By: Hans Themistode
Billy Joe Saunders knows good and well that the deck is stacked against him. The WBO super middleweight titlist is only a few days away from taking on unified champion Canelo Alvarez at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas this coming weekend.
Currently, the betting odds have listed Saunders as a long shot to pull off the upset. To go even further, the boxing public believes his chances come Saturday night are virtually zero. Regardless of those sentiments, WBC heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury, is standing firmly behind his countrymen.
“He’s going to rise up to the occasion,” said Fury during an interview with FightHype.com. “He’s going to give Canelo a boxing lesson. I’ve always said it, Billy Joe is the man to beat him. Billy Joe is undefeated in over a decade now. He’s unbeaten in 30 fights and no one has come close to beating him and I don’t think Canelo will.”
In the mind of many, Alvarez tops the charts on virtually every pound-for-pound list. At the age of 30, the Mexican product has won world titles in four separate weight classes, defeated some of the biggest names the sport of boxing has ever seen in Miguel Cotto, Gennadiy Golovkin and several others. Alvarez is also highly motivated to become the first undisputed world champion in super middleweight history.
But while Alvarez has run through the competition for years now, Fury doesn’t look at the pound-for-pound star as a supernatural force. In actuality, behind the world titles, flashy combination punches and endless accolades, lies a man who bleeds just like everyone else.
“Canelo is an excellent fighter, great fighter but he’s not the animal, beast, killer people make him out to be. He’s just a man with a pair of boxing gloves like us all. He can be beaten, he has been beaten before. People are scared before they even go in there and they already lose. Billy Joe ain’t scared of a fight. Billy Joe came out of the womb fighting like myself. We’ve fought to survive, we fought to live. On the world’s biggest stage, he’s going to rise to the occasion and win.”
If Fury is indeed correct, many believe Saunders best chance of pulling off the upset is to box Alvarez and avoid long, drawn-out exchanges. Although Fury wouldn’t exactly disagree with those sentiments, he’s also fully aware that at some point, boxing and moving won’t work. If Saunders truly wants to walk away with the biggest win of his career, Fury believes he’ll have to draw a line in the sand, bite down on his mouthpiece and let his hands fly in the center of the ring.
“This is a fight. I always say you can’t go swimming and not get wet. You’re going to have to fight sooner or later.”