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Billy Joe Saunders Did All He Could

By: Oliver McManus

Billy Joe Saunders has channeled his inner Arnold Schwarzenegger in declaring “I’ll be back” after a dispiriting defeat at the hands of Canelo Alvarez this past weekend at the AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas.

The 31-year-old suffered a broken eye socket and broken cheekbones during the contest but has subsequently undergone an operation. Mark Tibbs had pulled out his charge at the end of the eighth contest with Saunders’ face looking increasingly disfigured at the hands of the merciless Mexican.

Alvarez had eased his way into the contest after some opening rounds in which Saunders was seeing success. In truth, you get the feeling that whilst the Brit did take a handful of rounds, it was mainly due to the patience of Canelo Alvarez who knew he could turn the tide of the contest in an instant.

The 30-year-old Mexican seemed to be in little bother at the artillery coming his way; Saunders’ punches were slick but lacked the power to properly trouble his opponent.

Pockets of social media took umbrage at the scorecards returned in Arlington, Texas: Alvarez up 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75 at the time of the stoppage. All three cards seemed fair, this writer had it 77-75, with Canelo comfortably a class above as soon as he stepped on the gas.

Yet some persist with the claim that Saunders ‘outboxed the best in the world and was ‘unlucky’ to be caught by that monstrous uppercut from Canelo. Those arguments do no favours for the two-weight WBO world champion who did a far shout better than many were expecting or, indeed, were hoping.

It was a brave effort from Saunders but the harsh truth is, for many people, it simply doesn’t matter. Having conducted himself in poor regard for the past few years – controversy or distraction is only ever seconds away – he’s at a stage where a lot of people take satisfaction in his defeats. Perhaps from that sense, the logical match-up is a rematch with Chris Eubank Jr. who, whilst less controversial, is equally divisive.

Alvarez, meanwhile, can turn his gaze to becoming undisputed champion at 168lbs with Caleb Plant, IBF Champion, the missing piece in the jigsaw.

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