Canelo unifies super middleweight belts with stoppage win over Saunders
Canelo Alvarez unified the WBA, WBC, WBO, and The Ring super middleweight titles with a stoppage victory at the end of the eighth round over Billy Joe Saunders at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Alvarez hit Saunders with a vicious punch in the eighth that cut the Englishman's eye open. Saunders did not answer the bell to begin the ninth, giving Alvarez the victory.
Saunders was immediately taken to a local hospital for examination, and it's suspected he suffered a fractured orbital bone, according to Mike Coppinger of The Athletic.
Eddie Hearn, Alvarez's promoter, said the Mexican pugilist "busted (Saunders') eye socket," according to DAZN. Hearn added that Saunders' trainer, Mark Tibbs, would not let his fighter continue with the closed eye, according to Coppinger.
Alvarez was ahead on all three scorecards through eight rounds.
The win runs Alvarez's record to 56-1-2, with 38 of those victories coming via knockout. It's the 30-year-old's 16th win in a world title fight, now the third-most among Mexican-born fighters, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
Saunders, meanwhile, suffered his first career loss in his 31st professional fight.
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the event drew 73,126 fans to AT&T Stadium. That's the largest indoor boxing crowd in U.S. history, breaking the previous record set at the Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks rematch in 1978, according to Calvin Watkins of the Dallas Morning News.