With 70,000 fans in attendance, Canelo Alvarez stopped Billy Joe Saunders in the eighth round on Saturday night. After suffering substantial damage to his right eye, Saunders’ cornerman Mark Tibbs waved the fight off before the start of the ninth round. By defeating his seventh opponent from Great Britain, Canelo has become the undisputed champion at super middleweight.
Despite the fight being competitive and Saunders proving he deserved to be there, Alvarez was ahead on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage. With Canelo winning five of the eight rounds on one and six on the other two, the final round of the bout was scored unanimously for the victor.
The most impactful shot of the fight came in the closing round when Canelo caught Saunders with an uppercut that was timed to perfection. Saunders immediately reacted and this shot effectively sealed the deal on his right eye. Even taking time to showboat in the middle of the eighth, Alvarez was clearly taking over the fight at this point.
The big debate and talking point in the aftermath has been surrounding the stoppage and whether Saunders quit in between rounds. Tibbs has already said publicly that it was his decision alone to call the fight but there has been plenty of discussion from fans, fighters and media about the conclusion. Whether he quit or not, despite being down on the scorecards, Saunders was not out of the fight at all until that eye swelled shut.
For Alvarez, he said in his post fight interview that the plan is to obtain the other belt at super middleweight, currently occupied by Caleb Plant. Demetrius Andrade invaded the post fight press conference to call out Canelo but was escorted out by security and quickly dismissed by Alvarez as a “horrible fighter”. (photo courtesy of Associated Press).