WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) continued his dominance over the 168-pound division with an eighth round stoppage over the now former WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs) on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Canelo’s ploy was evident from the opening round, look to take away the legs from Billy Joe Saunders with hard body shots which remained the focus throughout. Canelo landed a beautiful combination in the third to further gain the respect of the Englishman.
Saunders had a good fifth round, using the jab to snap back the head of the Mexican with the fight further heating up in the sixth as both men traded blows. The jab remained the main weapon for Saunders in the seventh, gaining confidence from its effect but Canelo was in ascendance.
The record 73,000+ crowd amped up the noise, chants of ‘Canelo’ reverberating from within its confines that brought a one handed raised fist from the Mexican in recognition of his support. Alvarez had a BIG round eight, hurting Saunders with the left hook before a right uppercut seemed to have caused the Brits eye to close.
In between rounds Saunders’ corner motioned for the fight to be stopped with a suspected broken orbital bone the reason given.
“I knew this would be final outcome,” Alvarez said through a translator in his postfight interview. “I knew it. I think I broke his cheek and knew he wasn’t coming out of the corner. I told Eddie [Hearn] he wasn’t coming out because I broke his cheek. I knew it was it.”
Mark Tibbs explained his reasoning behind the stoppage afterwards saying, “He’s a young man, He’s got a family. He’s got children. I’ve known him a very, very long time. He lives to fight another day.”
Now the attention turns to Caleb Plant, the only man standing in the way of Canelo’s short term dream of being undisputed at 168 lbs.
“It’s only fight to make happen,” Hearn said. “It’s the only fight and I hope Caleb Plant feels the same way. I know he was in an interview the other day and didn’t mention much about Canelo. Listen if we want to keep the great times coming in boxing, it’s the one to make in September.
“Ultimately, Canelo will fight absolutely anybody. You know who he wants to fight. He told me who he wants to fight, Caleb Plant. It’s all up to Caleb Plant. I will speak to their team and see where that takes place. That’s the fight that has to happen for the undisputed at 168 pounds. It has to happen. What is Caleb Plant going to do?”