VIDEO: Who is the real Billy Joe Saunders?
It is fair to say that Ingle recruit Billy Joe Saunders hasn't been regarded as an ambassador for the sport of boxing.
Some of his pre-fight trash talk, insults and general social media outpourings would appear on a good taste chart starting from near-to-the-bone to utterly outrageous.And that’s putting it mildly.However, his recent WBO world title defence in Canada, against the dangerous David Lemieux, has been rightly dubbed the best boxing exhibition of 2017.It was the sweet science at its very best, in exceptionally trying circumstances.It is unlikely he has ever boxed as well in his unbeaten 26-fight history.But will his often jarring public-personality stop the skilled southpaw from being fully embraced by the British public?Given some of the things he has said, will he ever be taken to the nation’s heart like Anthony Joshua, Frank Bruno and Ricky Hatton for example?We talked to Sheffield’s Amer Khan, who helps train and support 28-year-old Saunders and other fighters at the famous gym in Wincobank.Here is what he had to say:
SAUNDERS’ ACHIEVEMENT IN CANADA“I thought Billy Joe’s performance makes him the best British boxer to box on foreign soil...and wins hands down. It was unbelievable.“He went in looking like a movie star and came out looking like one, not a mark on his face.”Khan said he couldn’t think of any other British boxer fighting so convincingly overseas. Even the likes of Joe Calzaghe and Naseem Hamed could not match that.
WHO IS THE REAL BILLY JOE?He is actually a very nice guy, a gentleman. Very articulate, very well spoken. He does a lot for charity.“He is currently donating his gloves that he beat Chris Eubank Jr with to the children charity Great Ormond Street and the bids are going in for that on January 15. “He also backs the ‘Niamh’s Next Step’ organisation fighting childhood cancer.“When we were in Canada he gave a homeless guy money for food. That’s fantastic; who does that in this day and age?“People don’t see that side of Billy Joe, they just see the locker room banter that he does.”Khan said 'industrial language and banter' were needed in such a dangerous sport, but he insisted that Saunders had never meant anything malicious in his remarks.
IS SAUNDERS UP WITH THE ALL TIME INGLE GREATS?“He is right up there in my opinion - I believe it is his destiny to beat Canelo (Saul Alvarez) or (Gennady) Golovkin. He could run rings around Canelo. Golovkin is tailor made for him.”Khan puts BJS in the same bracket as Ingle legends Naseem Hamed, Junior Witter, Johnny Nelson and Kell Brook.He is colourful and charismatic...he is fun to be around. He has fitted in perfectly.”
THE PRICE IS RIGHTSaunders, who says he is likely to retire at 30, did well financially out of his win over Lemieux in Quebec.According to wikipedia, he “earned a minimum $1 million purse while Lemieux took home a $500,000 guaranteed purse.“The fight, which marked Saunders’ first appearance on HBO, averaged 716,000 viewers, peaking at 775,000 viewers.”
Want to bid for Saunders' gloves?
Check his twitter account out, or email [email protected]