Canelo Alvarez is one step closer to becoming the undisputed super middleweight champion.
After his performance Saturday night at a packed AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, there’s undoubtedly a large contingent of fans who would already grant him that status. Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) won his seventh straight fight in a competitive outing against Billy Joe Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs), ending the bout in the eighth round when Saunders’ corner decided not to send him out for the ninth.
It was Alvarez who let the 73,000-plus at the packed venue that the fight was over well before the official result was announced as he took the center of the ring in between the eighth and ninth rounds and began celebrating, which drew a roar from the crowd.
With the win, Alvarez added Saunders’ WBO super middleweight belt to his WBA, WBC, and The Ring middleweight titles.
Saunders had his moments throughout the fight, using excellent movement and a strong jab to win a couple of rounds on two of the judges’ scorecards, but the power of Alvarez proved to be the difference as he walked Saunders down for much of the bout and attacked with right hands to the body and a sharp uppercut that did the most damage.
Post-fight, Canelo said that he knew that he’d assert himself in the sixth and seventh round and when he saw the bruising developing around Saunders’ right eye. He knew it was over.
“I think I broke his cheek and I knew he wasn’t going to come out,” Canelo said via a Spanish translator.
According to commentator Todd Grisham, Saunders has been transported to the hospital after initially being diagnosed with a fractured orbital bone.
With three alphabet titles in his possession now, only the IBF super middleweight championship remains to be claimed. He made it clear that it is his plan to take on Caleb Plant for that belt next.
“That’s the plan, to go for the belt and I’m coming, my friend,” Canelo said.