Billy Joe Saunders now training with Mark Tibbs
By Charles Brun: Mark Tibbs will train Billy Joe Saunders for his next fight against whoever Matchroom can dig up for him.
For WBO super middleweight champion Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs), he was trained with Tibbs’ dad in the past before moving on a different trainer.
Mark’s father trained him years ago. Unless Tibbs is a miracle worker, he’s not going to be able to improve Saunders enough for him to beat any of the quality fighters at super middleweight.
Tibbs has his work cut out for him
Saunders isn’t saying why he’s decided to be trained by Tibbs, but it’s possible he feels he needs someone that will motivate him. He’s been out of action for the last ten months since struggling to beat Marcelo Coceres last November.
Saunders afford too many more poor performances like that if he wants to stay unbeaten and get big money fights against Canelo Alvarez and Callum Smith.
Saunders’ two fights since moving up to 168 against Coceres and Shefat Isufi have shown some serious problems with his game. What’s obvious is that Saunders isn’t the same fighter at 168 that he was at 160.
His power, which was never good, to begin with, is even less of an asset at 168. Saunders is sluggish at super middleweight, easy to hit, and he looks vulnerable.
Yeah, Saunders is a world champion at 168, but only because he fought Isufi for the belt instead of a talented contender. Saunders is arguably a paper champion and easily the weakest of the belt-holders in the division.
If Saunders stays at super middleweight for too much longer, he’s going to get beaten, and his career is going to tank. What Saunders needs for him to do well at super middleweight is punching power, but that’s not possible. He’s not going to gain power at 31, no matter how hard Tibb works him.
Tibbs wants to bring more ingredients to Saunders’ game
“I’ve been linked back up with Billy Joe Saunders, so there should be some news soon coming out,” said Tibbs to Secondsout. “Bill contacted me a few weeks ago, it might have been a couple of months ago, and we had a couple of sessions.
“We had a chat about what’s going on regarding his career, and we’re knuckling down now and hopefully getting ready for a date. He’s going to be a great asset. Billy Joe Saunders’ business is his business.
“It’s always good to have somebody like Billy Joe Saunders in the camp for everyone to feed off of. Hopefully, that’ll happen. My dad took Saunders from Southern Area champion right through to world champion, and I was there for the journey.
“So I know Billy Joe very, very well, and he’s matured with his way of thinking. I believe we’re going to bring something new to the table. There’s not much more to get.
“He’s a talented boxer, but hopefully, we’ll bring a couple of more ingredients to the game, and it will be paramount in his work. Well, I hope so because we’ve worked so long with Billy Joe Saunders,” said Tibbs when asked if the next move is to take Saunders towards the bigger fights.
“I’ve kind of followed his career even when him and my dad parted ways. So I’ve always kept an eye on him and took an interest in what he was doing. I’m very frustrated for him, and for the fans at times because he’s a talent where no one has seen the best of him yet,” said Tibbs.
What ingredients can Tibbs bring to Saunders? If he could put Billy Joe on a diet to get him down to 160, that would be a great start.
Saunders’ best years ahead of him?
“I really believe the best is yet to come, but I also say to Billy Joe, ‘When you lose your youth, it’s like losing a member of your family,'” Tibbs continued. “He’s got a window right now, and his window is his best years.
“This is his business years, and he’s got to take advantage of that and really not let them go by because he will regret it if he does. But he’s shown great enthusiasm, and very good hunger and that winning mentality, which I’ve always seen in him.
“It’s still there. It’s still very much there. He’s a winner. If you have a game of cards or you flip a coin, he has to win. Hopefully, we’ve gotten off to a good start. It is exciting for sure,” said Tibbs.
Many boxing fans would choose to disagree with Tibbs about his view of Saunders’ best years being ahead of him. If Tibbs takes a good hard look at how sluggish Saunders was in his recent matches against Isufi and Coceres, he’ll admit that he’s not the same guy he once was.
Saunders has looked chunky since moving up to 168, and it’s pretty clear that he doesn’t have the natural frame for the division. He looks like a middleweight that was too lazy to burn off the fat to make 160.
What Saunders needs most of all, power, is something that Tibbs won’t help him with at this point in his career. If Saunders’ punching power had a chance of improving, it would have happened by now.
Most boxing fans would agree that Saunders’ best years are well behind him now, and he’s just going to try and hold onto his WBO super middleweight title any way he can.
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