Billy Joe Saunders and the Half-Closed Door

By Clarence George on March 17, 2013
Billy Joe Saunders and the Half-Closed Door
Billy Joe Saunders even managed to beat Hungarians Attila Molnar and Norbert Szekeres.

Expect Saunders to refer to Hall as his “bitch” following their March 21 bout in “England’s green and pleasant land”…

Say farewell to the trumpets!
You will hear them no more.
But their sweet sad silvery echoes
Will call to you still
Through the half-closed door.

The British Empire’s last trumpet sounded long ago. Farewell to Queen Victoria’s reign, the lion’s roar of Churchillian oratory, the adventure tales of G.A. Henty. Gone the days when a small detachment of Royal Marines would land upon a far-flung shore, putting paid to an impertinent uprising with little more than a flinty “What’s all this, then?” When an unarmed and unescorted William Packenham found himself surrounded by a large and displeased number of Her Majesty’s subjects in Asia Minor, he instructed his quaking interpreter to “Tell these ugly bastards that I am not going to tolerate any more of their bestial habits.” And let’s not forget Charles Napier’s “Be it so. This burning of widows is your custom; prepare the funeral pile. But my nation has also a custom. When men burn women alive we hang them, and confiscate all their property. My carpenters shall therefore erect gibbets on which to hang all concerned when the widow is consumed. Let us all act according to national customs.” If that isn’t commendable in its cultural sensitivity, I don’t know what is.

The disappearance of the Empire upon which the sun never set is for the better in some ways, perhaps, and yet do we not sorrow for “that which once was great is passed away”?

“Commonwealth,” for example, certainly doesn’t convey the history, the distinction, or the romance of “Empire”...

Which is not to say that the current crop of fighters from across the pond is anemic. British Empire (all right, Commonwealth) middleweight champ Billy Joe Saunders is a case in point.

The southpaw has boxing in his blood. His great grandfather on his mother’s side was bare-knuckle fighter Absolom Beeney, who put up his dukes “whenever he needed some beer money,” which is as good a reason as any. Following a stellar amateur career, Saunders, 23 (16-0, 10 KOs), turned pro in 2009. “Superb” won the vacant Commonwealth middleweight title via first-round TKO in his bout with Tony Hill last April. He successfully defended his title three times, beating Bradley Pryce by unanimous decision in June, Jarrod Fletcher by second-round TKO in September, and Nick Blackwell by unanimous decision in December. Undefeated, Saunders even managed to beat Hungarians Attila Molnar and Norbert Szekeres by early TKOs in, respectively, 2009 (Saunders’ pro debut) and 2011. Implausible, and I was filled with suspicion until I recalled that Saunders himself has Gypsy blood. And he’s a lefty, which was no doubt a grossly unfair advantage. Besides, Molnar and Szekeres are only junior middleweights. So there you are.

Saunders will be defending his title for a fourth time against Matthew Hall at York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, on March 21.

“El Torito”, 28 (25-6, 16 KOs), is an 11-year pro who did very well initially, winning 16 consecutive fights, 10 by KO or TKO. His first loss came via first-round TKO at the hands of Martin Concepcion in 2007. Hall won the following six fights, five by TKO. Most notably, he won the Commonwealth junior middleweight championship by stopping Pryce via second-round TKO in 2009, only to lose it via eighth-round TKO to Anthony Small later that year. “The Little Bull” lost out on the opportunity to bring home the vacant EBU junior middleweight title in 2010, losing by sixth-round TKO to Lukas Konecny. Hall lost three of his last five fights, and lost two of the three he had in 2012. Sam Webb defeated him by split decision in April and Gary O’Sullivan by unanimous decision in July. Hall won his most recent fight, beating Lee Noble on points in November.

Hall is, or at least was, a decent enough fighter, but English cooking will be considered haute cuisine before he beats the very good indeed Saunders. In fact, I fully anticipate HMS “Superb” to fire several broadsides early on, handing Hall his seventh loss and fourth stoppage. 

Sad to relate that quintessential British warship commander Reginald Charles Prothero (“Prothero the Bad”) is no longer with us. The Empire, er, Commonwealth could use a man who addressed all and sundry, including his superiors, as “Boy.” Although not quite of the same panache, expect Saunders to refer to Hall as his “bitch” following their March 21 bout in “England’s green and pleasant land.”

Follow us on Twitter@boxing_com to continue the discussion

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  1. raxman 05:13pm, 03/19/2013

    the impressive win for mine was the one against fletcher. fletcher is a rising star of oz boxing. a former captain of the oz amateur team and the 2006 comm games gold medalist - beating chunky de gale on the way.
    these guys came into the fight with similar pro records and both with great prospect written all over them. its a credit to both boys management that they put them in such a risky fight without padding there records with another 20 fights. as it turned out it was only a risk for fletcher. saunders finds his range very very well which isn’t a bad skill to have when you’re a left handed banger. i will say in my homie’s defence though; it was a quick stoppage.

  2. Clarence George 03:05am, 03/19/2013

    Thank you, Mike.

    I recommend that you keep them in the pub, ply them with strong drink… and press the Queen’s shilling into their hands.

  3. Mike Casey 02:51am, 03/19/2013

    Good report, Clarence. I will now venture forth onto the high street, sword in hand, in my continuing effort to recruit some troops and revive the spirit of Henry V - if I can pull them all out of the pub!!

  4. Clarence George 06:58am, 03/18/2013

    Ha!  Well, perhaps more Gilbert and Sullivan in this particular case.

    But in spite of all temptations
    To belong to other nations,
    He remains an Englishman!
    He remains an Englishman!

  5. Irish Frankie Crawford Beat Saijo aka Gimpel 06:35am, 03/18/2013

    Clarence George-You’re a Gershwin tune…Which reminds me…God bless the Brits for early on traipsing about the globe and getting the rest of God’s children to wake the f*ck up and get moving…whether they wanted to or not!

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