Billy Joe Saunders didn’t receive much sympathy Saturday night after being blasted away and forced to quit following the eighth round of his big bout with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The 31-year-old Brit and now former WBO super middleweight champ has a history of saying and doing some pretty rotten things– from taunting the mentally ill/drug addicted to encouraging domestic violence. He’s also been wildly critical of fighters “quitting” in fights.
Late last year, after heavyweight Daniel Dubois retired in a bout with Joe Joyce following a similar eye injury to what he sustained this past Saturday, he had this to say on the AK and Barak Show:
“Fighters get in that ring and we know what’s on the line…Before I go on one knee I’d like to go out on my back with my pulse stopped.
“You look at the greats — the eyes, the face, we get through that. That’s the path in life we choose for a living. We punch people in the face and get punched in the face.
“If my two eye sockets were broken, my jaw was broken, my teeth were out, my nose was smashed, my brain was beaten, I was not stopping until I was knocked out or worse.”
As things turned out, that bravado was much easier to say than to live.
According to reports, Saunders suffered multiple fractures to the orbital bone surrounding his eye and required immediate surgery. It’s quite possible that the injuries sustained could end his career.
Still, that didn’t stop fans and fellow fighters from piling on the battered former champ.
“You’re really going to freaking quit like a v****a,” former world champ and ferocious battler Fernando Vargas aimed at Saunders via Instagram video.
“You’re really going to do that? ‘Oh, my eye.’ Come on, vato, really? Unbelievable. How dare you call yourself a champion.
“You quit like a freakin’ female dog. How dare you do that. You’re an embarrassment to the sport and to all men because you’re not even a man. Unbelievable. You should be embarrassed.”
Vargas speaks from experience when it comes to eye injuries sustained in battle. Back in 2006, Vargas suffered a grotesque eye injury in his bout with Shane Mosley that not only closed his eye, but looked absolutely other-worldly in its sheer size. The bout would be stopped in the tenth round by referee Joe Cortez, after consulting with the ringside physician and the executive director of the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Marc Ratner. Vargas argued vehemently with the decision and, to this day, insists that he could’ve fought on.
“I don’t know what’s up with these fighters, man,” Vargas continued. “But these vatos are built different. I’m talking through experience. My eye was like this [making a hand gesture to indicate it was swollen] and you’re crying over a little chingadera like this? Come on, vato. Really? You should be ashamed of yourself. You gave him your belt because you didn’t want to be knocked out. At least go out on your shield. Have some balls. It’s embarrassing to call yourself a champion. Unbelievable. You’re in the wrong profession….’oh my little eye was hurting!’
Vargas has definitely walked the walk that he now talks. So, it’s hard to come down on him for his hot take on Saunders’ performance. But, still, it’s tough for the outsider to be too harsh on Saunders, considering the injury and the potential for permanent disability had the fight continued– even if Saunders is not exactly the most sympathy-inspiring of characters.