By: Sean Crose
Billy Joe Saunders did very well against Canelo Alvarez during their super middleweight title bout last night in Texas. He moved well, he was able to employ his jab, and he even had enough confidence to fight with his hands down. The problem is, fighting very well just isn’t good enough when facing Canelo. The man just hits too hard, has too much professional patience, and, frankly, is just too self assured to be outslicked for long by someone of Saunders’ level. The fact that Saunders operates at the top levels of the fight game and, before last night, had never lost a match, tells you all you need to know about just how good a fighter Canelo has become.
Now Saunders, a brash, trash talking Englishman, must face both the physical and public fallout from his Canelo expedition. As someone put it on Twitter, Saunders quit on his stool Saturday night – and nothing can take away from that face. While that’s true, there’s more to this story than meets the eye (no pun intended). For Saunders’ face was absolutely demolished by a Canelo uppercut in the eighth round. The physical effects of the shot were instantaneous. To his credit, Saunders was able to survive the round – but not get off his stool afterward.
Of course, Saunders is now being taken to task for the decision not to continue. Here, after all, was a fighter who indicated he would die in the process of trying to win if he couldn’t win outright. Here, also, was a fighter who was publicly critical of Daniel Dubois for “quitting” a fight last year. People, frankly, are finding it hard not to call Saunders a hypocrite after last night. If he had simply behaved as a gentleman, the logic goes, people would be more empathetic for the man right now.
That’s an understandable argument in the view of many, but it must also be understood that Saunders spent Saturday night in the hospital and may well require at least one surgery on his wounded face. Canelo says he knew instantly that his thunderous uppercut had done real damage, so much damage that he told his corner the fight was over before team Saunders officially called it a night. Canelo, of course, knows how good a fighter he is. And, make no mistake about it, Billy Joe Saunders knows how good a fighter Canelo is now, as well.
Send this to a friend