By: Hans Themistode
Chris Eubank Jr. boxed, moved, brawled, and simply outclassed his longtime rival Liam Williams this past weekend. The two squared off at Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff, Wales in the United Kingdom.
Though the jam-packed crowd stood and cheered when Eubank Jr. was handed the unanimous decision victory, several miles away, a stoic Billy Joe Saunders sat stone-faced in his palatial estate.
For most of Eubank Jr.’s career, he’s used brute force and relentless pressure in an effort to outwork the competition. But, since joining forces with Roy Jones Jr., Eubank Jr. has attempted to adapt his Hall of Fame boxing style. And, during various points of his showdown against Williams, Eubank Jr. did his best to imitate the pound-for-pound legend.
Regardless of the British star being successful against Williams, Saunders was bemused by what he actually saw.
“When Eubank can out-box somebody, that’s when you know you’ve had a bad night,” said Saunders during an interview with IFL TV. “He’s trying to imitate the style of the great Roy Jones Jr. but it’s not even boxing is it? I don’t know what it was.”
Saunders 32, seemingly strolled to the ring for the final time on May 8th, 2021. On the night, Saunders attempted to prove that he was always the better fighter when he took on current undisputed super middleweight titlist, Canelo Alvarez. Although Saunders had his moments, his WBO 168 pound title was violently stripped away from him via eighth-round stoppage.
During a particularly competitive eighth round, Saunders bit on a feint thrown by Alvarez. While attempting to duck low, Alvarez immediately blasted him with a right uppercut, resulting in a fractured right orbital bone and eye socket.
Since undergoing the knife to correct his injuries, Saunders has mulled retired. He’s also stated that he would only be willing to return to the ring if a big fight popped up on his radar.
While the former two-division titlist has enjoyed his time away from the sport, he’s grown tired of staring at the wall and flipping on the television to see what’s going on in the world. With so much time on his hands, Saunders believes he now fully understands why so many boxers are unable to remain retired.
“It’s good sitting down but you get bored a bit. I can see why fighters come back in this day and age. You think oh they must be coming back for the money but realistically, it’s boredom. There’s nothing like the boxing life.”
On the shortlist of matchups that could get Saunders up and motivated about returning to the ring, would be a matchup against Eubank Jr. The two have clashed verbally for nearly a decade, with Saunders believing he had the last laugh, considering he handed Eubank Jr. the first loss of his career.
Before growing inactive, Saunders competed and won world titles at 160 and 168 pounds. Having known exactly what it takes to hoist championship gold, Saunders gave a candid response when asked if Eubank Jr. can one day replicate his achievement and win his own world title.
“I’ve always said he won’t be world champion. He’ll never be world champion because I know what it takes to be world champion. I’ve shared the ring with him, he hasn’t got it.”
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