It’s hard to know what to expect when momentum meets the hard-nosed challenge of a top-level opponent, and that is why the upcoming bout between the unbeaten Billy Joe Saunders and hardened pro Saul ‘Canelo’ Álvarez is so hard to call.
Yes, Saunders is a year older than Álvarez, but there is a significant gap between the pair in terms of the quality of opponents they have faced throughout their respective careers.
As the pair square up on May 8th, Álvarez will go into the fight as the favourite, and he boasts a fine run of form having won his last six bouts.
The Mexican looked in fine form when he defeated Avni Yıldırım back in February, and Saunders is the next man seeking to take the WBA, WBC and The Ring super middleweight titles off Álvarez’s hands.
The British boxer has the advantage of having never tasted defeat in his career, and that kind of winning mentality does not bay easily, even against the might of a hardened fighter like Álvarez.
Saunders’ record of 30 professional wins is not to be sniffed at, and although Álvarez is tipped to give him a tough time at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, that winning habit makes Saunders a very dangerous opponent.
Where Saunders may well fall short is in the quality of opponents he has faced in his career. While 30 consecutive wins seems like an almighty record, it’s fair to say he does not boast anything close to the impressive CV of Álvarez, who has fought off some of the sport’s best middleweights to get to this point in his career. Those who seek to bet on the Saul Alvarez v Billy Joe Saunders fight may well be swayed by the Mexican’s superior pedigree, and it’s up to Saunders to prove them wrong on the night.
It’s clear that the man from Welwyn Garden City is determined to make his name in this fight, and if he were to spring a surprise and get the better of Álvarez, it would be a seminal moment in his career. All he can do is focus on what has got him to this point, and this landmark bout against one of the world’s best: winning. Those 30 wins bring a sense of invincibility, and the key for Saunders is recognising that Álvarez is probably the toughest test of his career, while still maintaining the confidence and self-belief that has seen him build such a consistent record.
It could all come crashing down on Saturday, and if you read the boxing betting tips on Betfair’s blog, few are giving the Brit any hope whatsoever of downing his Mexican opponent. But that should motivate Saunders. Boxing’s history is littered with underdog stories, and Saunders’ unbeaten record could well be the key to garnering enough self-belief to give Álvarez an extremely tough night.
Momentum plays a huge role in sport, and while the Mexican will rightly be confident of swatting Saunders aside, those 30 consecutive victories still look pretty impressive regardless of who the opponents were. The Brit will be hoping to make the headlines this weekend and make that number 31.