BILLY JOE SAUNDERS has some big decisions to make after his devastating defeat to Canelo Alvarez.
The Brit lost his WBO super-middleweight belt as well as his undefeated record after his corner pulled him out before the ninth round.
Saunders had suffered a sickening eye injury after a brutal uppercut by Canelo in the eighth.
He is reportedly set for surgery on broken orbital bone – that could put his very future in the sport in jeopardy.
Here, SunSport lists five options for the 31-year-old Hatfield fighter going forward.
After banking £5million from his ultimately unsuccessful shot at the biggest of fights out there, Saunders could well hang up the gloves.
After a decorated amateur career that included fighting at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and then going on to become a two-weight world champ in the pros, he has achieved plenty.
And doctors’ advice could make the decision an even easier one for Saunders.
Some reports in America stated that the Brit had suffered ‘multiple fractures’ to the orbital bone that could well cut short his career.
EUBANK JR REMATCH
There was one boxer who took particular delight in seeing Saunders lose in brutal style to Canelo – and that was Chris Eubank Jr.
The son of the boxing legend with the same name bet £10,000 on Saunders to get KO’d by Canelo, and promised to donate the £10,000 he won to charity.
Saunders beat Eubank Jr in a split decision in 2014 – with the loser that night believing he had done enough to win.
In terms of a crowd-puller, this would be the domestic dust-up to make – which whoever is defeated surely at the end of the road.
Could Saunders become the next sports star for a crossover fight?
He certainly has no fear, after getting into the boxing ring against a fighter who will go down as one of the greats.
And he trained with a number of MMA stars during his US camp for the Canelo fight – he might have learnt some new fighting techniques there.
MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLE FIGHT
It’s a fair criticism that Saunders seems to lack the power at super-middleweight.
He stepped up from middleweight after becoming frustrated with fights falling through – but at least at that weight his power could trouble opponents.
Demetrius Andrade is the WBO champ, and while he seems to fancy a crack at Canelo, Saunders could get a shot at Boo Boo.
Their fight in 2018 was scrapped when Saunders tested positive for a banned substance – he insists to this day it was as a result of using a nasal congestant.
JOIN TYSON FURY’S CORNER
Saunders has come out supporting WBC champ Tyson Fury in previous fights, and for the Canelo scrap Fury was a constant fixture alongside Saunders in fight week.
If retirement is the way forward, Billy Joe could always join Team Fury.
Big entourages are nothing new in boxing, so Fury adding his best mate and experience pro Saunders to the stable seems straightforward enough.