Billy Joe Saunders suffered the first loss of his career on Saturday when a brutal eye injury led to a corner stoppage before the ninth round of his super-middleweight title unification bout with Canelo Alvarez.
If Saunders had some success in the middle portion of the fight, Canelo shut the door on him for good with a sharp uppercut that caused Saunders’ right eye to swell up in round eight. More uppercuts and other clean shots capped off a dominant round of the current WBC, WBA, and WBO champion before the Englishman returned to his corner.
For all of the discussion surrounding Saunders quitting (which included the DAZN broadcast), the injury he suffered was indeed quite serious and figures to keep him shelved for a long time.
The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger was told by promoter Eddie Hearn that Saunders will undergo surgery in Texas for a “quadripod fracture,” which is effectively a complete blowout of the orbital. It’s a similar injury to what Kell Brook suffered in his loss to Gennadiy Golovkin in 2016, and to make matters worse he broke the other orbital in his loss to Errol Spence Jr in his next fight.
Of course, Saunders really did not put himself in any ideal position for fans to rush to his defense when you consider that last year, he criticized heavyweight Daniel Dubois for taking a count and not getting up when he broke his orbital in a loss to Joe Joyce.
“Before I go on one knee I’d like to go out on my back with my pulse stopped,” Saunders said last November.
Well that’s not exactly what happened to Saunders against Canelo, was it?
For the record, Canelo was ahead 78-74, 78-74, and 77-75 on the scorecards, so even if Saunders had continued he would’ve needed a miracle to win anyway given the state of his eye. Given his lack of serious power punching and his compromised state it seemed more likely that he’d have been knocked out or the doctor would have intervened.