By Brian Webber: Billy Joe Saunders says he’s interested in negotiating a rematch with Chris Eubank Jr if he successfully defeats Conor Benn on October 8th.
The former two-division world champion Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs) has been licking his wounds after suffering multiple fractures of his left orbital bone in the eighth round in his fight against Canelo Alvarez in May 2021.
Saunders, 33, made a lot of money from the Canelo fight, and he’s now been in a hurry to get back in the ring. Like a lot of fighters that become millionaires overnight, Saunders has been enjoying himself, eating well, and has been slow to return to the salt mines.
Eubank Jr (32-2, 23 KOs) is expected to dispose of the inexperienced welterweight Conor Benn on October 8th, so there’s a chance that we could see a Eubank Jr-Saunders rematch.
Eight years ago, Saunders edged Eubank Jr by a 12 round split decision. Most boxing fans would agree, Eubank Jr had taken over the fight in the championship rounds against a totally gassed out Saunders.
Since their fight, Eubank Jr. has looked like the far better fighter than Saunders, but he hasn’t been carefully guided as well as he has to pick up two paper titles against weak opposition.
Saunders is a textbook example of how clever promoters can guide an average fighter to world titles by matching them against soft opposition. Billy Joe picked up his two world titles against Andy Lee and Shefat Isufi. This is the same Andy Lee that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Brian Vera beat.
It’s a bit late in the game for a rematch between Saunders and Eubank Jr. While that fight would have been decent back in 2015, it’s 2022 now, and newer boxing fans have no idea who these two aging fighters are.
“A lot of people are favoring Eubank because of the size. The clever thing the Benn’s have done is put the weight restriction on him,” said Billy Joe Saunders to Matchroom Boxing.
“Listen, I think this year is definitely marketable for myself. I’m in the gym now, enjoying myself, going twice a day, just enjoying it with the lads. I seem to be enjoying it. The weight is coming off, and I’m getting fitter by the day. I’m not going to rush anything. When I’m ready, I’m ready.
“It could be the end of the year or early next year, and we’ll soon find out. It all depends on the opponents are available.
“It all depends on how he’s going to handle that at 33. The catchweight is 157 pounds, and he’s only allowed to put on so many pounds before it’s a certain time. A lot of fighters might not be able to rehydrate to where they need to be.
“When he says he’s at 60%, he’s probably saying that to cover his own back, to be honest, because perhaps it’s worrying him a little bit. I’m going to put it out there as a completely 50-50 fight.
“One, if you give Conor Benn another year’s experience and then give him the advantage of weight scenario, I would pick Conor Benn. With the experience that Eubank Jr has got, he’s been in some big fights, but with Conor Benn, you can’t write him off.
“I just got a feeling that he’s going to pull something out of the bag. I talked to him, and I’ve been talking to him for a while. He looks so composed. He wants it so bad, and there’s something on the line that nobody will understand. Only them, and I believe Conor wants it more.
“He [Conor] has the best man around him to explain those sort of things to him than me, and that’s his dad [Nigel Benn]. He’s up in the gym, and he’s running all these long runs at half past five and up at four.
“He’s doing this for his family’s name. Whereas Eubank is just doing it because it’s good money, and it’s the attention. He’s enjoying the attention.
“Don’t forget, there’s business there, and someone is coming, and he’s going to come hard. If I had a hundred pounds and I had to put it on, would most definitely be on Conor Benn.
“I stand by that statement as long as my name is Billy Joe Saunders,” said Billy Joe when asked if he still thinks Eubank Jr will never capture a world title. He will never be a world champion as long as he has a hole in his a** because there’s one thing he can’t do, and that’s box,” said Eubank Jr.