Florida, February 28: Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders will clash in a mouth-watering unification bout on May 8, promoter Eddie Hearn announced.
Canelo defended his WBC and WBA middleweight titles via a brutal TKO after just three rounds against Avni Yildirim in Miami on Saturday (February 27).
After being floored in the third round, Turkish challenger Yildirim managed to make it to the bell but his corner through in the towel before the start of the fourth at Hard Rock Stadium, where the gulf in class was evident from the outset.
Following the mismatch, a blockbuster showdown against unbeaten WBO holder and Englishman Saunders (30-0) was confirmed.
The moment that secured the win for Canelopic.twitter.com/mxofve7qMj— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 28, 2021
"It's Canelo against Saunders — May the 8th — venue announced shortly as he continues to move toward the undisputed championship at 168," Hearn said post-fight on DAZN.
Canelo said: "He's a very difficult fighter. He wants to unify. We want to go for it. We need to go for it.
"People talk whatever, but I'm a very mature fighter. I know how to control myself."
No Boxing, No Life. pic.twitter.com/d3f14seFJj— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 28, 2021
The 30-year-old Canelo is looking to become the first undisputed champion at super-middleweight, with IBF holder Caleb Plant next on the list if he gets past Saunders.
"It hasn't been done," Canelo said of being crowned undisputed champion "I want to make history.
"At 168, no one has done it in the world. I want to make my own history."
Good Night From Miami pic.twitter.com/LN4fhd4xaZ— DAZN Boxing (@DAZNBoxing) February 28, 2021
There was an electric crowd in attendance for the Canelo-Yildirim contest, with fan capacity capped at 15,000 amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Canelo dominated and made his move in the third round – a combination of jabs sending Yildirim to the canvas, and while the latter survived the round, he did not emerge from his corner for the fourth.
"I wanted to have a great fight here," Canelo added. "I needed to knock [him] out, and that's what I did. That's what I had to do."