Although Canelo Alvarez next fight appears to be against British WBO super middleweight champ Billy Joe Saunders, there clearly is a dispute as to whether the deal is done as of yet.
And that’s between two prominent boxing insiders, who have squared off over the social media over the last 24 hours about whether the fight is set or not?
Mike Coppinger of the Athletic and Dan Rafael of ESPN.com spent much of a Friday night and into Saturday “trading barbs” over whether Alvarez’s next fight on May 2nd will be against the unbeaten Saunders.
First, Coppinger reported on Thursday that the deal had been agreed to, although not officially announced yet, for the four-division world champion, Alvarez to finally have an opponent for the “Cinco de Mayo” weekend in Las Vegas and to fight on DAZN:
Sources: Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders have agreed to terms for a super middleweight title fight May 2 at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena. DAZN will stream the fight live worldwide, including in U.K. Press conference expected next week. Details:https://t.co/pDxZPepTaa
— Mike Coppinger (@MikeCoppinger) March 5, 2020
Rafael then responded to fan on Twitter asking about the fight not having been announced and disputed Coppinger’s claim that the fight was agreed to and waiting to be signed, with this response:
Nope, more to it than that
— Dan Rafael (@danrafaelespn) March 6, 2020
Rafael later sent another tweet saying that Coppinger was “100% inaccurate” drawing an analogy that deals can be agreed to but, not signed like in the NFL and MLB.
Now, it’s entirely possible that Coppinger’s reporting is correct and fight has been agreed to, including most importantly for the amount of money that Saunders is to receive to fight Alvarez, but some haggling over other smaller details has kept it from being finalized.
But, Coppinger had also reported last week that amount for Saunders being around $7 million U.S. dollars, but that’s when Matchroom boxing promoter Eddie Hearn refuted on social media that Coppinger’s figure was not correct telling Coppinger that his figure was not correct.
In any event, all of this comes on the heels of a report earlier this week that DAZN streaming service Chief Executive John Skipper had met personally with Alvarez trying to secure the next three fights on their massive lucrative deal with the four division world champion. Skipper and DAZN were wanting to finalize the May 2nd fight to be able to announce and promote it for at least eight weeks. They can now do that.
Alvarez was last in the ring, as a Light Heavyweight on November 2nd of last year winning the WBO version of the 175 lb. title with an 11th round KO of Sergey Kovalev. It is believed this fight will be at 168 lb. where Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) holds the WBO version of that weight division’s world title.
Also reportedly, the discussion for the next fight in the 11 fight deal Canelo signed with DAZN in 2018 is a September third fight with former Undisputed middleweight champion, Gennady Golovkin. Golovkin currently holds the IBF 160 lb. title, but he suffered his first pro loss at the hands of Alvarez on a 12-round decision in September of 2018.
So what’s the truth?
Here’s a big clue: No one, not Rafael, not any other boxing insider or Hearn is saying it’s not Saunders against Canelo. Rafael is just saying “not done, yet.”
Now, we wait.
With the clock ticking for eight weeks from now.