Billy Joe Saunders may often put himself in harebrained situations that make others question his grip on reality, but as far as the boxing business goes he is a stone-cold realist.
At least that seems to be the case from the way he responded to a recent question about his thoughts on facing Caleb Plant. Both are 168-pounders, have titles in the same division (Plant the IBF, Saunders the WBO), and both are somewhat similar in style, cuties (or technicians, if you prefer) who swear by the age-old yogic mantra “Hit, but don’t get hit” as if it was gospel.
It sounds like a perfectly reasonable fight to make, but Saunders did not bother trying to entertain it.
Why? In a word, politics.
“I think he’s a really good fighter,” Saunders (30-0, 14 KOs) said in an interview with IFL TV. “I actually like him as a fighter, but as for talking about me fighting him...is just a waste of breath ‘cause we’re on different platforms.”
The platforms are PBC/Fox and DAZN/Matchroom. Plant (20-0, 12 KOs) is aligned with the former and Saunders the latter, and those entities are not exactly fond of collaborating, given that they have their own corporate agendas to prioritize.
Though he is not writing off the possibility of such a matchup in the future, Saunders has low expectations since he can barely procure a significant fight on his own platform, where, in theory, it should be easy to get a fight with the likes of Gennadiy Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade, Canelo Alvarez, Daniel Jacobs, or Callum Smith. Thus far, none of those matchups have materialized, much to Saunders’ eternal frustration.
“If we can’t make these big fights with everyone on the same DAZN platform, to cross over and try to fight is very difficult to do,” Saunders said.
“But I do think he (Plant) is a good fighter. He’s very skilled well. He’s got a good boxing brain. I think he’s definitely a good fighter. I rate him.”
Plant is scheduled to defend his IBF title against Caleb Truax on Jan. 30 at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles.
Saunders has been told by his promoter Eddie Hearn that his next fight should take place by the end of February or the first week of March, but he admits he is growing tired of waiting around for a big fight.
“Let's stop beating around the bush and waiting around,” he said. “I'm going to get sick and tired of waiting around for one of these big fights. I'm getting to the stage that if a big fight doesn't get made, 'Thank you very much, see you later.' I'm in it for the big fights to see how good I am.
Saunders last fought in December, winning a wide decision against countryman Martin Murray.