Today’s Big 3: 1/17

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Billy Joe Saunders has been ranked number five in the new WBC latest middleweight rankings for. The governing body’s rules state that a fighter must be in the top 15 to be able to challenge for their world title and obviously at number five Saunders meets that criteria. Meaning he is now, just months removed from a PED ban technically eligible for a bout against current champion Canelo, the biggest prize in boxing, although this is seemingly not in the Canelo’s immediate plans. The WBC is the first to BJS him back into their ratings. Saunders previously held the WBO middleweight title, so the other governing bodies did not rank him. A belt Saunder vacated in October following a failed drugs test which caused his defense against Demetrius Andrade to be canceled. Saunders returned to the ring severely overweight and looked anything but superb in a bout against Charles Adamu in December.

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Former world champ Erislandy Lara and current WBA 154-pound regular champ Brian Castano finally have an official date and venue. March 2nd at the Barclays in Brooklyn. Lara last fought on April of 2018 and dropped a controversial split decision to Jarrett Hurd in a WBA/IBF unification bout, a bout that won our2018 Fight Of The Year. Castano is a 29-year old big puncher who is mostly unknown in the US. His last performance, a 12th round TKO of Cedric Vitu, was perhaps his best performance against a well-known opponent. A win against Lara will catapult the Argentine into the elite of the 154 pounders in the world. March 2nd at the Barclays will be an all-Cuban affair. As longtime heavyweight contender and former Cuban standout Luis “King Kong” Ortiz will return in the co-main against Christian Hammer. Hammer a Romanian born contender who now fights out of Germany has bounced back nicely since losing a lopsided decision to Povetkin back in 2017. he went 2-0 in 2018 including a fifth-round stoppage of undefeated prospect Michael Wallisch last month.

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WBA/WBC Middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez has agreed to fight fellow middleweight champion Daniel Jacobs who is the IBF kingpin, on May 4. The Mexican icon broke the news of the unification bout via his Twitter account earlier today. The bout will obviously air the DAZN streaming app, a company that Canelo signed a record-breaking contract with late in 2018. Jacobs won his IBF belt back in October of 2018 when he outpointed Sergiy Derevyanchenko by split decision, the strap was vacated by GGG earlier in that year. The announcement came just days after the rumor mill was working overtime telling us a Canelo/GGG3 bout for the same date and location was all but official. Perhaps GGG is not signing with DAZN after all.

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