Billy Joe Saunders is the fighter who seeks to dethrone Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez this Saturday in a unifying fight, and around the English they have sought to install various narratives to emphasize that it is the rival that can most inconvenience the Canelo.
But how much myth and how much reality in Billy Joe Saunders?
He is a correlon fighter
Myth. With Billy Joe Saunders as a rival of Canelo, names like those of Erislandy Lara Y Floyd mayweather, to point out that the Mexican usually has problems with that type of rivals.
But Saunders it’s not like Lara or as Floyd. Nor can we say that he is a correlon fighter. Within the boxing spectrum, to Saunders We can place it more on the side of the boxers than of the fasteners, but not so far as to take it to the correlón.
Saunders He is a fighter who moves on the tips of his feet over the ring, but he is not a fighter who shuns combat by slogan or system. He stops to fight, and he wants to hurt you.
Paulie malignaggi describes it very well.
“Saunders He is not just a guy who hits and leaves, he also wants to have that machismo where he seeks to show you off and show that he is more of a man than you, ”he explains. Malignaggi. “So, although Saunders it will bring skill, it will also feature combat and brawl. May seek to confuse Canelo sometimes, but you will also put yourself more at risk than you Lara he was willing to risk ”.
He’s a defensive genius
Reality. What Billy Joe Saunders he is a defensive genius is a statement that is closer to reality than myth. Maybe not to the degree of genius, but he is a solvent fighter defensively.
In view of David lemieux, in December 2017, Saunders reached a higher dimension in sports. He gave a boxing chair to the Canadian, he hovered over the ring, jabbed him, counterattacked him, took off the attacks with his waist, and chiseled the best fight to date in his career.
But despite that defensive prowess, Saunders left the face totally flushed to Lemieux, a symptom of his fists were finding the face of the Canadian all night.
It is true that he achieved all of that against a purely punishing fighter like Lemieux which is slow, telegraphible, and counter-hittable. But before fighting with Lemieux, Saunders he was a somewhat more rustic fighter, and more static. He ate the jabs, and was vulnerable to speed as he was shown Willie monroe. From Lemieux thereafter, he became a much more refined fighter, with a refined sense of distance, and of boxing on his back foot. He reclines like a cobra, and throws the bite in the form of a right uppercut with explosiveness.
He has shown a respectable jaw, because although he has eaten good shots, he has not been knocked down. He has only been seen shaken and stumbled, when he was surprised by a backlash from Shefat Isufu when he was crowned world champion at 168 pounds.
It is the most difficult super medium
Myth. Billy Joe Saunders He is super middle champion of the OMB thanks mainly to a gift from the body. He was crowned at 168 pounds when, without ever having fought in the category, the body appointed him to fight for the title that had been vacated on Lefty Ramirez in May 2019.
After beating Lemieux In his last fight at 160 pounds, he was suspended for posting an offensive video on social media, and was inactive for a year. He fought again in December 2018, before Charles Adamu in a fight where they both weighed over 170 pounds. And five months later Saunders was already fighting for the vacant 168-pound title of the OMB.
The rival, that night he was crowned Saunders at 168 pounds, it was one of those exotic names that agencies often pull from their sleeves as mandatory when they want to crown a “predestined.” Serbian Shefat Isufu, based in Germany, he had spent his entire career fighting in exotic boxing destinations such as Germany, Hungary, Turkey, without facing anyone relevant. The merits of Isufu, to become a mandatory for a vacant title, they are still not found.
Faced Billy Joe Saunders for the vacant world championship of the OMB At 168 pounds, he lost a loose unanimous decision, and the Briton was crowned in his second division.
After the coronation, Saunders knocked out in the 11th Marcelo Esteban Coceres, who had never fought outside of Argentina. And then, faced with the difficulty of getting rivals, they put a washout Martin Murray, 38, who won the unanimous decision. Murray announced retirement after the fight.
Then the step of Saunders for 168 pounds it comes down to Isufu, Coceres Y Murray. There are no elites in the super middleweight record of Saunders, and the closest thing to a class B is Murray.
It was a good middleweight
Reality. If we reduce the adjective to “good”, not great or elite, then Billy Joe Saunders yes it was a good middleweight. When we review his record, we see that his most resounding victories were against class B fighters in the category, such as Andy Lee at his coronation, Chris Eubank Jr, Willie monroe Y David lemieux.
He never unified with any of the other 160-pound champions. And of the best rivals he beat, none of them faced the Canelo, nor to Miguel Cotto, who reigned in those years at 160 pounds between 2015 and 2017, when Saunders reigned as monarch OMB. Monroe Y Lemieux yes they were knocked out by Gennady Golovkin, the other great monarch of the time at 160 pounds.
In the history of Saunders at 160 pounds there are no elite, no unification and there are only a few class B.
Has hidden punch
Myth. A little to heat up the fight it has been said that Billy Joe Saunders It has hidden punch, and a fists power that can come out. However, there are very few elements to support this argument. He only has 1 knockout in 7 world championship fights, and he did it against the Argentine Marcelo Esteban Coceres in November 2019 when he was making his first defense of the WBO super middleweight world title. There, yes, Saunders showed power to take down twice Coceres in round 11, thanks to a mixture of exhaustion and punch, but nothing more.
Prior to Coceres, the last arrest of Saunders it had been in a small-time fight before Charles Adamu in December 2018. Saunders was coming out of suspension for posting an offensive video on social media, and Adamu was chosen as a last-minute rival to dust off Billy joe of inactivity of 12 months. They both stepped into the ring above 170 pounds, in a fight that was not even televised. Let’s say Saunders got a knockout that I shouldn’t even tell you about.
We would have to go back to 2015 to find another knockout of Saunders, when he was not yet a world champion, in front of Yoann bloyer who came in with 27 losses on his record.
Yet another proof of the lack of sticking in Saunders, is that in his world title fights he has only accumulated official knockdowns over Andy Lee, the already referred Coceres. And probably, a fall should have been counted against Martin Murray that the referee appreciated as a stumble. Nothing more.
So there is no hidden punch in Billy Joe Saunders.
Generate more expectation outside the ring than inside
Reality. Billy Joe Saunders is acid, irreverent, sarcastic and provocative. It is the typical English hooligan that you would have found drunk in the 80s in the pachydermic stands of the unemployed in a British football stadium.
He has gotten into trouble and suspensions for not being able to contain that irreverence and crossing sensitive lines with posts on social networks. Like the day, for example, when he posted a tutorial on how to beat a woman in times of confinement.
Talk, talk and talk. Much more than he fights. When he was monarch at 160 pounds he never received a big fight, or unifying, because he challenged everyone and did not negotiate with anyone. He always said it was not the time to fight him Canelo or with Golovkin.
He knows how to heat up fights with his mouth. He is a master at setting outrageous narratives and creating tension in the environment when everything seems apathetically calm. He did so with the issue of the size of the ring, which generated tons of publicity and promotion in the fight, heating it up from his arrival in Dallas.
Whether he can endure his fights with boxing remains to be seen.
He is a rival in a way
Myth. Far has been Billy Joe Saunders to be a facilitator in your career. It complicates everything, in and out of the ring. He is uncomfortable, challenging, in all areas of his life, including his boxing career.
TO Canelo he demanded and took out a ring to the extent that he wanted. He had the luxury of saying no to a fight with the Mexican last December because they didn’t give him enough time to prepare. Saunders He has rebuked, insulted and it was the turn of the Canelo his most sensitive issues such as the history of doping.
On the ring Saunders It will not be a rival either. He will move around the ring, he will take blows, he will look for the jab, he will bet on the counterattack, on the provocation.
Saunders he is not shaping up to be the docile rival he was Callum smith up and down the ring. What of Saunders is to bother. It’s in his nature, and he doesn’t see himself doing anything but irritating the Canelo Saturday on the ring.