By Jim Calfa: Billy Joe Saunders wants Chris Eubank Jr. to “Call it a day” and hang up his gloves following his fourth round knockout loss to Liam Smith last Saturday night in their grudge match in Manchester, England.
Saunders, who owns a victory over Eubank Jr (32-3, 23 KOs) in 2014, feels that he’s too old to attempt to learn how to box at 33 with trainer Roy Jones Jr.
Billy Joe says Eubank Jr might have been knocked out even quicker if he’ had been in the ring with Conor Benn last night in the state that he was in.
If Eubank Jr does choose to continue his career, Billy Joe advises that he return to the 168-lb division because, at his age, he loses punch resistance & more importantly, power by melting down to 160 to face opponents that are strong at that weight, like we witnessed last Saturday night with Liam Smith looking like Superman inside the ring.
Unfortunately for Eubank Jr, if he chooses to fight Liam again, he may need to melt down even further to 157 pounds because that’s a weight that Smith mentioned at the post-fight press conference last night that he may choose to fight at for a rematch with Chris.
Saunders says he’s going to be returning to the ring soon, but he’s not interested in a rematch with Eubank Jr. He wants to fight elite-level guys, mentioning Liam Smith, Callum Smith, John Ryder and Demetrius Andrade as potential foes.
“Fair play to the Smiths; they’re very, very clever and knowledgeable when it comes to boxing. Everybody was going on about Eubank fighting at twelve stone. He’s been in with the big names, George Groves, this, that,” said Billy Joe Saunders to iFL TV about Chris Eubank Jr’s loss to Liam Smith.
“Liam Smith stepping up to 160 from 154 weight, but what people don’t realize is obviously that being 33-years-old, as Eubank Jr is, boiling down to 160, it’s not so much punch resistance, I don’t care what shape your in, sometimes your body needs to grow.
“It’s natural for it to grow and be a certain size and not to boil down and probably lose punch resistance. I think he knows that, and I think personally myself, the game plan he had, I knew he was going to cause him big problems because he’s [Liam Smith] comfortable. He’s coming up from 154 at his age to 160, where he should be. So Eubank is coming down, where realistically, he should probably be 168.
“So, he’s boiled down and is going to be 50%, and he went in there and got flattened. He retires. What more can he do? It’s a building process. For him to come back and be in big fights, it’s not going to happen,” said Saunders when asked where Eubank Jr goes after this defeat. “So, he has a lot of rebuilding to do, hasn’t he?
“He’s got to build up from the start again because getting beat at the elite level with titles on the line and belts on the line, he sort of come out of two different building brackets.
“Where he’s [Eubank Jr] coming from is Liam Smith coming up from 160 to beating him. So he’s got to now prove himself at 160 or whatever weight he’s going to do. People get older, and he’s employed Roy Jones Jr to teach him to box at 32.
“He’s had him for the last year or so, perhaps a little bit longer. What are you going to ask someone to teach you how to box at 30? If you notice, his dad wasn’t around. His dad wasn’t there last night, and to be fair, he’s all this bravado and starts to have a mental breakdown.
“He left him to his own device, and he wasn’t even at the fight, wasn’t even getting him out and getting his head sorted out.
“Yeah, he should retire; he’s never going to be world champion. He’s not good enough to be a world champion, and he’s not good enough to be up there with 80% of the population at the weight. So he’s never going to be a world champion. He’s obviously had a few quid. Call it a day; he’s done well with his dad’s name and retire in it.
“Look, he’s done; he’s finished. Liam Smith has gone there and put the icing on his career really, I think, because Liam Smith is a good fighter, he’s a very good fighter. He’s been in there with some big, big names, and what he did last night was he came in there and executed his game plan. He just stuck with it; he didn’t panic for the first three rounds, even though they were tight.
“He maintained the pressure from round one and got Eubank on the back foot, doing his boxing what he learned, and that’s where it got him, knocked out cold. So obviously, I’m coming back to do my thing, but I’m not building myself around other fighters.
“I’ve been talking to a couple of promoters, and things have been delayed, and I have the results. I’m not interested in other fighters. I’m interested in building myself. So I’ll be sitting down with a couple of people and sort my own self out.
“Yeah, I’m very happy, very happy this morning. Of course, listen, if you look at the opponents out there at the minute, you’ve got your Callum Smiths, Liam Smiths, you got your Andrades, and you still got your fighters up there that maintained and are still elite fighters. That’s the fighters I want.
“Come in and have a little shake off and get the ring rust off, and then I want to get in there with the elite. To be fair, at this stage of my career coming up, I don’t want to be getting in there with someone like Eubank. I know the money is good and everything else, but it’s not in the script.
“If people put stupid money and money talks, but I’m looking to get in there with well-established fighters and well-respected and well truly-earned fighters rather than getting in there with someone because of his dad’s name [Eubank Jr].
“Listen, he’s done well, he’s earned a living out of it, he’s done more than well, and he should be happy, but it’s time to call it a day, isn’t it?
“Yeah, of course,” said Saunders when asked if he’d be interested in fighting a rematch against John Ryder. “I think me and John Ryder has the making for a good fight. We’ve got some mystery there, and we can go back and revisit that. It’s got to be alright for himself on the business side and myself.
“So, I hope he gets the Canelo fight because he deserves it. He’s put a lot of man-hours in the game, he’s never given up, and he’s come back and built himself. It may be a fight for Eubank to take, isn’t it?
“Personally myself, especially at the weight they had it penciled in at, I mean, I’d be very surprised if Eubank would have lasted the same sort of distance because Conor Benn can box,” said Billy Joe when asked how Eubank Jr would have done if he’d been in the ring with Conor Benn last Saturday night rather than Liam Smith.
“We’ll find out how that would be with Conor Benn and Liam Smith. Yeah, of course. Liam Smith is a natural 154-lb fighter. He went up to Eubank Jr’s weight, dealt with him, and he’s got some big money fight there now.
“His options are open, and that could be an option, him and Conor Benn.
“I’m going to chat with a few people, getting the right deal before I confirm any dates and make sure everything is good. So, we’re in talks now, and I should have some news in the next four or five weeks. Then I can start putting a few plans in and opponents into motion.
“I’m just waiting now. I’ve got a few lawyers putting a few bits & bobs out for me, and I’m just waiting. These things take a bit of time when you’re coming back, and you’ve got to get everything right because this is the main thing.
“In this game, we’re not here for a long time. I’ve figured that out. I can remember when I turned pro to where I’m at now. I still want to maintain my business 100% and take care of it like I normally do. There’s no rush; I’ll definitely be out this year. With who, I can’t say, but at the moment, I’m just finalizing a couple of things, and we’ll be looking forward. We’ve got a few opponents in mind. They’ll be decent opponents, and we’ll get the ball rolling again,” said Saunders.