By Brian Webber: Billy Joe Saunders says he is interested in negotiating a rematch with Chris Eubank Jr if he successfully defeats Conor Benn on October 8.
Former two-division world champion Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs) is nursing his wounds after suffering multiple fractures to his left orbital bone in the eighth round during his fight against Canelo Alvarez in May 2021.
Saunders, 33, made a lot of money from the Canelo fight, and he is now in a rush to get back in the ring. Like many fighters who become overnight millionaires, Saunders is having fun, eating well, and delaying returning to the salt mines.
Eubank Jr (32-2, 23 KOs) is set to get rid of inexperienced welterweight Conor Benn on Oct. 8, so there’s a chance we could see a Eubank Jr-Saunders rematch.
Eight years ago, Saunders edged out Eubank Jr by a 12-round split decision. Most boxing fans would agree, Eubank Jr had returned to the fight in the championship rounds against a totally gassed Saunders.
Since their fight, Eubank Jr. has looked like a better fighter than Saunders, but he hasn’t been carefully guided and he needs to win two paper titles against weak opposition.
Saunders is a classic example of how smart promoters can guide an average fighter to world titles by pitting them against soft opposition. Billy Joe won his two world titles against Andy Lee and Shefat Isufi. It’s the same Andy Lee that Julio Cesar Chavez Jr and Brian Vera beat.
It’s a little late in the match for a rematch between Saunders and Eubank Jr. While this fight would have been decent in 2015, it’s 2022 now, and new boxing fans have no idea who these two fighters are. aging.
“A lot of people prefer Eubank because of his size. The smart thing the Benns did was put a weight restriction on him,” Billy Joe Saunders told match boxing.
“Look, I think this year is definitely marketable for me. I’m in the gym now, having fun, going twice a day, just having fun with the guys. I feel like I’m losing weight and getting better every day. I won’t rush anything. When I’m ready, I’m ready.
“It could be the end of the year or the beginning of next year, and we will find out soon. It all depends on the opponents available.
“It all depends on how he’s going to handle it at 33. The catch weight is 157 pounds, and he’s only allowed to gain a certain number of pounds before it’s a certain time. Lots of fighters might not be able to rehydrate where they need to be.
“When he says he’s 60% he’s probably saying that to cover himself up, to be honest, because maybe that worries him a bit. I’m going to frame it as a completely 50-50 fight.
“One, if you give Conor Benn another year of experience and then give him the advantage of the weight scenario, I would pick Conor Benn. With Eubank Jr’s experience, he’s been in some big fights , but with Conor Benn, you can’t rule it out.
“I just have a feeling 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 calm. He wants it so badly, and there’s something at stake that no one will understand. Only them, and I think Conor wants more.
“He [Conor] has the best man around to explain this stuff to him than me, and that’s his dad [Nigel Benn]. He’s in the gym, and he’s running all these long runs at half past five and up to four.
“He’s doing this for his family’s name. Whereas Eubank does it simply because it’s good money, and it’s attention. He appreciates the attention.
“Don’t forget, there’s business out there, and somebody’s coming, and he’s going to come strong. If I had a hundred pounds and had to put it on, it would definitely be on Conor Benn.
“I stand by that statement as long as my name is Billy Joe Saunders,” Billy Joe said when asked if he still thinks Eubank Jr will never win a world title. He’ll never be world champion as long as he’s got a hole in his ass because there’s one thing he can’t do, and that’s the box,” Eubank Jr said.