Last night saw Billy Joe Saunders make his first defence of his WBO Middleweight Title against Arthur Akavov since taking it from Andy Lee this time last year. His performance was abysmal, and ring rust was very aparrent.
Nothing went Saunders way tonight, the trainer he normally has in his corner, Jimmy Tibbs was not there and instead Saunders had in his corner what looked to be a clueless teenager. The advice in between rounds was laughable, with whoever it was often referring to Billy as “Joe” and saying deep breaths repeatedly. He continued to tell Saunders your winning these rounds keep doing what your doing, when in fact in the eyes of most, he was loosing them.
The picture above was only from June, and as you can see that is not the shape of a Middleweight champion. There was rumours circling for a while that the reason the fight kept being delayed, was the fact that Saunders was struggling to make the weight. He seemed to loose his gas tank early and at the end of the 6th round, he told his corner he has a stitch.
It’s clear that Saunders cut too much weight too quickly and his inactivity over the last year has caught up with him. On my card I had Saunders winning by a round, with a lot of people having Akavov winning by a round. The performance was a shocker and even Saunders took to the microphone afterwards to address the situation and admitted it was a pathetic performance.
Billy Joe then said forget Golovkin or Canelo, on that performance there’s no chance I’m fighting those guys. Saunders has the only title remaining in the Middleweight division that Golovkin needs, and on the back of that performance last night, it would be a death wish getting in the ring with him.
Francis Warren the son of Saunders promoter Frank Warren of Boxnation said at the end of the fight that Eubank Jr, Canelo or Golovkin need to be the fights for Billy Joe next year as he is in need of a big fight, no more tune ups are acceptable.