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Canelo vs Saunders: Height and reach difference insignificant?

Lee Cleveland Updated
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When the super middleweight title unification bout between Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders was announced, some of us wondered how the Mexican would deal with the Brit's height and reach advantages. After all, in December Canelo faced an opponent in Callum Smith who towered over him but didn't fight tall.

Smith, of course, boasted a 7 1/2 inch advantage in height and reach but was systemically taken apart and brutalized by Canelo over 12 rounds.


Canelo Alvarez, left, stares down Callum Smith in November 2020

Will Saunders fight tall come Saturday night?

Maybe, or maybe not. Regardless, his physical dimensions aren't a lot different than Canelo's.


Canelo vs Saunders Official FightSaga Page
WBC/WBA/WBO Super Middleweight Championship
(WBC/WBA - Canelo defending; WBO - Saunders defending)
May 8, 2021
AT&T Stadium
Arlington, TX

Broadcast: DAZN

Per BoxRec, Saunders, at 5′ 11″/180cm, is listed as three inches taller than Canelo and, per the same source, has just a 71″/180cm reach, a half an inch longer than Alvarez's.

But can we trust BoxRec's height and reach listings? During the fighter stare downs, Saunders appears just 1-2 inches taller than his foe at most.

Saul Canelo Alvarez Billy Joe Saunders weigh ins staredown 1040x572

If their real reach difference is anywhere near similar to their difference in height, that number is negligible as well.

Who knows where BoxRec, indisputably boxing's best resource for fight facts, gets their height and figures?

Do they get them from a fighter's manager or promoter? If so, the numbers could be purposely misleading. Hence, a fighter's reach is listed at 70 inches but is really 74 inches. As a result, his opponent spars with less rangy fighters and is subsequently met with a surprise when he steps into the ring on fight night... The opponent with a supposed 70 inch reach is landing shots at angles where his faster sparring partners couldn't.

Lastly, and not related to the fighters' listing, Billy Joe Saunders is one those of people who looks a lot taller than he is. Prior to his stare downs with Canelo, who is at most 5'8", I thought Saunders was 6'0." And he looked every bit of 6'3" when he pounded the supposed 5′ 9½″ David Lemieux a few years back. Perhaps his dominance in that fight made him look taller?

... And if he's dominant against the great Canelo, he'll undoubtedly look 7 feet tall.


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