Ben Davison reflects on the recent performance from Billy Joe Saunders and his chances against Canelo
It wasn’t the finest performance Billy Joe Saunders has ever produced but Hatfield’s WBO super-middleweight champion got the job done. Faced with a tougher-than-expected challenge from unsung Argentine Marcelo Coceres on the big KSI vs Logan Paul 2 show in LA, Saunders entered round 11 behind on one scorecard and narrowly ahead on the other two. Faced with adversity on a big stage, Saunders summoned one last big effort, dropping Coceres three times and closing the show.
With the victory, Saunders kept alive his long-standing hopes of facing Mexican superstar and pound-for-pound number one, Canelo Alvarez. It has been suggested in the past that Saunders’ profile is not sufficiently high to tempt Canelo into facing a slick, fast southpaw who has never been beaten. Billy Joe’s recent trainer Ben Davison, superseded for at least this fight by Dominic Ingle due to logistical issues, believes his friend would still give Canelo all he could handle.
“I still believe he would shock the world in that fight,” Davison told me over the phone from Spain. “Canelo’s team always been well known for trying to take their opponents at the right time, so maybe this fight will convince them.”
Davison watched Saunders labours against Coceres but dismissed any suggestion his absence from the corner was a factor. He cited significant evidence that Saunders regularly fights up – and down – to the level of opposition.
“The greats always find a way and he found a way,” Davison noted. “He had an off night, not for the first time and, depending how long he carries on, probably not the last. In the amateurs he stopped lads in the first or second round then he’d be taken to a close decision. Top fighters need their juices flowing and have a bit of fear factor put in them. As we’ve all seen throughout his career, he put on performances against Gary O’Sullivan, Chris Eubank Jr, Andy Lee and David Lemieux. He was shit against Artur Akovov and not great against Emanuele Blandamura. I’m sure you’ll see a better version of him next time out, he just needs to keep working on his craft.”