WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders has reunited with Ben Davison as his coach, the trainer told BoxingScene.com.
The reunion of Brits comes at a time when Saunders (29-0, 14 KOs) is being considered as Canelo Alvarez’s next opponent in May during Cinco de Mayo weekend.
Saunders is coming off a milquetoast win over unheralded Argentinian Marcelo Esteban Coceres in November during his United States debut at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. Saunders, who previously trained with Davison before the coach was committed fully to Tyson Fury, was down two points on one judge’s card and up two on the others when he escaped near disaster and scored an eleventh round TKO.
“I’ve known Billy Joe for a while. I’ve even helped him put game plans together for fights that I have not worked. We’re back together,” Davison told BoxingScene.com in an interview.
“Billy Joe has never been given an opportunity for the top fighters. He needs the motivation and fear factor in order to perform. He needs to be given an opportunity to test himself against the best. Boxing opponents like Coceres isn’t going to do it. I’ve been through it with Fury in his last fight [with Otto Wallin]. He needed that fear factor, too. Sometimes fighters perform at their best to the opponent’s skill level. But every time Billy Joe has been in a test, he’s always come through.”
When asked is Saunders would next face Alvarez, Davison said, “I would like to believe so.”
Davison also declined to comment on his recent split with Fury. The undefeated heavyweight hired SugarHill Steward in preparation for the rematch against Deontay Wilder.
Davison said he wished Fury nothing but the best and remained they were still friends. He emphasized that he wanted to keep the relationship respectful.
“I got myself occupied, and Billy Joe Saunders is my focus,” said Davison. “He’s been a champion for five years. That says something. He’s definitely earned the opportunity to test himself. It’s my job to put together the game plan to beat Canelo. We plan to keep his record at 100 percent.”
Saunders was previously trained by Dominic Ingle.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist and member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011. He has written for the likes of the LA Times, Guardian, USA Today, Philadelphia Inquirer, Men’s Health and NFL.com and currently does TV commentary for combat sports programming that airs on Fox Sports and hosts his own radio show in Los Angeles. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].