new challengers in recent months, but Lemieux’s name was rarely mentioned. And though Lemieux doesn't present a strong case to be the multi-division champ's next challenger, the Canadian is no journeyman as he was a former IBF middleweight champ.

Lemieux’s promoter, Camille Estephan, claimed Canelo vs. Lemieux is already in the works, but talks are still at the early stages.

“David is indeed in the discussions. I spoke to Eric Gomez (one of the bosses of Golden Boy) on Thursday (July 2) about this,” Estephan told Journal de Montréal (via Boxing News 24).

One thing Estephan confirmed was that his fighter will not step inside the ring with Canelo for a cheap price.

“We are still at the early stage in this file. It will depend on the offers made to us. One thing’s for sure, David is not going to fight for a bargain,” she added.

Aside from Lemieux, Callum Smith, Chris Eubank Jr. and John Ryder also emerged as Saunders’ possible replacement. All three of them have been vocal about their desire to fight Canelo, but it was Lemieux’s team who reportedly advanced to the first step.