Canelo Alvarez Stops Billy Joe Saunders in Eight
Canelo Alvarez is now one step closer to becoming Undisputed at Super Middleweight. This, as he defeated Billy Joe Saunders after the eighth round capturing the Ring, WBC, WBO, and WBA titles in Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas, Saturday night.
The official ruling was Saunders’ corner stopped the fight after the end of the eighth round for a TKO.
The main event at AT&T Stadium in front of a raucous crowd of 73,126 witnessed Alvarez continue his quest for an undisputed title reign at 168 pounds.
That is not a typo.
It’s been well known leading into this fight that it would have the biggest crowd to attend since the pandemic began, and they were the atmosphere for the broadcast that aired on the streaming network DAZN and pay-per-view. New indoor record surpassing the rematch of Muhammad Ali and Leon Spinks at the Superdome in New Orleans in 1978 that drew 63,352 fans.
— Big Fight Weekend (@bigfightweekend) May 9, 2021
Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs) came into the contest as not only the underdog but embraced the role of heel villain in this fight, causing as much commotion and “mind games” he could provide before the bell rang. The crowd reminded him as much as he walked into the ring.
Once the bell rang, the talk of ring sizes disappeared, and it began with two guys standing in range feeling each other out. The opening round had more position than action, but was a clear close round for Saunders. The second round saw an adjustment of Alvarez, picking his spots and landing straight body shots attacking Saunders. What was billed as a matchup against a “slick southpaw” saw Canelo backing him up and posturing but unable to get much going offensively.
The fourth round was the best around for Saunders as he seemed to be a little more active and increased his work rate. However, Canelo continued pressing his body attack against Saunders, which still had him on his bicycle for most of the fight. That pace continued in the fifth round, and Saunders landed a big left hand in close that may have stolen him that round.
The eight-round was a difference-maker in this one as Alvarez caught Saunders flush with a right uppercut and was in trouble through most of the final minute of the round. Saunderss right eye showed some serious wear and tear to the point that it looked like a broken orbital bone. They were forced to stop that fight in his corner, because of it.
Some confusion on when or why it was stopped, but Saunders was clearly in extreme pain from that eye.
“I said the fight was going to develop before the 7th or 8th round and that’s what happened,” Alvarez said to Chris Mannix from DAZN post fight. “It wasn’t as difficult, as I expected and that proves that my preparation has improved day by day.”
When asked about Saunders not coming out for the ninth round? Alvarez responded,
“The truth is, I knew it. I think I broke his cheek.”
Saunders left the ring before the official announcement of the TKO and was taken by ambulance a little while later to a local Arlington medical center to have his right eye checked.
For the record, the three American judges scoring the fight all had Alvarez winning by scores of 78-74, twice and 77-75 on the third card.
Canelo nearly doubled up Saunders on power punches in the punching stats, out-landing him 58-30 over the eight rounds.
With the win for Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs), we all wait ad see now if and when we get the matchup with IBF champion Caleb Plant, as he is the last piece of the puzzle at 168?
Alvarez said in broken English, post-fight about Plant and the likelihood of him being next,
“That’s the plan. Plant is… I’m coming, my friend.”