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Billy Joe Saunders reveals he plans to retire as he breaks silence for first interview since Canelo Alvarez lost and insists he hasn’t quit in the area


Billy Joe Saunders told talkSPORT he is considering retiring from boxing following his loss to Canelo Alvarez last month.

The Briton suffered his first defeat as his corner ended the fight due to an orbit fracture suffered in the eighth round.

Saunders hit back at suggestions he had “resigned” by encouraging them to do so.

Canelo defeated Saunders to unify the WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles on May 8
Ed Mulholland / Game Hall

In the aftermath, Billy Joe posted a brief statement on social media, but has now given his first full interview to White and Jordan on talkSPORT.

Explaining what he’s been up to since the loss, Saunders began, “I just got back from all of this, I have a good, long thought and really enjoy the time spent with the kids.

“I went to surgery, I had a broken eye socket, it was broken in three places.

“I have plates, I’m like Terminator now, they have me full of metal …

“As soon as I got home, I just took time for the family and enjoyed the free time without boxing. It was nice.

Billy Joe Saunders reveals he plans to retire as he breaks silence for first interview since Canelo Alvarez lost and insists he hasn’t quit in the area
Canelo fractured Saunders’ orbit with a right uppercut and did not come out on lap ninth
Getty

Reflecting on the fight itself, he continued, “I had a lot of people who said, ‘You were doing fine, we had you one, we had you a level, we had you one or whatever.

“But he’s a world class fighter and he caught me with world class shot, so you have to give the man that credit and respect.

“I’ve been in these situations and I’ve done it to opponents before and took a lot of credit for it, so you have to give it back to him.

“He’s a very, very good fighter. He’s a very good fighter, very cunning.

“When I got in the ring with him, I thought, ‘Is that it? I expected more, but I guess everyone is going to be like that in this kind of fight.

Billy Joe Saunders reveals he plans to retire as he breaks silence for first interview since Canelo Alvarez lost and insists he hasn’t quit in the area
Saunders’ injury was visible in the second half of the eighth round
Michelle Farsi / Boxing Matchroom

Halfway through the eighth round, the contest changed in an instant.

Saunders leaned low, but Canelo anticipated his move and countered with a perfect right uppercut.

The 31-year-old recalls: “When I was hit I was hit by the shot and I remember it very, very clearly.

“I was like, ‘Ooh, this is a good shot, this is a good shot.’ And I started to bounce, but my eye was out.

“I could see like two or three all the time and I realized after 30 seconds that it wasn’t my legs, it was my eye.

“It’s a bad injury, an injury I thought I would never get, but you never know what’s going to happen in boxing.”

Billy Joe Saunders reveals he plans to retire as he breaks silence for first interview since Canelo Alvarez lost and insists he hasn’t quit in the area
Canelo celebrated as the BJS team called off the fight
Ed Mulholland / Game Hall

When the end came after round eight, TV cameras showed Saunders shaking his head in his corner and talking to assistant Ben Davison before coach Mark Tibbs left the contest.

This has led many to suggest that he resign – a claim he insists is not accurate.

Saunders replied, “As a fighter I wanted to keep going. I sat down and could hear Ben [Davison] telling me in a corner that it was over before I even sat down.

“I shook my head to say, ‘No way.’

Billy Joe Saunders reveals he plans to retire as he breaks silence for first interview since Canelo Alvarez lost and insists he hasn’t quit in the area
Saunders is adamant he hasn’t quit
Getty Images – Getty

“It was the right stop, I can’t argue, I know my best interests were close at hand.

“Obviously it’s heartbreaking and nobody wants to lose, it’s heartbreaking, but it’s sport and it’s boxing.

“We can only say that the best won that night. That’s it.

“I would have loved to see how the next four or five laps would go because I put a lot of heart and effort into it.

“It’s sport.”

Billy Joe Saunders reveals he plans to retire as he breaks silence for first interview since Canelo Alvarez lost and insists he hasn’t quit in the area
Saunders couldn’t emerge victorious from the biggest stage of all
Michelle Farsi / Boxing Matchroom

Responding to those who criticized him over the conclusion of the fight, he added: “You will always have your people who will come and have their two pence value.

“But my team in this corner knows the conversation. I was going out for the ninth Orthodox round and when people say, “He stopped” you have to look at the situation.

“My team is there to do a job, they are there to defend my best interests.

“I’m here to carry on all night. When we step into that ring it’s our life and I’m ready to put life aside.

“But never in my life would I have said, ‘No, I’m done, I’m done.’

“I fought one minute and 20 seconds with a broken eye socket, a broken cheekbone in three places.

“A minute and 20 seconds is good to fight the average man, but when you fight the best man on the planet I could easily have pulled out, but I never did.”

“It was the Cornerman’s decision. That’s what it is, I can’t argue with it.

Billy Joe Saunders reveals he plans to retire as he breaks silence for first interview since Canelo Alvarez lost and insists he hasn’t quit in the area
Canelo won the belts, while Billy Joe walked away empty-handed
Michelle Farsi / Boxing Matchroom

As to whether he could retire now, Saunders concluded: “At the end of the day I’m 31, if I never want to work again, if I want to sit down, if I want to relax, I can do it.

“And it should be so, I spent a lot of time boxing and paid my dues. Sport has been very, very good for me…

“I am 31 years old, I have not suffered any punishment, I have not been beaten from pillar to pillar, brain dead and I cannot compose a sentence, so I have to sit down and consider my options.

“Because the options have to weigh – the idea that I was just fighting for a global rating or something, the belts don’t feed kids.

“Everything should pile up and [be] the good fight.

Billy Joe Saunders reveals he plans to retire as he breaks silence for first interview since Canelo Alvarez lost and insists he hasn’t quit in the area
Saunders had an impressive career as the two-weight world champion
Michelle Farsi / Boxing Matchroom

“Because coming back down from fights like that is very hard, where do you go from there?”

“I’m going to talk to my dad because he will have his say.

“To be fair, it will be more or less my dad in the conversation more than me if I’m being honest.”

“It’s one of them where it’s 50/50. Whether I think I will have one more or a few more, but they have to be the right kind of fights.

“If he says, ‘Leave him, son, don’t go back,’ then that’s probably what I’ll do. “

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