Billy Joe Saunders On Canelo-Plant Fight In September: He Has Got To Beat Me First

Billy Joe Saunders has heard and read a lot about Canelo Alvarez’s vision for becoming boxing’s fully unified super middleweight champion.

Defeating England’s Saunders on May 8 would give Alvarez all but one of the 168-pound titles he’d need to complete that championship mission. If the Mexican icon becomes the first fighter to beat the British southpaw next month, he is expected to pursue a showdown with unbeaten IBF champ Caleb Plant.

The target date for an Alvarez-Plant fight likely would be September 18. Saunders is confident, of course, that Plant will have to fight him, not Alvarez, to win the WBA and WBC belts Alvarez holds and Saunders’ WBO belt.

Eddie Hearn, whose company promotes Alvarez and Saunders, asked Saunders about talk of an Alvarez-Plant fight during a virtual press conference that debuted Wednesday on Matchroom Boxing’s YouTube channel.

“Well, you know, I only hear, you know, yourself, Eddie, talking about that fight and Canelo’s camp,” Saunders said. “So, you know, you tell me more. But, you know, I’ll be looking to put a spanner in the works for that. Same as I did with previous champions when they’re talking about other fights. They’ve got to beat me first.”

If Alvarez gets past Saunders, Plant (21-0, 12 KOs), of Ashland City, Tennessee, would not be expected to box before facing the four-division champion in what would be the most profitable fight of Plant’s career.

Most Internet sports books list Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs) as at least a 6-1 favorite to beat Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) in their 12-round fight for their three super middleweight championships. DAZN will stream their fight worldwide as a main event from the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

“I respect every fighter who gets in the ring,” Saunders said. “You know, I have to respect him because of the life is put on the line. But, you know, there’s out-of-the-ring generalship that I look at and think, you know, I’m gonna bow down to – that’s for sure. As humans, we’re all one and I don’t put myself beneath or on top of anyone. So, I respect him as a fighter, but that’s as far as it gets in my respect for anyone.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.