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Canelo Alvarez One Step Away From Undisputed Crown Following Win Over Billy Joe Saunders


Credit: Matchroom Boxing

The biggest crowd for an indoor boxing event in U.S. history ended with Canelo Alvarez being one step away from becoming an undisputed champion.

After eight competitive and hard-fought rounds, Billy Joe Saunders did not come out of his stool to start the ninth round, resulting in a TKO win for Alvarez. With the win in front of 73,162 fans at AT&T Stadium, Alvarez is now the unified WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight champion.

In the eighth round, Alvarez landed a big right uppercut on Saunders’ right eye that caused it to swell immediately. In between rounds, Saunders’ trainer Mark Tibbs didn’t allow his fighter to continue because of the swollen eye. That swollen eye had Saunders and his team going to a hospital to treat the now-former champion’s injuries.

Saunders found success at times throughout the fight with effective jab work and constant movement. However, Alvarez’s body work and powerful right hand kept Saunders at bay and did plenty of damage. Alvarez’s constant barrage of hard rights forced Saunders to constantly move to Alvarez’s left side to protect himself. However, Alvarez was still able to succeed in landing the right hand, including the one that seriously hurt his opponent’s right eye.

At the time of the stoppage, Alvarez was ahead on all three scorecards with scores of 78-74, 78-74 and 77-75. According to CompuBox, Alvarez landed 73 of his 206 total punches while Saunders landed 60 of his 284 punches. Alvarez also outlanded Saunders 58-30 in power punches.

With three of the four major sanctioning body titles, Alvarez is a belt away from being named the undisputed champion. That last title, the IBF championship, is held by Caleb Plant. A fight between Alvarez and Plant would involve Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), which Plant fights under. Alvarez is a promotional free agent, as his two-fight deal with Matchroom Boxing expired with the bout against Saunders.

Such a fight would more than likely take place in September on Mexican Independence Day weekend, but both sides would need to begin negotiations to make it happen.

“That’s the plan. That’s the plan to go for that belt. I’m coming for you, my friend. I want that fight,” Alvarez said.

Alvarez has been one of the sport’s busiest world champions in the past seven months. After not fighting for 13 months, Alvarez returned to the ring last December and dominated Callum Smith to capture the WBA and WBC super middleweight titles. He then followed it up with a third-round victory over Avni Yildirim to retain his titles and finished his most recent fight against Saunders inside the distance.

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