Canelo Stops Saunders
The fighter who laboured to victory over Martin Murray in December was always unlikely to raise his game high enough to beat Canelo Alvarez. Billy Joe Saunders set problems had fleeting success but it looked a case of how or when he would lose. Never at any point in the fight did I think the upset was on.
A brutal uppercut in the 8th round effectively ended matters, one punch removed all doubt. Saunders bravely saw the round out but was pulled out by his corner. Some will throw the quit reference around, but the British challenger had fought his fight. Saunders couldn’t see out of his right eye and was transported to a local hospital with a suspected broken orbital bone.
Saunders had a good round in the 5th, finally looking as though he was finding his range. But overall he wasn’t busy enough to really threaten the shock, Canelo was in front on all three judges cards by scores of 78-74, 78-75 and 78-74. This observer had Canelo up 5-3 in rounds, but Canelo regardless of the eye injury to Saunders, was moving into a higher gear that Saunders didn’t look capable of staying with.
The difference in power was evident from very early on, Canelo ripping in powerful body shots from the opening round. Saunders just didn’t have enough in his own shots to keep the Mexican off him. For all the slippery skills from Saunders, when a fighter has no respect for his opponents power, he can walk forward all night long with little concern. We saw that tonight.
Canelo was patient, the air of a fighter at his absolute peak, a fighter looking unbeatable. Saunders in losing for the first time gave as good an effort as could reasonably be expected. But it was always going be a fight of levels, despite all the pre-fight confidence, Saunders has never shown anything to suggest he was good enough to replicate what Floyd Mayweather did in 2013.
Canelo adds the WBO super-middleweight title to his collection and now only needs the IBF version to be undisputed, Caleb Plant now the next target.
73,000 fans inside Arlington’s AT&T Stadium created a special atmosphere a reminder of how sport used to be, and hopefully, will be again. The ring walks were pure theatre, Saunders revelling in all the hostilities, Canelo with the look of the superstar he is.
Saunders depending on the severity of the eye injury, might walk away from the sport. The British fighter gave his best effort and can be congratulated for making the fight competitive, but at 31, he may well say enough is enough.
Canelo has options, Plant or Gennadiy Golovkin once more if the IBF champion doesn’t answer the call. But whoever is next, they will find Canelo an incredibly hard man to beat.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing