Canelo Alvarez TKOs Billy Joe Saunders to unify belts

Canelo Alvarez stopped Billy Joe Saunders after eight rounds Saturday night to win their super middleweight unification fight at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

The fight was closely contested until Alvarez landed several punishing blows in the eighth round and began to beckon the record crowd. Saunders’ right eye swelled shut and the fight was called off between the eighth and ninth rounds.

Alvarez improved to 56-1-2 with 37 knockouts, and his latest triumph came in front of an announced crowd of 73,126. That broke the record for the largest indoor crowd for a boxing event that had previously been 63,350 for the Muhammad AliLeon Spinks rematch in 1978.

“The fight, as I said, I was winning round by round, it is as I told you,” Alvarez said post-fight, per “My fight would develop after the sixth and seventh round. I started getting adjusted really quick. I knew that this was going to be the final round.”

“I think I broke his cheek and I knew he wasn’t going to come out.”

Canelo Alvarez, Billy Joe Saunders
May 8, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Canelo Alvarez (teal trunks) and Billy Joe Saunders (blue green trunks) during a super middleweight boxing title fight at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Saunders lost for the first time, with the English champion falling to 31-0 with 14 knockouts. He is the seventh English boxer to lose to Alvarez, who has now won seven consecutive bouts since a controversial draw against Gennady Golovkin in 2017.

Alvarez, 31, reiterated after beating Saunders that he plans to fight IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Plant next.

“I’m coming, my friend,” the Mexican superstar said.

Billy Joe Saunders
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Alvarez’s only professional defeat came against Floyd Mayweather eight years ago. Saunders is the seventh English challenger he has defeated.

In Saturday’s other title fight, Elwin Soto (19-1, 13 KOs) defended his WBO light flyweight title, stopping Japan’s Katsunari Takayama (32-9, 12 KOs) with 16 seconds remaining in the final round.

–Field Level Media (@FieldLevelMedia)