It will finally be about what happens inside the ring for Billy Joe Saunders when he faces Canelo Alvarez in Saturday’s super middleweight unification bout at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The underdog from England has raised concerns this week about everything from the three-judge panel lacking a representative from the United Kingdom to the size of the ring he will fight Alvarez in.
Ultimately, Saturday presents a the biggest opportunity of his career for Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs). All four major titles are on the line against Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs), who is arguably the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Canelo Alvarez a huge favorite vs. Billy Joe Saunders
Alvarez’s only professional defeat came against Floyd Mayweather eight years ago. The Mexican superstar is a -715 favorite by BetRivers, where he has been backed by 95 percent of the total fight bets and 96 percent of the total fight handle.
Alvarez is an even stronger favorite at DraftKings (-770), where he has been backed by 82 percent of the bets and 79 percent of the handle.
Saunders, 31, currently holds the WBO belt, and is the decided underdog at +475 by BetRivers and +240 by DraftKings.
A potential crowd of 70,000 people is expected at AT&T Stadium, with the card also including a title fight between Elwin Soto (18-1, 12 KOs) and Katsunari Takayama (32-8, 12 KOs) for Soto’s junior flyweight belt.
But the night is expected to belong to the 31-year-old Alvarez, who has won six consecutive bounds since a controversial draw against Gennady Golovkin in 2017. Alvarez, who is fighting for the third time in six months, opened as -580 favorite at BetRivers and has only seen those odds shrink.
Promoter Eddie Hearn said the ringside judging panel will be comprised of judges from neutral countries, with Saunders claiming earlier this week that all he wants is “a fair shake.”
He’s the latest challenger for Alvarez, a world champion in four weight classes who has defeated six previous English challengers. That streak began with a points decision against Matthew Hatton when Alvarez was 20 years old in 2011, and has continued through a victory over Liverpool’s Callum Smith last December.
That marked the first loss of Smith’s career, and Alvarez is intent on inflicting the same result on Saunders.
The largest bet at BetRivers has been a $10,000 wager on Alvarez at -667 with a potential payout of $11,500. The largest potential payout by the book is $12,600 on a $100 wager backing Saunders to defeat Alvarez in the fifth round. Considering Alvarez has never been stopped in his career, the prop bet carries longshot odds at +12500.
–Field Level Media