Billy Joe Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs) posted a brief statement on Social media on Monday, letting his boxing fans know that his eye surgery from last Sunday was a success. Saunders says he suffered three separate fractures of his right cheek and eye socket.
He wanted to let his fans know that he’s already, and he plans on returning. Not surprisingly, the former two-division world champion Saunders isn’t saying what his immediate plans are for his boxing career.
Given the severity of Saunders’ eye injury, it’s still too early to tell what he’ll do.
Saunders lost his WBO super middleweight title to WBA/WBC champ Canelo Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) by an 8th round stoppage last Saturday night at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Billy Joe, 31, was in the fight through the first seven rounds, but he got hit by an uppercut from Alvarez that damaged his right eye in the eighth.
We don’t know if Saunders will come back yet, but if he does, it’ll likely be in 2022. He’s going to need a lot of time to recover from his eye injury before he is ready to begin training again.
Saunders gives the first statement
“Thanks, everyone, for msg. Broken eye socket and broken cheekbone in three places” said Saunders in a statement on social media. “Operation yesterday, all went well. You win some, and you lose some.
“I didn’t feel out of my league [against Canelo], but got caught with a good shot and couldn’t see, and Ben got corner to pull it. Thank you to all who watched. I’ll be back. God bless you all.”
It’s a good thing that the fight was stopped after the eighth round because Saunders would have been in no position to defend himself from the big uppercuts that Canelo was hitting him with.
Saunders left himself vulnerable to getting hit by Canelo’s uppercuts by leaning forward at the waist. With Saunder’s head in the perfect position to be hit by uppercuts, Canelo had been trying to tag him with those shots the entire fight.
It wasn’t until the eighth round that Canelo caught Billy Joe with a big right uppercut that landed on the right side of his eye, which caved in his orbital bone and cheekbone.
Even after getting hit with the shot, Saunders continued to lean forward as if he wasn’t aware that he was making himself an easy target for Canelo’s shots.
Canelo was coming on in the 8th
“It was a fair enough stoppage,” said Carl Froch to Boxing Social on Saunders being pulled off.
“He [Trainer Mark Tibbs] knows his boy, and he’s got his safety as paramount importance in that ring.
“Canelo was coming on, coming forward with the big shots looking to get the fight finished, and there were still another four rounds left.
“In hindsight, he probably saved Billy Joe Saunders’ health or maybe his career. It’s harsh to say someone quit unless you’re in that position.
“Some fighters go out on their shield and like to say they’ll fight to their death and all that. But sometimes, there’s a fine line between bravery and stupidity.
“Me myself, I’ve been involved in fights where I was injured and hurt, and you just carry on.
“Every individual case has to be looked at, and if you’re going to criticize somebody who’s got an eye socket fracture and they can feel it, and they’re talking to their coach, it’s a joint decision between the coach and the fighter.
“Mark Tibbs pulled Billy Joe out of the fight, and he made the right decision, in my opinion,” Froch said.
In the eighth, Canelo was putting everything he had into his punches, throwing one at a time and trying to cause Saunders pain.
Canelo took a different approach to the fight by loading up on everything he threw rather than throwing combinations or jabs when he’s focusing on winning rounds.
Billy Joe fought well early
“Canelo is pretty special; he’s fought the best of the best and mixed it with the elite,” said Froch.
“His resume is amazing, and it really stacks up with an all-time great. It’s fascinating what he’s done, and he only lost to Mayweather, and Mayweather is Mayweather.
“You can’t really give Canelo criticism at all because just when you think he’s slowing down and not busy enough because Billy Joe was winning rounds.
“He won a few rounds on my card, Billy Joe. He did really well, but you just feel that Canelo has more gears, and he has more to give.
“You can always pick the pace up and do more. So I can’t see anybody beating him. He [Saunders] should be proud for putting up a performance.
“Unfortunately, as the fight dragged on, he [Canelo] started to get to him. He got one on the eye, and it smashed his socket. That’s the fight game, the hurt game,” said Froch.
Saunders fought incredibly well in the first six rounds until gassing in the seventh. If he could have continued to fight with the same energy as he did in the first half, he would have had a chance to win.
Of course, that’s also assuming that Saunders wasn’t bending forward, making himself a target for Canelo’s uppercuts.