Canelo Alvarez started real strong, raking the foe with body blows, and being a confident ring general, but Billy Joe Saunders came on a bit, until round 8, when Canelo ramped up power shot pressure at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Saturday night.
The right eye of Saunders, the WBO 168 champ, started swelling, after a right uppercut did damage, and he didn't come out for the ninth.
The bout screened on DAZN, an it was an anti-climax, because Saunders stayed on the stool in front of a assembled crowd which broke a record for an indoor boxing event.
Did he “quit?” Only Billy knows what was going on in his head, and eye. It was reported that Saunders went to the hospital, with possibly a broken orbital bone.
According to CompuBox, Canelo went 73-206, and the 31 year old Saunders went 60-284.
Canelo came in with a 55-1-2 record, to 30-0 for Saunders, a Traveller, or, as he refers to himself, a “gypsy,” from England.
“It's not as difficult as I expected,” the winner said after, talking to Chris Mannix. He said no, he didn't think BJS was winning middle rounds. And what did he think when BJS didn't rise for the ninth? “I knew it, the truth is, I knew it, I think I broke his cheek,” he said. He said he told his trainer Eddy Reynoso that he thought he broke Saunders' cheek.
“I'm coming, my friend,” he said, speaking of Caleb Plant, the fighter from Tennessee. He heard the cheers from 73,000 or so fans when he spoke to Mannix.
In the first, left hooks to the body on the lefty BJS won the round for the red-head. In the second, Canelo established the right hand, more so to the body than up top. But a right buzzed BJS ever so slightly, and the crowd adored it.
To the third–Canelo looked ultra confident, and BJS was backing up now, liking that the ring was 22 feet. But it didn't help, his power lagged in comparison to the Mexican. In the fourth, a right uppercut had Saunders nodding knowing he got tagged. Some nasty shots to the body also landed clean and the defense for Canelo was great, too. His fast feet kept him from getting tagged.
In the fifth, Canelo took the round off, and BJS did what he needed to, was busier, and took the round. A double jab, the second jab landed clean and was his best punch. In round six, BJS looked warmed up, he landed a couple nice counters but Canelo's power gave him the round. Saunders wagged his tongue at the Mexican after getting caught clean, indicating that he felt the power.
In the seventh, Canelo had luck with some body work, but it was a tight round, it had gotten tighter over the last three or so. In the eighth, it was Canelo's best round, a right upper landed viciously, and the right eye of Saunders was swelling.
BJS didn't come out for the ninth.