This is a fight that Saunders has been chasing for several years and now the controversial two-weight world champion has his eyes firmly fixed on what he believes will be among the biggest upsets the sport has seen for 20 years, provided it definitely goes ahead amid a tedious row over the size of the ring.
For the great Canelo, meanwhile, this bout is a key step on his quest for 168-pound domination as the heralded four-weight world champion looks to add Saunders’ WBO belt to his WBA (Super), WBC and The Ring titles.
IBF champion Caleb Plant is being lined up to face the winner of this fight in an undisputed showdown in September.
This is unquestionably an almighty step up for undefeated former WBO middleweight title-holder Saunders, who has provided two successful but low-key defences of the belt he won against Shefat Isufi in Stevenage in May 2019 – stopping Marcelo Esteban Coceres on the KSI vs Logan Paul undercard and then outpointing tough veteran Martin Murray in all-British affair in December to move to 30-0 as a professional.
Rocky Fielding, Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Ryan Rhodes and Matthew Hatton are the other Britons to be previously brushed aside by the dominant Mexican pound-for-pound king, whose only career loss to date came as a 23-year-old against the legendary Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2013.
Canelo vs Saunders fight card/undercard in full
The chief support act of the night sees Canelo’s compatriot Elwin Soto defend his WBO junior flyweight belt against Katsunari Takayama of Japan.
Kieron Conway puts his WBA Intercontinental super-welterweight title on the line against 2016 Olympic silver medalist Souleymane Cissokho, Cuban WBO-NABO heavyweight champion Frank Sanchez takes on Nagy Aguilera and explosive super featherweight prospect Marc Castro makes his third professional appearance.
Likewise another of American boxing’s most highly-rated prospects in 2019 World Championship silver medalist Keyshawn Davis.
Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez vs Billy Joe Saunders
Elwin Soto vs Katsunari Takayama
Kieron Conway vs Souleymane Cissokho
Frank Sanchez vs Nagy Aguilera
Marc Castro vs Irving Castillo
Keyshawn Davis vs Jose Antonio Meza
Christian Alan Gomez Duran vs Xavier Wilson
Kelvin Davis vs Jan Marsalek
Canelo vs Saunders date, start time, venue and ring walks
Canelo vs Saunders takes place on Saturday, May 8, 2021 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas – home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
More than 60,000 fans are set to be in attendance at the event, which takes place on Cinco de Mayo weekend.
It will be a familiar late night affair for British fight fans, with the televised card not beginning until 1am BST on Sunday morning.
Ring walks for the headline contest are not expected any earlier than 4am, though the exact time will obviously depend on the length of the undercard bouts.
How to watch Canelo vs Saunders
Canelo vs Saunders is being broadcast live around the world on sports subscription service DAZN.
In the UK, fans can still sign up to DAZN for £1.99 per month.
Canelo vs Saunders fight prediction
Tyson Fury is among those to be convinced that Saunders has what it takes to teach Canelo a “boxing lesson” this weekend.
There is no doubting the 31-year-old’s technical qualities – go back to the win over David Lemieux in Canada in 2017 for a full look at what he can do at his best.
Saunders certainly possesses the confidence, speed and boxing intelligence to make life tricky for Canelo in front of a huge partisan crowd and on top form he can be a match for anyone.
However, Canelo’s superior skills speak for themselves as arguably the world’s best boxer – he’s simply on another level.
Saunders won’t be embarrassed by any means, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him stopped late on.
As it is, we’re going for heavy favourite Canelo to secure a comfortable points win.
Canelo vs Saunders betting odds
Canelo by KO, TKO or DQ: 6/5
Canelo by decision/technical decision: 8/5
Saunders by KO, TKO or DQ: 25/1
Saunders by decision/technical decision: 15/2