Chris Eubank Jr laughing at Billy Joe Saunders’ dreams being crushed by Canelo sums up their ill-feeling towards one another – the pair’s bitter rivalry has only intensified since 2014 showdown… and even a rematch wouldn’t settle their differences
- Billy Joe Saunders was forced to quit in his world title fight with Canelo Alvarez
- The Brit suffered a horrific eye injury in the eighth round of Saturday’s clash
- Chris Eubank Jr posted a video of himself laughing at Saunders being pulled out
- The pair have had a bitter rivalry ever since their absorbing clash back in 2014
- They’ve exchanged insults since then and regularly flirted with a future rematch
As Billy Joe Saunders sat down on his stool, exhausted, his eye busted and a life-long dream shattered, Chris Eubank Jr was on the other side of the Atlantic laughing his head off.
Much can be said about Saunders the man outside of the ring and much of the criticism he has received for his behaviour in the past has been deserving, but this would’ve been hard to watch even for his most enthusiastic of detractors.
Strip everything back and it was just a picture of a man, wounded and heartbroken after having a dream brutally crushed.
A hysterical Chris Eubank Jr watched on as his old foe Billy Joe Saunders lost to Canelo Alvarez
Saunders took a huge hit in the eighth round which caused his team to call a halt to the contest
It is moments like this why ‘you wouldn’t wish that on your worst of enemies’ is a saying at all. That Eubank Jr found it a sight for sore eyes says a lot about what kind of relationship he and Saunders have.
Had the shoe been on the other foot, Saunders would’ve likely found it all just as amusing, too.
The £10,000 Eubank took home for betting on this very eventuality made the moment all the more sweeter.
After posing a video of himself revelling in Saunders’ worst moment, he then volunteered to be the next man from these shores to embark on the quest to defeat the British slayer they call Canelo.
Saunders was the seventh Brit to try and fail to conquer this four-weight, five-time champion but Eubank insisted: ‘Canelo if you want a Brit to give you a real fight… I’m ready and waiting.’
Saunders boxed beautifully at times on Saturday but came up short in his bid to defeat Canelo
The Brit cut a distraught figure on his stool after being pulled out of the fight before the ninth
Money and titles aside, if Eubank Jr was ever to get the fight with Canelo one of the motivations for him would be to put up a better challenge than Saunders, who boxed beautifully at times and by no means did himself a disservice on Saturday night.
That desire to outdo Saunders and the rivalry between the pair stems back to their 2014 encounter.
Both were viewed as two of Britain’s most promising fighters at the time, with the general consensus that this was a genuine pick em fight.
After 12 pulsating rounds Saunders walked away with a split decision victory as well as the European, Commonwealth and British titles.
Typically, 12 rounds of trading leather is enough to gain a rival’s respect and is followed by the ceremonial burying of the hatchet. Not in this case.
Even as they’ve gone their own ways and moved up to world level, the ill-feeling for one another has not gone away.
Eubank Jr, who put £10,000 on Saunders losing by knockout, called out Canelo after the fight
There have been plenty of barbs and exchanges in the years since, which has only intensified calls for a re-run of their 2014 fight.
Not so long ago Saunders revealed he had signed to fight Eubank Jr twice before it fell through.
‘I’m open to them [rematch] talks, but I’ve done talks with them before, I’ve signed contracts twice to fight and it’s never ever materialised. They’re very hard work to do business with.
‘Maybe it can happen, but I find it very hard to work with idiots. And that’s what they are.
‘He’s got to go to bed every single night thinking, “that little Gypsy beat me, that little Gypo there”. He has to go to sleep thinking of caravans.
‘Every time he shuts his eyes, he remembers me. If I ever lost to him – this is on my kids’ life – if he ever beat me, I would be ashamed to go back and look my Dad in the eye because he is rubbish.’
The pair have history and have been bitter rivals even since their domestic dust-up in 2014
Saunders won that fight via a split-decision verdict after 12 absorbing rounds seven years ago
The feeling is mutual. Eubank says of Saunders: ‘He’s a joke. He’s a bad person. Kids growing up in boxing who are looking up to the world champions, he’s not a role model.
‘You would never want your kid looking at him and be “yeah, I want my son or my daughter to be that guy”. He’s a joke.
‘There are very few people that I dislike in boxing. I don’t dislike anyone, even like 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 settle any of their differences.
Eddie Hearn, who has worked with Sauerland many times in the past, alluded to that fight when discussing Saunders’ future, but admitted his awful injury could keep him out of action for a considerable amount of time.
‘You could see as soon as he (Canelo) hit him (Saunders) that he’d done his eye socket,’ Hearn told iFL TV after Saturday’s fight.
Former world champion Saunders has traded plenty of verbals and barbs with Eubank Jr
Eddie Hearn said there are big fights out there for Saunders still, Eubank Jr rematch included
‘I think because he couldn’t see, the next round was going to be a bad situation. I think he would have got badly hurt in that round.
‘He’s gone to hospital and I believe he’ll have that operated on immediately, so he’s going to be out for a long, long time.
‘But he’s a world-class fighter who lost to the pound-for-pound No 1. He’s a two-weight world champion.
‘If he wants to carry on there’s some big fights out there for him. He may feel he has got to a stage where he’s been there, he’s done it, he’s seen it all. We’ll back him 100 per cent.’
The last thing Saunders will be thinking about right now is Eubank Jr but maybe one day that second fight will happen and we’ll get to see who has the last laugh.
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