Top boxing trainer Dave Coldwell joined talkSPORT on Thursday to give a breakdown of why Canelo Alvarez would be a very difficult fight for Billy Joe Saunders.
Mexico’s pound-for-pound king breezed through Callum Smith last month, claiming the WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles, and is now assessing options for his next challenge.
His idea is to get WBC mandatory Avni Yildirim out of the way in a Guadalajara homecoming on February 27 before then taking a big fight in May – potentially against Saunders.
Coldwell told White and Jordan on talkSPORT: “If there’s a style out there to give Canelo problems, or that has given him problems in the past, Billy Joe’s got that kind of style.
“The southpaw, slickster, good feet and the sharp counter-puncher.
“But the problem that I see is that Canelo’s been improving over the years, he’s clearly been improving.
“He took his defeat against Mayweather, took things from then, added it to his game.
“Each fight there’s been more subtle things. He’s very, very efficient at what he does, closing the ring down.
“And in that period of time, has Billy, for all his potential, has he showed improvement? I’m not sure he has.
“Going back a couple of years I gave him a great chance of beating Canelo, at least competing all the way.
“Now I look at the differences in improvements, I look at Billy now, I know he keeps saying he needs to be up for a challenge, but it’s a lifestyle, boxing’s a lifestyle.
“And I do think preparation in each camp you should be improving, not just training to lose the weight and staying at the same sort of level that you are.
“I think at that elite level, that catches up on you, so I would make Canelo a big favourite. I just think Canelo’s a different level.”
Coldwell previously trained Ryan Rhodes for his defeat to Alvarez back in 2011.
He continued: “I think the problem that every fighter faces when you get in with Canelo is you don’t realise it [how good he is] until you get in there with him.
“I remember years back – he’s improved so much since – but years back I had Ryan Rhodes fight Canelo.
“You can watch, you can study on YouTube, but when you get in there, that’s when you appreciate the subtlety of his defence.
“As he’s gone on, his defence has become so much better. His head movement, his parrying, his blocking. His defence is fantastic.
“The problem is, he’s walking you down, positioning his feet, he might not have the fastest feet in the world, but he’s got the intelligence to place them in the right spots at the right time.
“Couple that with his defence – you can feel you’re in the range to throw, but you’re not having success.
“When he counters you, he stops you from wanting to throw and then you shut down.
“When you look at Canelo against Erislandy Lara, he had difficult moments against guys that are southpaw, slick, good mover, but he’s improved so much from then.
“Style wise, Billy’s got the best style there is and his ring IQ is fantastic.
“But I just think that over the course of the 12 rounds, the constant pressure, physical and mental pressure that Canelo’s gonna put on you, beating up the body, and the defence.
“Especially with Billy not being the biggest puncher, I think it’s a very, very tough ask for him to keep going with his boxing skills, to outbox him, to move him for 12 rounds, I don’t think he can keep Canelo off him.