Billy Joe Saunders and the catastrophic injury that ended his brightest night

Billy Joe Saunders y la lesión catastrófica que terminó su noche más brillante

Saturday night, Billy Joe Saunders came out convinced that he would have the best night of his life before Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez, and only a catastrophic injury at the end of the eighth round, the fracture of the orbital bone of the right eye, deprived him of pressing the fight any further.

The Englishman had a dignified, competitive night, with absolute flashes of brilliance that augured that the Canelo he would finally have to push himself to win a fight. It was the perfect setting where everything won. With a combative fight, he won Saunders, won Canelo and the public won.

Saunders It was more than I expected, more than predicted, and more than anyone could imagine. His attitude before the opening bell was one of self-confidence.

The poise of a Saunders alone down the long hall to the ring

In a huge stadium Billy Joe Saunders He left the dressing room and walked alone down the long corridor that led him to the ring. Was not Tyson furyHis father was not there, his team was not there; There was also no one of those who in the week before the fight had wrapped him up in the hotel lobby.

There was no one in that hallway, just Saunders. He walked with absolute serenity. He enjoyed the moment. He looked defiantly at the crowd, stopped. He took his time. He settled under a loud boo. Alone against the world. Only against more than 70,000 Mexicans. Just as lonely as he would be in the ring against another Mexican, the one who is weighted as the best Libra for Libra fighter in the world.

He never seemed intimidated, or overwhelmed by the stage, or by the rival. He made it clear since he arrived in Dallas.

And as soon as the fight started, his attitude was consistent on the walk to the ring. Saunders He fought confidently, took risks, tried to establish his strengths and at times succeeded.

The jab of Saunders, his best weapon, began to paint the face of the Canelo. And his brushstrokes reached academic levels.

Billy Joe Saunders walk to the ring
Photo: Michelle Farsi / Matchroom.

Billy Joe Saunders fifth round perfection

The fifth round of Billy Joe Saunders in his fight against him Canelo They have been the three minutes in which the Mexican has been dominated most emphatically in recent years. Saunders whipped his head to Canelo with the jab, and finished with straight shots. The Canelo he was trying to counterattack, but his blows were lost in the air. Saunders I did it again, and Canelo he was failing his answers again. Skilled and skilled, Saunders attacked, hit, and fell at strange angles that gave him no target for hitting Canelo.

That fifth round was probably the best round in his entire career. Saunders. In those three minutes, English made the Canelo like an ordinary fighter, without resources, without adjustment. A scene rarely seen, perhaps from the fight with Mayweather.

Among the history of English, the quality of the round of Saunders It is comparable only to the 12-round chair that he gave to David lemieux in 2017. But Lemieux It is not Canelo: It is several galaxies below the Mexican in terms of resources and tools.

It was a round where Saunders he drew brushstrokes of two of the best elusive lefties of recent years. He angled off guard from where he surprised with very fast jabs and straights like Wonder Martinez. And after attacking, he moved his waist to fall with his head very low, to be out of range for the opponent’s responses. Those were the brushstrokes of another irritating southpaw: Pernell whitaker.

All the measurable parameters of that fifth round belonged to the English. He landed more punches than he Canelo, according CompuBox, and the three official judges saw him win. On my card, I also saw win Saunders.

A fight that could leave the controversy of the cards

Despite a dominant start of the Canelo, Saunders he shone in the middle rounds of the fight. On my card, Saunders took rounds 4,5 and 7. Round 7 was the one with the greatest hitting dominance for Saunders, according CompuBox, when connecting 10 blows, against only 4 hits of the Canelo. However, two of the three official judges gave the round to the Mexican.

After seven rounds, I had the fight tied at 67. One of the judges had Canelo up by one point, 67 to 66; and the two remaining judges, had Canelo winning 68 to 65. It was a close fight, which looked to be a controversial decision.

Compete with Canelo In these times of overwhelming dominance by the Mexican, it is a victory in itself. To reach the decision with a tight fight, Saunders he would have achieved, at the very least, a moral victory that would serve as a catapult in his career.

Billy Joe Saunders’ catastrophic injury

Just a catastrophic injury, it seemed capable of depriving Billy Joe Saunders to reach the final bell and force the reading of the cards. Had put up with Canelo the best blows that the Mexican had been able to throw.

And that catastrophic injury came. An injury that could well end the career of Billy Joe Saunders.

With that adjustability that the Canelo Alvarez Y Eddy reynoso, they detected that Saunders it fell very low, and you had to go there to connect it. Canelo He measured it and reached for it.

In the eighth round, Saunders attacked and when he was going to his usual low position, a right uppercut from the Canelo that gave him dry in the eye.

The orbital bone was broken in several places. As is often the case with these injuries, the inflammation came on instantly. A couple of seconds, the eye of Saunders it had been deformed and blackened. When Saunders noticed the injury, pushed Canelo up to the ropes and gave him the tightest, tightest and longest hug of the night, trying to assimilate what had happened to his eye.

The Saunders sparkling and alive from the previous seven rounds faded. The terror of an orbital bone fracture is one of the worst injuries a fighter can feel. That sensation of an eye that dances and jumps in its cavity to the rhythm of agitated breathing, already without the bone that previously supported it and that had been broken.

It is a catastrophic injury, the one that was most feared. That injury from which almost no fighter returns to the way he was, and where courage costs a lot.

When Manny pacquiao fractured the orbital bone of Antonio Margarito placeholder image, the Mexican continued raging in a fight in which he was receiving a beating. The result is that his career evaporated in an instant, and with it he lost a good deal of visibility in the eye forever. They are moments that stay with you forever.

Kell brook suffered an orbital fracture in both eyes. First, one before Golovkin; and then in the other, against Spence, in the next fight.

The description it gives Kell brook how that injury feels is terrifying.

“At first, you don’t really feel the pain from adrenaline,” he explains. Brook. “It’s more the sound your eye makes. It’s like the sound of crab claws, and you can really hear it. With my glove I touched my eye trying to accommodate it, because it felt like it was coming out. And when I breathed, I felt the air coming out and going through my eye ”.

That’s what he felt Billy Joe Saunders. That’s why it was blurred in the last round that the fight lasted. He came to his bench, and asked for the end. An end that could well be forever, if the severity of the injury forces him to retire.

As his vision blurred from the injury, Billy Joe Saunders He went from the brightest night of his career, to the darkest dawn.

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