While Billy Joe Saunders sat down on his stool, exhausted, his eye broken and shattered a lifelong dream, Chris Eubank Jr. sat on the other side of the Atlantic laughing his head off.
Much can be said about Saunders, the man outside the ring, and much of the criticism he has received for his behavior in the past is appropriate, but this would have been difficult for even his most avid opponents to see.
Strip it all back and it was just a picture of a man injured and heartbroken after brutally crushing a dream.
A hysterical Chris Eubank Jr watched as his old foe Billy Joe Saunders lost to Canelo Alvarez
Saunders took a massive hit in the eighth round that caused his team to stop the game
It’s times like this why “ you wouldn’t wish that on your worst enemies ” is totally a saying. That Eubank Jr thought it was pleasing to the eye says a lot about what kind of relationship he and Saunders have.
If the shoe had been on the other side, Saunders probably would have found it all just as funny too.
The £ 10,000 that Eubank took home for betting on this opportunity made the moment all the more pleasant.
After shooting a video of himself enjoying Saunders’ worst moment, he volunteered to be the next man from these shores to search for the British murderer they call Canelo.
Saunders was the seventh Briton to try not to beat this four-weight, five-time champion, but Eubank insisted, “Canelo if you want a Brit to give you a real fight … I’m ready.”
Saunders sometimes boxed beautifully on Saturday, but fell short in his attempt to beat Canelo
The Briton slashed a distraught figure on his stool after pulling out of the fight for the ninth
Money and titles aside, if Eubank Jr ever got the fight with Canelo, one of the motivations for him would be to take on a better challenge than Saunders, who boxed beautifully at times and by no means did himself a disservice on Saturday evening.
That desire to outdo Saunders and the pair’s rivalry stems from their meeting in 2014.
Both were seen as two of Britain’s most promising fighters at the time, with the general consensus that this was a real pick-em fight.
After 12 pulsating rounds, Saunders walked away with a split decision victory and the European, Commonwealth and British titles.
Typically, 12 rounds of trade doctrine is enough to earn a rival’s respect, followed by the ceremonial burying of the ax. Not in this case.
Even now that they have gone their separate ways and moved to world level, the bad feeling for each other has not gone away.
Canelo if you want a Brit to actually fight you … I’m ready
– Chris Eubank Jr (@ChrisEubankJr) May 9, 2021
Eubank Jr, who put £ 10,000 on Saunders who lost by knockout, called out Canelo after the fight
There have been many barbs and exchanges in the years since, which has only intensified calls for a repeat of their 2014 fight.
Not long ago, Saunders revealed that he signed on to fight Eubank Jr twice before it failed.
‘I am open to them [rematch] conversations, but I’ve had conversations with them before, I signed contracts twice to fight and it never materialized. They work very hard to do business with.
“Maybe it can happen, but I find it very difficult to work with idiots. And they are.
“He has to go to bed every night and thinks,” That little gypsy beat me, that little gypsy over there. ” He has to go to sleep thinking about caravans.
‘Every time he closes his eyes, he remembers me. If I ever lost to him – this is on my kids’ lives – if he ever hit me I’d be ashamed to go back and look my dad in the eye because he’s bullshit. ‘
The pair have been history and have been bitter rivals, even since their domestic dust accumulation in 2014
Saunders won that fight in a split-decision verdict after 12 absorbing rounds seven years ago
The feeling is mutual. Eubank says of Saunders, “He’s a joke. He is a bad person. Kids growing up in boxing and looking up to the world champions, he’s not a role model.
“You would never want your child to look at him and say,” Yes, I want my son or my daughter to be that boy. ” He is joking.
‘There are very few people I don’t like about boxing. I don’t hate anyone, not even people I’ve fought. Him, I don’t like. ‘
Eubank’s promoter Kalle Sauerland said last week that a clash against Saunders is a stadium fight and is a very real possibility in the near future – not that it would resolve any of their disputes.
Eddie Hearn, who has worked with Sauerland many times in the past, hinted at that fight when discussing Saunders’ future, but admitted that his terrible injury could keep him out of action for a significant amount of time.
“ As soon as he (Canelo) hit him (Saunders) you could tell he had his eye socket done, ” Hearn told iFL TV after Saturday’s fight.
Former world champion Saunders has traded many verbal words and barbs with Eubank Jr
Eddie Hearn said there are still big fights for Saunders, including the Eubank Jr rematch
‘I think because he couldn’t see the next round would be a bad situation. I think he would have been badly injured in that round.
“He went to the hospital and I think he will have it operated on immediately, so he will be away for a long, long time.
“But he’s a world-class fighter who lost to No. 1 pound-for-pound. He’s a world champion with two weights.
If he wants to continue, there are some big fights ahead of him. He may feel like he’s reached a stage where he’s been there, he’s done it, he’s seen everything. We support him 100 percent. ‘
The last thing Saunders will think about at this point is Eubank Jr, but maybe one day that second fight will take place and we’ll see who laughs last.