Did Billy Joe Saunders “quit?” Well, he didn’t come out for round nine, so you could say Saunders quit after eight rounds against Canelo Alvarez on Saturday evening.
But isn’t “quit” perhaps too harsh a term, being that Canelo Alvarez can crack a bit, and the right uppercut he landed clean in round eight did cause swelling on the right eye of the 31-year-old Traveler?
There was no shortage of folks in the Twittersphere who used the term, and called Saunders (30-1, 14 KO) a “quitter.” And many of those people explained why they used that loaded term.
Many said that they felt Saunders deserved no measure of sympathy, or benefit of the doubt, even after everyone heard it was possible that his right orbital bone was fractured. That’s because he has a long track record of saying insensitive things, insulting and belittling people. Also, with the confident messaging he put forth during fight week, critics said they expected more.
And also, there’s this: How many of you remember what Saunders said in reaction to how heavyweight Daniel Dubois acted during his Nov. 2020 contest against Joe Joyce?
Dubois came in the favorite, but Joyce compromised his opponent’s left eye. By round two, it started swelling, and 30 seconds into the 10th, he took a knee. A punch hadn’t just landed, but Dubois went to a knee. The ref started counting, and Dubois allowed the count to reach 10. Reaction from fans and fighters alike was swift, and much of it was harsh.
Saunders went on the Ak and Barak SiriusXM show and busted on Dubois.
“Fighters get in that ring and we know what’s on the line,” Saunders said. “Before I go on one knee I’d like to go out on my back with my pulse stopped.”
I wonder if Saunders will revisit his critique after what he dealt with in Texas.
“Everyone has their own thought process in the ring and what went on in the ring I don’t know. He obviously felt he could not continue,” Saunders told the radio duo last year. “You look at the greats — the eyes, the face, we get through that. That’s the path in life we choose for a living. We punch people in the face and get punched in the face.
“If my two eye sockets were broken, my jaw was broken, my teeth were out, my nose was smashed, my brain was beaten, I was not stopping until I was knocked out or worse. I don’t agree with a man taking the knee and letting the ref count him out.”
It was reported that Dubois had suffered a broken orbital bone and nerve damage against Joyce, for the record. We will be curious to hear what the doctors say about Saunders’ eye.