Whenever Canelo Alvarez steps into the ring it’s not just a fight night, it’s a scene and an event. The scene this past Saturday in Arlington, Texas was unlike any other. The Canelo-Saunders fight at AT&T Stadium set an indoor record for attendance. As 73,126 fans packed the venue. Mainly cheering for their man Canelo to take care of business, get Billy Joe Saunders out of there. The pound for pound king of the sport obliged and stopped Saunders in the eighth round of their super middleweight unification bout. The Mexican legend moved his record to 56-1-2 (38) , picked up the WBO strap from Saunders, picked up his third win in 4+ months and captured our fighter of the week award.
As the bell rang to begin Canelo-Saunders both champions tried to establish their game plan and both had some degree of success through the first two rounds. The slick southpaw flicked his jab out seemingly keeping Canelo guessing. While the Mexican came forward unleashing thudding body shots that kept Saunders on the back foot. Canelo started finding his range in the third and fourth he landed crisp combinations that caught Saunders’ attention and built a lead on the scorecards. However Saunders bounced back in the fifth. Saunders did his best work in round five. The southpaw snapped Canelo’s head back with a solid jab as he walked forward. Saunders continued using his legs to avoid the pressure of Canelo who was doing his best through fairly even rounds in six and seven. Just as quickly as the fight began to heat up it came to its abrupt ending. In the eighth, Canelo was able to hurt his opponent and then requested the crowd to provide some energy and the noise. The packed crowd at “Jerry World” got behind their guy. When Canelo set his British opponent up perfectly and landed the picture perfect uppercut that broke the orbital bone near Saunders’s right eye. The eye began swelling immediately and moments later the fight was waved off by referee Mark Calo-oy as Canelo leaped on top of the ropes to celebrate his 56th career win via 8th round TKO.
The next step for Alvarez seems like a logical one. It also seems like a near certainty. Canelo has expressed that he wants to unify all four belts and the only one remaining and that Caleb Plant the IBF champion is next. The fight seems like it’s all but a go for September, on Mexican Independence Day weekend. A weekend that has a long history of great boxing. Canelo has carried the torch and fought on the weekend traditionally. Should Canelo win the Plant fight and unify all four-major belts he will have a tough decision. He, could move up to 175, something he said he was done with, because he was too small and look for a fight with one of the two world champions in that division, be it either WBA champ Dmitry Bivol or the winner of the Beterbiev-Smith Jr, which is likely for later this year. Canelo is the biggest star in the sport and is now a promotional free agent, he has said that he likely will continue to work with Eddie Hearn, but the world is his oyster and he can call out and choose the opponent of his choice. Fortunately for boxing fans Canelo usually chooses the best available fighters.