May 8, 2021 – Arlington, Texas
When a fighter gets in the ring against Canelo Alverez, he better be at his highest level of concentration. Alvarez (56-1-2 38 KO’s) knows a championship fight is scheduled for 12 rounds. The early rounds do not seem to matter to him. He never panics. He throws each punch with bad intentions.
He predicted that he would catch Billy Joe Saunders (30-1) around the 7 th or 8 th round, and he did. After round 8, Saunders was unable to come out for round 9. His corner told referee Mark Calo-Yo that Saunders could not see out of his right eye and the fight is over. It goes in the books as a TKO, as over 70,000 fans at AT&T stadium in Arlington, Texas, saw Alvarez struggle to fit 4 belts around his body. The WBA, WBC, WBO and the Ring Magazine belt. He is on everyone’s pound for pound list and after this performance, he should be in the top spot.
“I said the fight was going to develop before the 7 th or 8 th round and that’s what happened,” said Canelo. “But it wasn’t as difficult as I expected and that proves that my preparation has improved day by day.”
All 3 judges had Canelo winning the fight after 7 rounds, (the 8 th round was not judged since it was the last round). Canelo did not think Saunders won any round. “No, not at all. I was winning round by round. I was never hurt.” Two judges gave Saunders 2 rounds, and one judge gave him 3 rounds, which indicates the fight was close going into the late rounds.
Fighters know when they hurt an opponent. When Canelo countered the Saunders right hook with a hook-half uppercut right hand that caught Billy Joe directly on the right eye. “I knew it. The truth is, I knew it.” Alvarez said. “I think I broke his cheek and I knew he was not going to come out. I got to the corner and told Eddy (trainer Eddy Reynoso) he wasn’t going to come out because I broke his cheek and that was it.” The preliminary medical report was an eye injury that closed so fast Saunders could not see and his corner informed the referee. Saunders was taken to a local hospital.
Southpaw, Saunders fought a good fight. He landed several stiff jabs and in the middle rounds, he landed his left hand to Alverez’s face. None of Saunders shots seem to hurt Canelo, who just plugs along throwing extremely hard punches. His expression never changes. His only lost came over 10 years ago to Floyd Mayweather in his early 20’s. Although several fans thought he lost the GGG in their first fight. GGG is still waiting in the wings for a third shot at Canelo, but Alvarez has his sites on Caleb Plant. Plant has the only championship belt that Canelo does not have, and he wants it to become the only Mexican fighter to be undisputed super middleweight champion (168 pounds) in history. Canelo is scheduled to fight again in September. Saunders eye injury has been known to end careers.