Add Billy Joe Saunders to the list of boxers who have a hard time staying retired.
The former two-division titlist from Hatfield, England, revealed last week in an interview on Up Front With Simon Jordan that he will be fighting for the first time since his knockout loss to Canelo Alvarez in 2021 in December on a Matchroom-promoted card. Saunders said he will fight closer to the light heavyweight limit of 175 for his return bout but intends to fight at 168 thereafter.
After the tune-up in December, Saunders, 34, could be in line for a far more significant bout in the spring, according to Matchroom head Eddie Hearn.
“Yeah, everybody,” Hearn told Boxing Social when asked about possible opponents for Saunders. “Billy, I think, is in a great place in terms of his life, in terms of the way he matured, to actually have a good run now. I saw him the other day in the gym teaching kids. You have to understand that this guy has so much to offer the sport in terms of his fighting, in terms of his knowledge, in terms of his boxing brain, in terms of his punditry.”
“There’re still massive fights for him and he’s a brilliant talent,” Hearn continued. “I’m looking forward to welcoming him back. The key now is to get him in shape for that December fight and then line him up for a massive fight in the spring.”
The southpaw Saunders told Simon Jordan in the same interview that he only expects to fight three or four more times before calling it quits for good.
Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs) sustained fracture to his right orbital during his 12-round, 168-pound title unification bout against Alvarez in May of 2021 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Saunders fought well in the early going but was unable to continue before the ninth round because of the condition of his eye.
Alvarez remains the undisputed champion at 168, having successfully defended his belts last weekend against Jermell Charlo at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.