It was a great fight from a technical point of view. Billy Joe Saunders was as good as advertised, hanging in there as best as he could against the sport’s flagship fighter.
But there are levels to this—and Canelo Alvarez showed why he remains at the apogee of professional boxing.
THE FIGHT. The taller Saunders looked impressive in the first round as he utilized his jab and exhibited good lateral movement. Alvarez came forward trying to catch Saunders with a huge punch but was met with limited success.
They say the best weapon against a southpaw is a straight right hand, and in the second Canelo wasted no time landing his best ones and even threw in some uppercuts for good measure. At the end of the round, Saunders’ face was red and puffy.
Canelo started to settle down in the 3rd, walking down Saunders and in the fourth landed some sick looking uppercuts. Saunders kept things honest by landing a few jabs here and there and throwing some fast combinations, but Alvarez was undeterred.
In the 5th round Saunders landed a strong double jab that rocked the head of Canelo and also scored with a huge left hook mid-round. This was Saunder’s best round.
The 6th round was pretty even, but Saunders probably edged it as he landed a few accurate counters.
Both men seemed to take a break in Round 7 as their output wanted, but in the 8th Canelo came storming back as he hurt Saunders with an uppercut and forced him to retreat to full defensive mode the rest of the round.
Saunders’ corner prevented him from coming out in the 9th and Canelo officially unifies the WBO, WBA, WBC supermiddleweight belts via 9th round stoppage.
INJURY. Afterwards it was revealed that Saunders suffered what is termed a quadripod fracture to his orbital bone, similar to the one that former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook suffered in his loss to Gennady Golovkin.
VERBATIM. “He’s got a family. He’s got children. He lives to fight another day.”
—Mark Tibbs, trainer of Billy Joe Saunders who stopped the fight in his behalf (www.bleacherreport.com)
LAST ROUNDS. Are on three Quijanos very close to my heart: cousin Jammy and his adorable little rascal Liam and my baby Ate, Jenya Mary Louise who all recently celebrated their birthdays. Cheers!