Billy Joe Saunders says dream fight against Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez could scupper rival's place in history

"You need to think: 'this is my one and only chance to change my name from being good to great’."

Saul Canelo Alvarez
Image: Canelo is 'the face of boxing'

Billy Joe Saunders would "take pleasure" in ruining Mexican fans' holidays by beating their hero Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez.

Unbeaten WBO super-middleweight champion Saunders says his dream fight would be against Canelo on Cinco de Mayo, the May party weekend on which the Mexican traditionally boxes.

"That's because he's the face of boxing and I'd like the chance to beat him," Saunders told Sky Sports. "Here's the really scary thing - I know that I can do it.

"I would take pleasure in ruining Cinco de Mayo for the Mexican fans."

Billy Joe Saunders
Image: Saunders is a two-weight world champion

Saunders held the WBO middleweight title when Gennadiy Golovkin held the division's IBF, WBA and WBC gold. Canelo beat Golovkin after a draw in their first fight, and will next go up two divisions to challenge WBO light-heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev.

But he still holds WBA and WBC belts at middleweight, and Saunders believes they have always been on a collision course.

He said: "I watched Canelo fight Ryan Rhodes and Matthew Hatton. I've known since day one, ever since I put on a pair gloves, that our paths would cross. I always knew, and dreamed, what would happen when we did.

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"Just the same as David Lemieux - I always knew our paths would cross, too, and they did. Just the same as becoming world champion - I always knew I'd do it, and I did."

Billy Joe Saunders
Image: Saunders dreams of a fight with Canelo
Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez celebrates after unifying the middleweight titles
Image: Canelo will fight Kovalev on November 2

Canelo's only defeat in a 55-fight career that has brought him world titles in three divisions was against Floyd Mayweather, six years ago.

"With a fighter like Canelo you can't go into the ring with a game-plan," Saunders said. "You need to think: 'this is my one and only chance to change my name from being good to great'.

"[Former trainer] Jimmy Tibbs always said there's a difference. If I said someone was a great fighter, Jimmy would say: 'No, Muhammad Ali and Rocky Marciano were great fighters - that guy is a good fighter'.

"Canelo isn't great. He's good.

"I might look terrible in 10 fights in a row but if you put Canelo in front of me, it's a different ball-game.

"A fighter like me? My style has beat him before, and I believe I can do it again."

Saunders had previously said, when linking up with promoter Eddie Hearn: "Styles make fights. [Canelo] had all sorts of trouble against Erislandy Lara. I thought Lara nicked that fight when Canelo was in his prime. Now Canelo has knee supports and elbow supports."

Saunders will next defend his world title on the undercard to KSI vs Logan Paul on November 9.

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