Saunders’ trainer: His eye socket was caved in, he couldn’t see

By Boxing News - 05/09/2021 - Comments

By William Lloyd: Billy Joe Saunders’ trainer Mark Tibbs says he had no choice but to halt the fight after his right eye was “caved in” by Canelo Alvarez in the eighth round last Saturday.

After Saunders (30-1, 14 Kos) returned to his corner after the round ended, Tibbs states that he didn’t receive the right responses to his questions, so he pulled him out of the fight.

Tibbs says at no time did Saunders tell him, ‘That’s it,’ as some boxing fans believe that he did. He says he’s the one that chose to have the fight stopped, not Billy Joe. In other words, Saunders didn’t quit. He was pulled out of the fight by his trainer Tibbs.

WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) struggled early and appeared to behind going into the eighth when he pulled out the victory with a right uppercut that injured Saunder’s right eye socket.

According to reports, Saunders suffered multiple fractures of his right orbital bone from the punch that Canelo hit him with.

Tibbs explains why he pulled Saunders out

“His eye socket was caved in, and he couldn’t see, so I didn’t get the response that I wanted from him,” said Saunders’ trainer Mark Tibbs to Behind The Gloves about what led to the Canelo fight being stopped last Saturday.

Image: Saunders' trainer: His eye socket was caved in, he couldn't see

“It’s frustrating really because I felt he was growing into it, so I had to pull it, yeah. Going into the ninth, it was close, but for me, he started to make Canelo fall short.

“But he was getting his big power shots off and slowing him down a little bit, although he wasn’t catching Billy Joe that clean.

“He [Canelo] was falling short, and we were frustrating him. I felt like we were in the fight, but it was tight.

“Later on, a couple of people that know boxing said, ‘He was in front,’ but I didn’t get the response that I wanted in the corner, and I knew it was caved in.

“I’m not surprised I got the response I got,” said Tibbs on why he chose not to let Saunders come out for the ninth.

It was the right move by Tibbs to yank Saunders out of there after the eighth round, considering he would have been bait for the shark-like Canelo if he’d been allowed to come out for the ninth.

Billy Joe’s eye socket was gone; he was in pain

“We live to fight another day,” said Tibbs in putting a positive spin on Saunder’s loss to Canelo. “He never said, ‘That’s it.’ He left it to me. He took it well; he was in pain.

Image: Saunders' trainer: His eye socket was caved in, he couldn't see

“The eye socket was gone; he was in pain. And he was giving his best shot and coming into the fight, but he got injured, his leading eye against a pound-for-pound great. He done himself proud.

“It takes a very good fleet-footed boxer with punching power and is solid that knows what he’s doing,” said Tibbs when asked what it takes to beat Canelo.

“I feel that Billy started a little bit slow, but then I felt he was growing into it. And then, bang, I was surprised.

“I got a few messages saying he was in front. I was happy that he was gaining momentum round by round, and then I was surprised, bang, the eye socket went,” said Tibbs about Saunders.

It’s an understatement by Tibbs that Saunders was in pain after the eighth round ended. He looked like he was going through pure torture from the injury, as if he had red pepper in his right eye.

By that point, Saunders’ right eye was completely swollen shut from the injury, and there was no way he could see out of it.