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Hearn: Saunders-Smith in play if no Canelo

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Hearn: Saunders-Smith in play if no Canelo

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom Boxing

Hearn: Saunders-Smith in play if no Canelo

Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders are two fighters who look to be closer to a matchup than ever in 2020.

Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn in speaking with iFL TV, laid out the prospects of the two facing off if Canelo Alvarez doesn’t select him next.

“Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders obviously both want the Canelo Alvarez fight,” Hearn told IFL TV during his yearly wrapup on their YouTube channel. “And they’re ready to go. But if neither of them gets it, they should unify against each other immediately.”

These two names appear to be the front runners in the ever so exclusive “I want to fight Canelo sweepstakes” ever since Alvarez dropped the WBO belt in December after winning it from Sergey Kovalev. We’ll all know who Canelo wants whenever he tells us, but Hearn explained to iFL the case for both fighters to take him on.

“When you look at Callum, very close fight with John Ryder,” Hearn said. “I think he’s at the stage in his career now where he needs those big tests and those fights that are really gonna get him motivated. I feel that Billy Joe is in exactly the same boat. Went to America, actually I had him losing that fight. I think he was behind on one card and up on two. It was very, very close. Put together a brilliant knockout to get Coceres out of there. If he would’ve gone through that fight and won on points in a close fight, it would’ve been a real kick in the nuts. He come through with a great knockout.

“And Billy and Callum, you know, I said to [trainer] Joe Gallagher the other day, I said to MTK [Global] the other day, ‘Just to let you know, I’m offering these guys to Canelo. So, whatever they come back with, I’m gonna be completely honest with you guys. There’s no, you know, matching one up against the other, then playing one off against the other. I’ll be totally up front.’

The unification bout for Saunders and Smith will, as we all expect, depends on if either guy is next up for Canelo.

“Basically, you’re on the end of a phone, waiting for the golden call, to tell you who Canelo wants to fight you next,” Hearn said. “And if he doesn’t fight one of those guys next, then they should fight each other, and they should unify. But I believe [Canelo] will [fight Saunders or Smith]. So, the answer is, what does the other person do?

“If you’re Billy Joe Saunders, do you go and try to get a unification fight with Caleb Plant or David Benavidez? For me, if the Callum Smith or the Canelo fight wasn’t there, I’d probably rather see him drop down to 160 and fight Demetrius Andrade in what would be a big fight in America as well. There’s other fights out there for him. There’s the Gennadiy Golovkin fight at 168 as well.”

Those positions could all play out for either guy, what’s interesting with Hearn pitching that is if any guy is going to be interested in any of those non-Canelo scenarios. I don’t recall anyone in boxing circles or public asking for Saunders-Plant, or anyone thinking Smith will move down to fight Andrade. Time will shake out on who faces who, but safe assumptions for either guy if they don’t get Canelo if they would try to place their hat in for a match against Golovkin.

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Marquis Johns is a unknown humorist and avid boxing fan. His love for the sweet science goes back to when matches were 15 rounds and has been covering fights since closed-circuit pay-per-views. Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth is not only a quote by Mike Tyson, it's also a pretty good reminder to keep your guard up.

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