Mark Tibbs has denied claims that Billy Joe Saunders wanted to be pulled out of his fight with Canelo Alvarez on Saturday and insists it was his decision after not receiving the response he required.
Saunders’ right eye closed almost instantly from a huge uppercut from Canelo in the eighth round of their Super Middleweight unification showdown at AT & T Stadium, Texas, promoting Tibbs to pull the Brit out when he returned to the corner.
The 31-year-old was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth immediately afterwards and promoter Eddie Hearn said he was to have surgery on Sunday after suffering multiple fractures to his orbital bone.
Nevertheless, there were several complaints particularly on social media that Saunders quit on his stool, amid beliefs that he could have continued, but his trainer, Tibbs maintains that the two-weight world champion did not look to pul out when he returned to the corner.
“His eye socket was caved in and he couldn’t see,” Tibbs told Behind The Gloves.
“I didn’t get the response I wanted from him. It’s a tough business and it was frustrating really, because I felt that he was growing into it. I had to pull it.
“I didn’t get the response I needed in the corner and I knew it was caved in. I’m not surprised I got the response I got.
“I love Billy Joe like a brother. I know his mum, I know his dad, I’ve known him for a long while, we live to fight another day.
“He never said, ‘No, that’s it.’ He left it to me. He took it well. He was in pain.
“He gave it his best shot and he was coming into the fight, but he got injured. His leading eye against the pound-for-pound great, he’s done himself proud.”
Saunders, the undefeated WBO Super Middleweight world champion heading into the clash, was having success in the middle rounds, but was behind on all three of the judges scorecards at the time of the stoppage, with four-weight world champion, Canelo coming on strong.
Canelo, who headed in as the WBA ‘Super’ and WBC champion now holds three of the four world titles at 168lbs and called for a clash with IBF titlist Caleb Plant to decide the division’s undisputed champion.
View this post on Instagram
The 30-year-old cemented his position as arguably the sport’s pound-for-pound number one and sympathised with the decision for Saunders to be removed from battle after eight rounds.
“It’s hard because I saw when he broke his cheekbone, I went back to the corner and I told Eddy that I didn’t think he can continue,” Alvarez said in the post-fight press conference after beating a seventh British fighter.
“When you break your cheekbone, you can risk your life and you can’t continue that way.”
WBC Heavyweight champion, Tyson Fury who was ringside in Dallas voiced his support for his long-time friend on social media on Sunday.
“People love to hate on others willing to chase there dreams,” Fury posted on Twitter.
people love to hate on others willing to chase there dreams, @bjsaunders_ tried to be great last night! it wasn’t his night but at least he had the bottle to follow his dreams & heart ❤️, he will always be my bro 😎 we go back to 15/16, what a night to remember in #30years dallas pic.twitter.com/sOVMRsBFyU
— TYSON FURY (@Tyson_Fury) May 9, 2021
“@bjsaunders_tried to be great last night! it wasn’t his night but at least he had the bottle to follow his dreams & heart, he will always be my bro we go back to 15/16, what a night to remember in #30years dallas.”