Tyson Fury and Billy Joe Saunders are well-known as good friends, the pair have trained together, by all accounts get along well, and have always backed one another for fights.
Fury is again on Saunders’ bandwagon as Billy Joe gets set for by far the biggest fight of his career on May 8, when he faces Canelo Alvarez at AT&T Stadium in Texas.
Saunders (30-0, 14 KO) has never lost a pro fight, but he’s come fairly close a few times, and he’s also been known to let his conditioning badly slip between fights, meaning he has to spend far more time on getting on shape than would be ideal.
But by all accounts, Billy Joe is fully on point for this one, as he’ll need to be.
“Billy Joe Saunders is 100 percent mentally in the right place, he knows what he has to do and he will do it, he will rise up and claim greatness,” Fury wrote on Instagram.
“I was wrote off many times in the past and have always come through. We are cut from the same cloth, same breed of animals. Canelo has fought them all but never a Fighting Gypsy, we are a different breed of animal to anything he has come across before.”
Now it has to be said that Fury is very loyal to the people he likes, and while a very smart man about boxing, he isn’t always right, either. He championed Nathan Gorman against Daniel Dubois, that turned out about like one of my great staff picks upset calls.
But few question that a fully dialed-in Saunders certainly could be a handful for Canelo or anyone else. He’s a tricky, crafty, smart southpaw with skills, and we’ve seen him pull through in those fights where he almost slipped up, too, he’s never had what I’d call a robbery win or anything, though he’s had to escape by the skin of his teeth a couple times.
Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders are set to meet for three of the four major world titles at 168 lbs on May 8 in Texas, and the two fighters spoke at a virtual press conference that premiered today, which you can watch above.
Here are the quotes if you can’t watch the video.
Billy Joe Saunders
On what beating Canelo would mean: “It would mean the absolute world to me. I’ve been boxing since I was five years old, and to get to this stage of my career, this is the pinnacle of the pinnacle. This fight is going to be legacy because of what’s on the line. I’m just happy to be part of this show because when you look back at how far I’ve come to be here — a lot of people are only giving me a chance to ‘take part,’ so I’m going to use the term ‘take part in this show’ until the night.”
“My history’s already written in my head, I just have to follow the script. I know that me doing what I do best and giving everything I’ve got will be history in itself.”
On staying loose but focused in camp: “We still enjoy ourselves, we still make sure we have laughs, because being away from your family for four months is very difficult. I understand that none of this event is a joke.”
“Canelo’s been on my radar ever since I turned pro. He’s one of the two that’s always been there. Now’s my time to shine.”
On movers like Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout giving Canelo problems: “They didn’t win, did they? So I don’t think movement is key but I’m sure it helps. It’s how clever and where you move is more key in this fight. I think that my movement helps me because if one of them bombs is coming, I need to move out the way. So yeah, obviously it helps.”
On Canelo’s power: “We don’t know until the night, until the bell goes. When the bell rings, we’ll see what happens. But he’s the most devastating puncher on the planet and he’s the most fearsome man on the planet. We’ll see when the bell goes. I’ll tell you after the fight.”
On his respect for Canelo: “I respect every fighter who gets in the ring. But there’s no out of the ring generalship that I look at and go, ‘I’m going to bow down.’ We’re humans. I don’t put myself beneath or on top of anyone. I respect him as a fighter, but that’s as far as my respect goes for anyone.”
On Canelo lining up Caleb Plant for later this year: “I only hear yourself (Eddie Hearn) talking about that fight and Canelo’s camp. You tell me more. But I’ll be looking to put a spanner in the works for that. He’s got to beat me first.”
On how he beats Canelo: “By being Billy Joe Saunders.”
“It’s really important to make history. And these fights are very important towards what we want to achieve in boxing. I’m very happy to be on this path and we are training at 100 percent, as always, to reach our goals.”
On Saunders possibly being his toughest opponent: “I know what Billy Joe Saunders brings. He’s a fast fighter who moves a lot. He’s a lefty, a difficult opponent. But at this level I have to adapt to any style, and I’m ready to make history and ready for any style.”
On fighting Cinco de Mayo weekend: “I feel really happy, it’s a big responsibility to represent Mexico on these important dates. I’m very proud and very happy to be able to represent my country on such important dates.”
On having a big crowd again: “I’m really happy to be bringing it all back, especially in boxing. I’m looking forward to a lot of support from the fans at the stadium yelling ‘Canelo!’ It’s going to be incredible.”
On his recent activity level: “I really feel like I’m in my prime. I obviously really wanted to fight after 13 months without a fight. So that’s why I’m fighting three times in a little more than five months. I feel very happy and ready. I’m always ready to fight, and boxing is my life so I’m very happy to be so active.”
Prediction: “I’m going to win, without a doubt. I’m going to win. I’m training at 100 percent. I came to win, I came to make history, and that’s the only thing going through my head.”