‘Canelo’ Alvarez stops Saunders to unify super middleweight titles

Saul “Canelo” Alvarez stopped Billy Joe Saunders in 8 rounds on Saturday to combine 3 extremely middleweight titles in front of the biggest United States crowd in history to see an indoor boxing occasion.

Four-weight world champ Alvarez maintained his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association titles and took Saunders’ World Boxing Company belt when the formerly unbeaten Briton retired on his stool after taking a pounding in the 8th round.

Alvarez won by technical knockout after Saunders’ corner called a stop in front of 73,126 fans at AT&T Arena, which was likewise the greatest to see an American sports occasion because the coronavirus pandemic.

Saunders didn’t budge from his stool stating he could not see out of his best eye which was severely inflamed from Alvarez’s accuracy blows.

Alvarez might pick up success in the 8th as he chased after the southpaw around the ring waving his arms in the air as if to let the pro-Mexican crowd understand that completion was near.

“I knew it,” Alvarez stated. “I think I broke his cheek. He didn’t come out to fight because I broke his cheek.”

Saunders headed from the ring to the healthcare facility to get medical treatment on his hurt eye.

The previous biggest indoor crowd for a boxing card in the United States had actually been 63,350 for Muhammad Ali’s rematch versus Leon Spinks in 1978.

Alvarez, who enhanced to 56-1-2 with 38 knockouts, was ahead on all 3 judges’ scorecards, 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75, when Saunders did not come out for the ninth round.

The 31-year-old Saunders, who dropped to 30-1 with 14 KOs, had throughout battle week argued, and won, his case to increase the size of the ring from 20 feet to 22 feet. However no quantity of additional area was going to permit him to get away Alvarez’s disastrous punching power.

The success acts as another action in Alvarez’s mission to control the 168-pound (76-kilogram) department.

The Mexican pound-for-pound king’s only profession loss to date came as a 23-year-old versus the famous Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2013. He has 13 wins and a draw because losing to Mayweather by bulk choice.

On Saturday night, the 30-year-old Alvarez bided his time till he might enforce his will on Saunders, who had actually never ever dealt with a challenger of this magnitude.

– ‘I am coming male’ –

Whatever altered in the 8th and completion came unexpectedly for Saunders as the battle boiled down to Alvarez’s power and speed and the boxing abilities of Saunders.

However to his credit Saunders showed to be a difficult challenger for the Mexican to capture in the early rounds.

Alvarez had his method the 8th as Saunders attempted to duck and clinch his method through the round, however he was causing excessive discomfort and the Briton’s best eye was closing quick.

Alvarez frequently completely subdues his challengers prior to knocking them out and although that wasn’t the case in Arlington, he followed the strategy set out by his fitness instructors to excellence.

“I said before the fight that it was going to develop by seventh and eighth round,” Alvarez stated. “I was winning round by round.

“I began to change truly fast.”

Alvarez has now beaten seven English challengers in his career. That streak began with a points decision against Matthew Hatton when Alvarez was 20 years old in 2011, continued through a victory over Liverpool’s Callum Smith in December, and now includes former WBO middleweight champion Saunders.

The one remaining title for Alvarez to win in the super-middleweight division is the International Boxing Federation belt held by unbeaten American Caleb Plant, 21-0 with 12 knockouts.

Alvarez was fighting for the third time in six months and now he wants to fight Plant as soon as possible.

“I am coming male, I am coming my pal,” said Alvarez, who is trying to become the first Mexican-born fighter to hold all four belts in one division.

“That’s the battle that needs to occur for boxing — the indisputable champion at 168 pounds,” said promoter Eddie Hearn. “It’s the must-make battle next. What’s Caleb Plant going to do?”

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Jobber Wiki author Frank Long contributed to this report.