It’s too late now to warn Billy Joe Saunders to be careful what he wishes for.
The Hertford traveller will get what he says he’s always wanted when he journeys to America for a fight with the No 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
Mexican legend Canelo Alvarez stamped Billy Joe’s US travel visa when he crushed a hopelessly outclassed challenger, Avni Yildirim, in Miami on Saturday night.
Billy Joe Saunders (left) should be careful what he wishes for vs Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (right)
As mismatches go, this one was a purler. The Turk, who had talked an aggressive fight, hardly landed a punch before he was decked in the third and promptly quit on his stool at the end of that round.
Billy Joe promises to make more of a go of it on May 8 and there are reasonable grounds for expecting him to do so.
‘Great as he is I have the skill-set, the know-how, the footwork and the mind-set to beat him,’ said Saunders after watching Alvarez’s latest performance.
Well, his clever defence and elusive movement certainly should make for a longer and more intriguing evening.
But what this most talented of British boxers has not yet demonstrated, with less than half the 30 wins in his thus far unbeaten career coming by way of knock-out, is the one-punch stoppage power to upset Canelo.
Alvarez defeated Avni Yildirim in convincing style on Saturday night at Miami Gardens
The victory set up a unification fight with Saunders which will take place on May 8
Nor is Alvarez likely to be unsettled by Billy Joe’s usual insulting line in trash talk.
Although Canelo is already building up Saunders the way he did Yildirim – ‘he will be an awkward opponent’ – he adds this rider: ‘Saunders will not get into my head. I’m a very mature fighter now and I know how to control myself, get into the ring and win.’
This short, squat, body-battering, head-jarring Mike Tyson of the lower divisions is hell-bent on becoming Latin America’s first undisputed world super-middleweight champion. He says: ‘My mission in the prime of my career is to make even more history.’
Next step, then, adding Billy Joe’s WBO title to the WBA, WBC and Ring magazine belts Alvarez already holds. That would leave him bidding to complete the set against IBF champion Caleb Plant in September.
Saunders has the clever movement and defence but lacks the one-punch stoppage power
Canelo has already made mincemeat of six British opponents, namely Matthew Hatton, Ryan Rhodes, Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Rocky Fielding and Callum Smith.
In the case of Callum, Rocky, Amir and now the abject Avni, the taller they are the further they fall.
Now Saunders is on the menu for Mexico’s Cinco de Mayo weekend celebrations.
This could be the fight to bring the crowds back to boxing in Las Vegas. Alternatively, the Cowboys stadium in Dallas is open for spectator business.
Wherever, could Billy Joe be the one to walk the walk after talking the talk? More likely he will run and run, maybe the full 12-round distance to a points defeat.