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Billy Joe Saunders considering retirement – AGAIN

Billy Joe Saunders

By Charles Brun: Billy Joe Saunders is once again considering retiring from boxing. The WBO 168-lb belt holder is upset about his friend Daniel Kinahan. Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) says he’s only staying around the sport now because of the money.  Billy Joe wants to fight Canelo Alvarez, but it’s unknown if he’s still in the picture.

Losing out on the Canelo fight will be a big disappointment for Saunders because he doesn’t have anyone that can bring in the same money. Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn would like to stage a fight between Saunders and WBA super-middleweight champion Callum Smith in Anfield.

That’s not possible with the pandemic. Large crowds aren’t able to attend large fights, so that’s why Hearn isn’t talking about making that match.

If Saunders retires now, a lot of boxing fans won’t take notice of it because he’s not been an active fighter. Also, Saunders’ opposition has underwhelming his entire professional career. He’s not challenged himself by fighting the best contenders.

Saunders status for Canelo fight unknown

Canelo’s promoter Oscar La Hoya says he’ll be fighting on September 16, and the fight is close to being done. Saunders’ name wasn’t mentioned by De La Hoya, which isn’t a good thing. Surely, if Golden Boy were still considering Saunders for Canelo, they would have said so.

“I’ve done everything in boxing that I want to do, you now?” said Saunders to IFL TV. “Now it’s just the financial side of things. If it doesn’t happen, then it doesn’t happen.”

If Saunders’ promoter Eddie Hearn can’t get Canelo to take the fight with him, then they’ll need to look in the direction of Daniel Jacobs and Callum Smith. Jacobs might not want to waste his time with Billy Joe because he’s interested in facing Callum Smith. Saunders would have a lot of problems against Callum and Jacobs, and he might regret meeting either of them.

Saunders is more of a paper champion with a record filled with fluff, which is probably why Canelo wanted to fight him so severely. It would be another easy mark for Canelo.

The Mexican star has been careful about who he picks for his fights. When Canelo has faced good opposition like Gennadiy Golovkin, he didn’t fight him until he was in his mid-30s and starting to show signs of decline.

If Saunders doesn’t get the Canelo fight, he may need to carry out his retirement threat. With the pandemic going on, Saunders isn’t likely going to get an excellent opponent fighting without a crowd. The money can’t be good either for a non-pay-per-view fighter like Billy Joe.

Billy Joe’s best payday opportunity is still Canelo

His best hopes are for Canelo to want the fight against him still because Saunders will always make good money facing him. It probably won’t be anywhere near the same amount of cash that he would have gotten had he fought Canelo in May on Cinco de Mayo. There’s nothing Saunders can do about that. The pandemic ruined it for a lot of fighters, and now many of them are sitting idle.

Most of the top contenders in the World Boxing Organization’s top 15 at 168 are obscure guys, who Saunder won’t make any money fighting. The problem is, Saunders isn’t good enough to beat all the contenders. He’s looked terrible in his two fights since moving up to 168 against Marcelo Coceres and Shefat Isufi.

Those two matches showed that Saunders couldn’t handle the power of the fighters in the super middleweight division. The only reason Saunders won those two fights is that Coceres and Isufi are fringe level contenders, and not talented.

Saunders hasn’t faced talented guys since he turned pro, and that’s the tragedy. He should have lost to Artur Akavov in 2016 but got a gift decision. Since that fight, Saunders has been beset with injury problems, a problem that has limited his ability to stay active.

Saunders’ last five opponents:

  • Marcelo Coceres
  • Shefat Isufi
  • Charles Adamu
  • David Lemieux
  • Willie Monroe Jr

A lot of boxing fans believe that Saunders ducked Demetrius Andrade when he was fighting at middleweight. Those two were supposed to fight, but Saunders came up positive with a drug test. Instead of staying at 160 to fight Andrade, Saunders moved up to 168 and won the vacant WBO title after Gilberto Ramirez gave it up.

Saunders has faced mostly weaker B-level fighters in the last four years of his career and not fought the best contenders. If Canelo faces Saunders, it’s going to send a strong signal that the Golden Boy star doesn’t believe he’s good enough to take on the quality 168 and 175-pound fighters.

The only fighters Canelo should be focusing on right now at super middleweight and light heavyweight. Saunders shouldn’t be the guy Canelo fights if he wants to impress fans.

Canelo should be fighting these guys:

  • Callum Smith
  • Caleb Plant
  • Daniel Jacobs
  • David Benavidez
  • Dmitry Bivol

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