Eddie Hearn says Billy Joe Saunders will be out for a “long time” recovering from his right eye socket injury he sustained last Saturday night in his eighth round stoppage defeat against Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Canelo, 300, realized that he’d injured Saunders right away after tagging him with a big shot. The star began celebrating, knowing that Billy Joe wouldn’t be able to fight for long.
The injury occurred in round eight when WBA/WBC/Ring Magazine super middleweight champion Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) landed a right uppercut to the right eye of Saunders.
The shot caught the 31-year-old Billy Joe while he was leaning forward, attempting to duck the punches of Canelo.
Hearn stated Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs) could be having eye surgery to repair the suspected fractured eye socket. Unfortunately, Saunders may not choose to return to the ring with an eye injury of that nature, says his promoter.
Any length, if he does return, it won’t be soon, as he’ll need a considerable amount of time before he’s ready to recover.
Saunders will be out for a long, long time
“You could see as soon as he hit him that he’d done his eye socket,” Hearn said to IFL TV. “I think because he couldn’t see, the next round was going to be a bad situation. I think he would have got badly hurt in that round.
“He’s gone to the hospital, and I believe he’ll have that operated on immediately. So he’s going to be out for a long, long time,” said Hearn.
With the massive payday Saunders received for the Canelo fight, he may choose to retire rather than continue his career. We’ll have to see.
Saunders can still make excellent money fighting Jermall Charlo, Gennadiy Golovkin, or Chris Eubank Jr, for example, but may not be eager to continue if he’s forced to take on lesser foes.
It’s going to be difficult for Saunders to capture a world title at 168 when he does return to the division, as there are no easy options for him to capitalize.
When Saunders captured his two-division world titles in the past, he beat Andy Lee and Shevat Isufi to win those belts. Unfortunately, there won’t be any easy marks like those two when Saunders chooses to win another world title, be it at 160 or 168.
If Saunders wants to win another world title, he’ll have to go through Canelo at 168 unless he wants to move back down to 160.
“But he’s a world-class fighter who lost to the pound-for-pound number one. He’s a two-weight world champion.
“If he wants to carry on, there are some big fights out there for him,” said Hearn about Billy Joe. “He may feel he has got to a stage where he’s been there, he’s done it, he’s seen it all. We’ll back him 100%.”
It sounds like Hearn isn’t too confident about Saunders choosing to carry on with his career. Although he looked good at times against Canelo last night, that was only because the Mexican star was being extremely economical with his punches.
Against fighters like Gennadiy Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade, David Benavidez, or Caleb Plant, Saunders would be met with withering fire, and it’s unlikely that he would last long against any of them.
Even if Saunders did make it the full 12 rounds against those fighters, he would likely lose because he has no power to speak of.
That’s why it’s hard to see Saunders going anywhere with the remainder of his career.
Billy Joe’s management has done well for him by carefully putting him in with lesser fighters for the most part, but if he wants to make money, he’ll need to fight guys like GGG, Charlo, Benavidez, Andrade, or Plant, and he’s not likely to beat any of them.
One option for Saunders would be a long-awaited rematch with Chris Eubank Jr. It’s doubtful that he’ll beat Eubank, but it can be made right away for decent money.