Aside from coward, quitter is the single most insulting, most damaging thing any fighter can be called. By definition, no fighter, be he or she be a boxer or an MMA fighter, can be called a coward – this due to the fact they had the bravery and the sheer guts to get into the ring, or the cage, in the first place. But quitter is a word, a description of a fighter’s actions, that seems to be bandied around too much these days.
Last year, it was unbeaten heavyweight hope Daniel Dubois’ turn. Busted up horrifically around the eye in his big test of a fight with Joe Joyce, Dubois, unable to see and in great pain, took a knee in round ten, where he was counted out. Plenty of people were critical of Dubois, and the quitter world surfaced. Billy Joe Saunders himself was one of those critics.
“If my two eye sockets were broken, my jaw broken, my teeth were out, my nose was smashed, my brain was beaten, I was not stopping until I was knocked out or worse,” Saunders said shortly after the Dubois defeat, this on the AK and Barak show. “I don’t agree with a man taking the knee and letting the ref count him out.”
As we know, Saunders did not take a knee in his massive, potentially life-changing fight with Canelo Alvarez last night, instead he allowed his team to pull him out after the eighth round due to the pain, lack of vision and, dare I say it, fear his own badly injured and swollen eye was causing him. The irony here is of course not lost.
So does Saunders deserve the heavy criticism many people, himself included, hurled at Dubois? At the very least, plenty of people, Saunders included, owe Daniel Dubois a pretty big apology. Dubois, it must be remembered, fought on for quite some time after his eye began to swell (this in round 2 of the Joyce fight). Last night, Saunders was pulled out of the fight after the conclusion of the round in which his eye was damaged; the injury being inflicted suddenly.
Again, the word quitter is a strong one, a word that should not be used lightly. Saunders himself should think about this before he speaks about another fighter.
Dubois, by the way, showed us again how classy he is and how he holds no ill feelings, by way of a tweet he sent to the beaten Saunders:
“You fought well, @bjsaunders – hope your eye heals up quickly and you can come back stronger.”
Other fighters have not been so kind to Saunders. Female fighter Ebanie Bridges, who suffered a gruesome eye injury in her fight with Shannon Courtney last month, but fought on until the bitter end, tweeted the following:
“Don’t tell me he stopped cos of his eye….BJS was in that fight!”
What do YOU think – did Saunders “quit” last night?