Canelo Alvarez is moving on. The unified super middleweight champion picked up an easy victory over WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim on Saturday as he continues his quest to claim all four recognized belts at 168 pounds. With his only current mandatory out of the way, Alvarez has his sights now set on the WBO title, currently held by Billy Joe Saunders.
Alvarez and Saunders are set to meet on May 8 — Cinco de Mayo weekend — at a location to be determined, Matchroom Boxing announced after Alvarez’s win. The two were originally scheduled to meet last May, but the coronavirus pandemic coupled with Saunders’ license being suspended by the British Boxing Board for an insensitive social media post pushed the fight off and it was never rescheduled.
But now that both Alvarez and Saunders are represented by the same promoter — Eddie Hearn — for at least one more fight, the date is set as Alvarez continues his plans of fighting four times in 2021 and five times in 14 months.
“[Saunders] is a very difficult fighter and he has the championship, the WBO. We want to unify,” Alvarez said before being asked about Saunders’ ability to trash talk his opponents on Saturday. “People talk but I’m a mature fighter. I know how to control myself. All I have to do is get into the ring, win and make history. Words are just that.”
Saunders, 31, boasts an undefeated record at 31-0 with 14 knockouts. He’s held the WBO title on two separate occasions. He’s made two defenses of the belt since reclaiming it in 2019 with his most recent bout coming in December 2020 where he scored a decision win over Martin Murray.