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  Canelo Crushes Saunders In Entertaining Affair

By William Trillo
Photos: Ed Mulholland - Matchroom


In front of 70,000+ boxing starved fans in Arlington, Texas, Super Middleweights Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KO’s) and Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14 KO’s) fed the near capacity crowd with an action-packed fight that was more competitive than many thought it would be. After over a year of fan free prize fighting due to the Corona Virus Pandemic, this fight was just what the doctor ordered, so to speak.

In the opening round Saunders threw some range finding jabs while Canelo was more cautious with his punches and was content to survey the landscape. A good body shot from Canelo landed in the closing seconds of the first round.

Canelo significantly picked up the pace at the onset of round two. Pressing the action Canelo had Saunders moving in retreat to avoid the strong punches from Alvarez. That aggression would carry on into the next round as it was clear Canelo had his foot firmly on the pedal now.

Although he had tried and missed in the earlier rounds, it was in round four that Canelo landed a strong right-hand uppercut on the bobbing and weaving Southpaw Saunders, (Keep that punch in mind for future reference).

Saunders had a good fifth round as he caught the attention of Canelo with a nice shot to the body followed by coming over the top with a head snapping punch. That rally had the Brit looking sharp and moving confidentially as the round came to its conclusion.

Carrying that confidence into the sixth round Sunders remained aggressive as he tried to stay the effective aggressor. For his part Canelo did not panic but instead remained focused as he was dissecting Saunders game plan in order to wreak some havoc of his own. He would be putting that into effect sooner rather than later.

With his range finder beginning to pinpoint his target Canelo was having less trouble with that Southpaw movement and rhythm. Saunders was not moving so comfortably around the ring anymore and although he would shake his head in the negative anytime Canelo landed his punches, it was here in round seven that the end appeared to be right around the corner.

Round eight was nothing short of spectacular for Alvarez. The right uppercut that appeared to be Canelo’s “Money Punch” in this fight cashed in bigtime as the well placed punched nailed a ducking Saunders who took the full force of that punch on his left eye. Seconds later Saunders would begin pawing at that angry wound. Canelo began waving to the crowd sparking them to cheer him on as a wounded Saunders labored on in pain. In the blink of an eye Saunders went from a confident challenger to an injured fighter that staggered back to his corner at the round’s conclusion. He was suddenly in serious trouble.

Saunders slumped to his stool and it didn’t take long for his corner to turn to the ref and let him know their man would not be coming out for round ten. Whatever the damage was, it was enough for Saunders not to want to continue and risk further punishment.

Officially, Canelo won the fight by TKO after eight rounds. At the time of the stoppage the judges’ scorecards read 78-74, 77-75 & 78-74 all in favor of Alvarez who now holds the WBC World Super Middle, WBA Super World Super Middle and WBO World Super Middle Titles.

On his performance Canelo stated, “The fight was not as difficult as I expected. I did not feel he (Saunders) was winning any rounds. As I said before the fight, I would get stronger in the eighth round. I think I broke his cheek, and I knew he would not be coming out for the next round.”

As to what is next, Alvarez announced, “The plan is to go for Caleb Plant’s belt. I hope the fight can be made.” That fight would be for the undisputed 168 pound titles.

In a somewhat questionable stoppage Light Flyweight Elwin Soto (19-1, 13 KO’s) was handed a TKO victory over Katsunari Takayama (32-9, 12 KO’s). Soto may have had an edge in momentum, but the warrior Takayama was willing and able to go out on his shield.

But in a move of compassion the ref halted the battle as Takayama was getting pelted with a consistent barrage of blows from Soto. To his credit, Takayama was throwing punches when the ref jumped in, causing many to call into question this one ending at the 2:44 mark of the ninth round. With the victory Soto holds onto his WBO World Light Fly Title.

Super Welterweight Kieron Conway (16-2-1, 3 KO’s) dropped Souleymane Cissokho (13-0, 8 KO’s) for an eight count late in the fight but it wasn’t enough. In a nip and tuck fight scorecards read 97-92 Conway and 96-93 & 95-94 in favor of the new WBA Inter-Continental Super Welter Champion Cissokho.


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