“I Felt the Iron Go in My Eye” – Billy Joe Saunders Recounts His Gruesome Injury Against Canelo Alvarez

Published 06/12/2021, 6:30 AM EDT
May 8, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Canelo Alvarez (teal trunks) and Billy Joe Saunders (blue green trunks) during a super middleweight boxing title fight at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports


Billy Joe Saunders suffered the maiden defeat of his pro career against Canelo Alvarez, after contracting a horrific eye injury in round eight. As Alvarez cracked Saunders’ orbital bone with a punch, Saunders’ corner stopped the fight in the break between rounds.

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While many had accused ‘Superb’ of quitting, the former WBO 168 lbs champion recalled the incident and revealed several insights regarding the injury. Saunders connected with talkSport to discuss what his cornermen did after the eighth round.

Billy Joe Saunders said, “It’s not so much the black eye because if the top of your lid’s swelling up and the eyebrow’s swelling up like a house brick – as long as you can still see, it doesn’t matter. But [with mine], the cutman tried to put the iron on it in the corner. I felt the iron go in my eye.”

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As the injury was too deep, there was no coming back for Saunders from that point. However, several reports suggested that Billy Joe Saunders had agreed to continue the show. As his cornermen didn’t allow that, Canelo Alvarez successfully departed with all three super-middleweight belts. Here’s a deeper look into the fight.

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Canelo Alvarez viciously takes out Billy Joe Saunders

Following his back-to-back fights in December and February, Alvarez was perfectly honed to face Billy Joe Saunders in May for the WBA, WBC, and WBO super middleweight titles. However, it wasn’t an easy night for the P4P king as Saunders dominated the initial stage, outworking his Mexican rival several times.

That said, Saunders, who didn’t even hesitate to flaunt his moves, mocked his opposition in the ring. However, Canelo Alvarez returned stronger in the fight. Following the early round exchanges, the Mexican champion became aggressive and unleashed brutal power shots.

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May 8, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Canelo Alvarez (teal trunks) and Billy Joe Saunders (blue green trunks) during a super middleweight boxing title fight at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Only when they got perfectly placed, Saunders began witnessing his nightmare. He couldn’t offer much from his side and remained on the wrong end of a lopsided attack. Meanwhile, one of those punches shattered the Britisher’s orbital structure and damaged his right eye.

Although Saunders can regain himself in the flow and demand a rematch, he has already hinted at retirement. Now, only time will tell whether we see the boxers lock horns again.

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Raj Sarkar

2090 articles

A senior boxing writer at EssentiallySports, Raj Sarkar is a mass media graduate who is currently pursuing his master’s degree in broadcast journalism. In addition to his current role, he has worked with the MMA team at EssentiallySports and has interviewed prominent fighters such as Ritu Phogat and 'The Red King' Rory MacDonald. He combined his bachelor's degree with his adoration for combat sports and has a combined 2000 plus bylines in MMA and boxing over the last two years.

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