A prime Canelo Alvarez is still adding to his game

As Canelo Alvarez was getting acclaims from the record crowd at AT&T Arena in Arlington, Texas, formerly unbeaten WBO incredibly middleweight champ Billy Joe Saunders, his vanquished challenger, staggered into the back of an ambulance waiting to take him to a regional medical facility for an X-ray.

“I think I broke his face,” Alvarez stated, matter-of-factly.

Certainly he did.

Alvarez stopped Saunders after 8 thudding, crunching, effective rounds. He landed a counter best uppercut, dropping low and becoming the punch like he was attempting to drive his fist through Saunders’ face. Saunders didn’t decrease, however that was the battle right there.

Saunders is an excellent fighter; hell, he’s an excellent fighter. He’s wise and he’s tough and he understands how to box.

His issue is he was combating among the sport’s all-time greats who, at simply thirty years old, is in fact contributing to his video game.

Alvarez’s power has actually drastically enhanced because his triumph over Gennadiy Golovkin in 2018. Alvarez transferred to incredibly middleweight after that battle and in the 6 bouts because, has actually gone 6-0 with 4 knockouts. At the same time, he included the WBA, WBC and WBO incredibly middleweight titles in addition to the WBO light heavyweight title that he rapidly gave up.

He’s not a huge person for the department and he’s not remarkably muscled. However he’s enhanced his method, he’s enhanced his conditioning and he’s enhanced his footwork. Those 3 things have actually resulted in the visible addition of appear his hands.

That appeared in the preliminary. Alvarez did next-to-nothing in the battle’s opening 90 seconds, as Saunders snapped a number of jabs at him. However in the last 90 seconds, Alvarez landed a couple of withering body shots that acted as a notification to Saunders that this wasn’t Martin Murray, Marcelo Esteban Coceres or Shefat Isufi he remained in the ring with.

No, this was a highly skilled, perfectly trained killer whose boxing skills are every bit as good as Saunders’ but who now, in the second half of his brilliant career, is separating himself from the pack by becoming a crushing puncher.

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - MAY 08:  Canelo Alvarez punches Billy Joe Saunders during their fight for Alvarez's WBC and WBA super middleweight titles and Saunders' WBO super middleweight title at AT&T Stadium on May 08, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Canelo Alvarez punches Billy Joe Saunders during their fight for Alvarez’s WBC and WBA super middleweight titles and Saunders’ WBO super middleweight title at AT&T Stadium on May 8, 2021 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

His body attack is soul-sapping, and though he didn’t knock out Callum Smith in September, he beat the life out of him by the middle point of the fight by brutalizing his midsection.

Saunders was badly outgunned, but he put up a good effort. But even though he threw 284 punches to 206 for Alvarez, Alvarez landed at a much higher pace, 35 percent to 21. That’s because Saunders was more intent on getting out of punching range and was flicking shots at Alvarez as Alvarez fought like he was going downhill.

IBF champion Caleb Plant on Canelo’s radar

As expected, Alvarez called out IBF champion Caleb Plant after the fight, looking to add Plant’s IBF title that would make him the first Mexican-born fighter to hold four belts simultaneously in one division.

Boxing politics will undoubtedly play a part, as Plant is with the Premier Boxing Champions and Alvarez is with the competing Matchroom Sport.

But as Alvarez promoter Eddie Hearn, who deserves credit for a brilliant job promoting and staging Saturday’s high-class event, gestured at the American indoor record boxing crowd of 73,126, his point was obvious. There is nothing that Plant can do that will pay him as well or be as significant as if he fights Alvarez.

So strong was Alvarez on Saturday that he not only added Saunders’ WBO belt, but he essentially rendered Plant’s IBF title meaningless. If Plant chooses to go in a different direction and not face Alvarez for the undisputed title, no one would regard him as a legitimate champion regardless of any belt around his waist. Fortunately, Plant is the kind of guy who seeks out challenges, but sometimes the business side of things gets in the way of what makes the most sense.

Alvarez will fight a big fight in September regardless of what Plant and the PBC decide. If it’s not Plant, Golovkin, now promoted by Matchroom and Hearn, would make a massively appealing option.

Imagine what that fight would be like now with A) the dislike between the two and B) Alvarez’s newly found power. It would have the potential to be like the famous 1985 Marvelous Marvin Hagler-Thomas Hearns fight.

Is Canelo the greatest Mexican fighter of all time?

Alvarez had always been a solid puncher throughout his career, but he’s packed on the power as he’s gotten bigger, which often isn’t the case.

He’s the complete package, adept at every aspect of the game. There is nothing he’s not at least above average at and he’s well above average in most boxing tasks.

He’s gotten to a point in his career where it’s reasonable and fair to ask if he’s the greatest Mexican fighter in that boxing-mad country’s rich history. He’s 56-1-2 with 39 knockouts at 30 years, 10 months old.

When Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. was 30 years, 10 months old, he was 87-0 and had just defeated Terrence Alli en route to a showdown with Pernell Whitaker. Whitaker clearly won that fight, even though it was stolen from him and scored a majority draw.

Chavez was on the decline by that stage in his career, unlike Alvarez, who is ascendant. It’s not inconceivable that Alvarez could unify the super middleweight belts and add a couple of more light heavyweight titles before much longer.

And given how active he is — Saturday’s bout was his third fight in five months — he could fight 15, 20 or even more times. If he wins those, his record would compare a lot more favorably with Chavez’s.

He’s what you want every fighter to be: He’s active, he seeks out challenges, he’s always in great condition and he’s continually adding layers to his game. The Alvarez of 2021 is vastly better than the Alvarez of 2017, let alone the Alvarez of 2013.

It doesn’t seem there’s much more to his game that he could add, however if there’s something to do, don’t doubt for a 2nd he won’t be working feverishly to do it.

The man is legitimately great, as he showed by pounding an elite opponent like Saunders into submission on Saturday.

More from Yahoo Sports:

Jobber Wiki author Frank Long included to this report.