On Monday, the British Boxing Board of Control notified WBO Super Middleweight Champion, Billy Joe Saunders, that his boxing license in the U.K. is being indefinitely suspended after a social media post, where he made light of domestic violence. However, as we’ve seen in the recent past, just because Saunders is temporarily without a license in Britain, it doesn’t preclude him from fighting elsewhere.
First, the BBBOC made their decision after a video surfaced on the “WhatsApp?” this past weekend, where Saunders was heard giving running commentary about what to do with your wife, girlfriend, etc., if they were annoying you during isolation. During his commentary he even joked about striking a woman to get her to quit annoying you.
Having considered comments made by Billy Joe Saunders on social media have suspended his boxer’s licence pending a hearing under the Board’s misconduct regulation, at a time and venue to be confirmed as soon as possible.”
The board has currently suspended all meetings and licensing for any fights due to the COVID-19 outbreak. When they do meet, they can obviously put a time frame on the Saunders suspension, if they choose.
Saunders is promoted by Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing, who reacted in a Monday interview with “Talksport” in the U.K. and denounced Saunders’ comments as, “an idiotic move.”
“I was appalled really. It was so idiotic, it was so frustrating because I know Billy well. It’s one step forward, four steps back with Billy Joe Saunders. It’s unacceptable for Joe Bloggs down the street to do it. It’s much more unacceptable for a world champion boxer to be doing it,” Hearn said.
“Young people are watching that video. People who are in abusive relationships are watching that video. You cannot do it, it’s unacceptable.”
Saunders was slated to fight Canelo Alvarez in what would’ve been the largest payday of his career May 2nd in Las Vegas before the Coronavirus outbreak basically shut down professional sports worldwide two weeks ago.
It has been believed that the Canelo – Saunders fight was attempting to be rescheduled for at some point in June or perhaps, even Memorial Day weekend in May, still in Las Vegas, if fights could resume?
Now, from a public relations standpoint the fight is clearly in jeopardy, especially with Saunders’ British license suspended.
Still, there are two recent examples, both involving Hearn and Matchroom Boxing fighters, where he simply “circumvented” problems or a suspension with one jurisdiction by going and fighting in another country or another state in the United States.
The most recent was Super Middleweight, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (the son of the Hall of Fame legend) and his skirting of a Nevada suspension for having disregarded a random Voluntary Anti-Doping Association drug test last year prior to his fight with fellow contender, Daniel Jacobs.
The Chavez- Jacobs fight was to have been in Las Vegas also, but the Nevada State Athletic Commission refused to license Chavez and demanded that he appear at a hearing to explain ducking the test. Chavez, his advisors and Hearn, all ignored that edict and Hearn brazenly instead elected to schedule the fight for nearby Phoenix, Arizona on the same date.
That enraged NSAC chairman Bob Bennett, who fired off a threatening letter to Hearn saying he was violating the “Muhammad Ali Act,” where fighters and promoters simply trying to go to another state to hold a fight, while being under suspension in another state, is forbidden.
Chavez, eventually got a California judge to give him a temporary restraining court order to allow him to fight, but he lost in February on a TKO to Jacobs, anyway.
Then, there is also the case of British heavyweight Dillian Whyte, who failed a pre-fight drug test in England last July prior to fighting Oscar Rivas in a non-title main event.
Whyte who was the headliner of that London card, and Hearn/Matchroom kept that info from his opponent and the fight went ahead anyway with Whyte winning by decision.
They contend that the positive test could be kept private, because of the appeal process.
After the fight, Whyte and his team refused to participate in the testing of Whyte’s “B sample,” which is part of the appeal and would have likely confirmed the original findings prior to the fight. The BBB0C never formally ruled or suspended Whyte over the course of last year.
So, Hearn went ahead and plugged Whyte in to a Heavyweight fight in Saudi Arabia with journeyman Mariusz Wach on the undercard of Joshua-Ruiz II last December 7th, outside of the BBOC jurisdiction.
Back to Saunders, it is not likely that Nevada (especially with the above recent history with Hearn/Matchroom) would license and allow him to fight later this summer, while under suspension from the British Boxing Board of Control.
However, as Hearn demonstrated already, he could potentially convince Canelo, Golden Boy Promotions, and DAZN streaming service to hold the fight in another location outside of Nevada or Britain, like he did with Whyte fighting in Saudi Arabia.
But, most importantly, as we wrote recently, it’s much more likely that the four division World Champ, Alvarez will simply move on from fighting Saunders altogether.
And he would look instead, to a September showdown in Las Vegas with a third mega-fight with former Undisputed Middleweight Champion, Gennady Golovkin.