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Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn says he is close to agreeing a deal which will see Billy Joe Saunders fight Canelo Alvarez in May this year. The plan is for the Mexican to return to action during his nation’s celebratory Cinco de Mayo weekend.

The pair were due to trade rubber last summer but the coronaviruspandemic put paid to their plans.

They had to go their seperate ways and Canelo teamed up with Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing last before going on to beat Callum Smith for the WBA and WBC super-middleweight titles.

Saunders put his WBO super-middleweight title on the line against Martin Murray and won via a unanimous decision.

Canelo must find WBC mandatory Avni Yildirim on February 27 but then he hopes to finally step into the ring with Saunders.

“The path is really clear for Billy Joe Saunders to fight Canelo Alvarez,” Hearn told The Athletic’s Pug and Copp Podcast.

“We’ve just got to try and agree a deal with him to do that.

“We are at a stage now where we don’t have the guarantees of the major gates and a lot of fighters are taking less money.

“That’s not really a conversation that you enjoy having with Billy Joe Saunders.

“He feels that he can win the fight, but he also wants to be rewarded for the fight, I understand.

Meanwhile, Saunders has recently claimed he does not want to wait until May to return to action.

“I’m supremely confident of knocking (Demetrius) Andrade out cold,” said Saunders. “I love boxing southpaws, I love fighting someone with his style. I’ve got a very good track record against southpaws.

“I would love to give him a hiding. Let’s get it on, and rock and roll. Vacate the WBO 160 title, move up and you’re the mandatory.

“I can make 160, but why would I want to go back down to 160 when all the big money fights are at 168, and all the big talents have come up to 168?

“Move up, come up to 168. I don’t want to be sitting around. Let Canelo do his thing. If he’s fighting in February, I would love to fight him in May, but if he thinks I’m going to be sitting around until May twiddling my thumbs, he’s got another thing coming.

“I’m not going to be doing that. I’m back in the gym, I’m in shape, let’s get it on. Let’s stop beating around the bush and waiting around.”

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