Billy Joe Saunders reveals he’s contemplating retirement as he breaks silence for first interview since Canelo Alvarez defeat and insists he didn’t quit in corner

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Billy Joe Saunders reveals he’s contemplating retirement as he breaks silence for first interview since Canelo Alvarez defeat and insists he didn’t quit in corner


Billy Joe Saunders has told talkSPORT he is considering retiring from boxing following his defeat to Canelo Alvarez last month.

The Brit suffered his first defeat as his corner ended the fight due to a fractured eye socket suffered in the eighth round.

Saunders has hit back at suggestions he ‘quit’ by encouraging them to do so.

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Canelo beat Saunders to unify the WBA, WBC and WBO super-middleweight titles on May 8

In the aftermath, Billy Joe posted one brief social media statement, but has now given his first full interview to White and Jordan on talkSPORT.

Explaining what he’s been doing since the loss, Saunders began: “I’m just coming down from it all, having a good, long think and enjoying the kids time really.

“I went into surgery, I had a broken eye socket, it was broken in three places.

“I’ve got some plates, I’m like Terminator now, they’ve got me full of metal…

“As soon as I got home I just took time out for family and enjoyed the time off without any boxing. It’s been nice.”

Canelo fractured Saunders’ eye socket with a right uppercut and he did not emerge for round nine

Getty

Canelo fractured Saunders’ eye socket with a right uppercut and he did not emerge for round nine

Reflecting on the fight itself, he continued: “I’ve had a load of people say, ‘You were doing well, we had you one up, we had you level, we had you one down or whatever.’

“But he’s a world class fighter and he caught me with a world class shot, so you’ve gotta give the man that credit and respect.

“I’ve been in these situations and done it to opponents before and I’ve took plenty of credit for it, so you’ve gotta give it back to him for it.

“He’s a very, very good fighter. He’s a very good fighter, very tricky.

“When I got in the ring with him I thought, ‘Is this it?’ I expected more, but I suppose everybody’s gonna be like that going into that sort of fight.”

The injury to Saunders was visible in the second half of round eight

Michelle Farsi/Matchroom Boxing

The injury to Saunders was visible in the second half of round eight

Midway through round eight the contest changed in an instant.

Saunders stooped low, but Canelo anticipated his movement and countered with a perfect right uppercut.

The 31-year-old recalled: “When I got hit, I got hit with the shot and I remember it very, very clearly.

“I thought, ‘Ooh, that’s a good shot, that’s a good shot.’ And I started bouncing about, but my eye had dropped down.

“I could see like two or three all the time and I realised after 30 seconds it wasn’t my legs, it was my eye.

“It’s a bad injury, an injury I thought I’d never get, but you never know what’s gonna happen in boxing.”

Canelo celebrated as BJS’ team waved the fight off

Ed Mulholland/Matchroom

Canelo celebrated as BJS’ team waved the fight off

When the end came after round eight, TV cameras showed Saunders shaking his head in his corner and speaking to assistant Ben Davison before trainer Mark Tibbs waved off the contest.

This led to many suggesting he quit – a claim he insists is not accurate.

Saunders responded: “As a fighter, I wanted to go on. I sat down and I could hear Ben [Davison] telling me in the corner it was over before I even sat down.

“I was shaking my head to say, ‘No way.’

Saunders is adamant he didn’t quit

Getty Images – Getty

Saunders is adamant he didn’t quit

“It was the right stoppage, I can’t argue, I know my best interests was at hand.

“Obviously it’s gutting and no-one wants to lose, it is gut-wrenching, but this is sport and it’s boxing.

“You can only ever say that the better man won on the night. That’s it.

“I would’ve loved to see how the next four or five rounds were because I put so much heart and effort into it.

“That’s sport.”

Saunders was unable to emerge victorious on the biggest stage of all

Michelle Farsi/Matchroom Boxing

Saunders was unable to emerge victorious on the biggest stage of all

In reply to those criticising him over the bout’s conclusion, he added: “You’re always gonna have your people who come and have their two pence worth.

“But my team who’s in that corner know the conversation. I was going out for the ninth round orthodox and when people say, ‘He quit,’ you’ve gotta look at the situation.

“My team are there to do a job, they’re there to look after my best interests.

“I’m there to go on all night. When we step in that ring, that’s our lives and I’m willing to put down the life.

“But never in my life would I ever say, ‘Nah, I’m finished, I’m done.’

“I boxed a minute and 20 seconds with a broken eye socket, a broken cheekbone in three places.

“A minute and 20 seconds is alright fighting the average man, but when you’re fighting the best man on the planet, I could’ve easily opted out but I never.

“That was the cornerman’s decision. It is what it is, I can’t argue with that.”

Canelo took home the belts, while Billy Joe left empty handed

Michelle Farsi/Matchroom Boxing

Canelo took home the belts, while Billy Joe left empty handed

Regarding whether he might now retire, Saunders concluded: “At the end of the day, I’m 31 years old, if I don’t ever wanna work again, wanna sit back, wanna chill, I can do that.

“And so it should be, I’ve put a lot of time into boxing and I’ve paid my dues. The sport’s been very, very good to me…

“I’m 31, I haven’t took no punishment, I haven’t been battered from pillar to post, brain dead and can’t put a sentence together, so I need to sit back and look at my options.

“Because the options have to weigh up – the thought of me just coming in and fighting for a world rating or something, belts don’t feed the kids.

“Everything would have to stack up and [be] the right fight.

Saunders has had an impressive career as a two-weight world champion

Michelle Farsi/Matchroom Boxing

Saunders has had an impressive career as a two-weight world champion

“Because coming down from fights like that, it’s very hard, where do you go from there?

“I’ll have a chat with my dad because he’ll have a big say in it.

“To be fair it will be more or less down to my dad in the conversation more than me if I’m honest.

“It’s one of them where it’s 50/50. Whether I think, I will have one more or a couple more, but they’ve gotta be the right sort of fights.

“If he says, ‘Leave it son, don’t go back for more,’ then that’s probably what I’ll do.”





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