Billy Joe Saunders retires after eight despite impressing vs. Canelo Alvarez

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez

Ed Mulholland

Canelo Alvarez unified the super-middleweight division by adding the WBO version to his WBC and lineal world championships against Billy Joe Saunders.

In a close match-up, it was Canelo’s superior power – as expected – that did the considerable damage. Up until a solid flurry in the eighth round, Saunders was well in the fight.

The Mexican superstar took some of his earlier frustration against the elusive Englishman to score painful blows and mark Saunders’ face badly.

With eye and cheek injuries, Saunders stayed on his stool after eight completed sessions. WBN scored 76-76 at the time of the stoppage.

Before the end came, Saunders had found his rhythm and was keeping Canelo at bay. But once Canelo figured out that Saunders was ducking his punches more than dodging them, he blasted in uppercut after uppercut until they hit the mark.

Several landed in the eighth, and that was all she wrote. In the post-fight DAZN interview, Canelo stated he felt he broke the Briton’s orbital bone.

“As I said beforehand, the fight was going to develop by the seventh or eighth round. That’s what happened.

“But it wasn’t as difficult as I expected. That’s where I take note that my preparation is good, and I improve day-by-day.”

Billy Joe Saunders Canelo Alvarez
Ed Mulholland

CANELO ALVAREZ WINNING

Asked if he thought Saunders had won any of the middle rounds most at ringside scored for the now-former ruler, Canelo gave a direct response.

“No. The fight I was winning round-by-round. I told you, my fight would develop after six or seven rounds. But I started getting adjusted quickly.

“I knew that this [the eighth] was going to be the final round. But I knew it. I think I broke his cheek, and I knew he wasn’t going to come out [for the ninth]. That was it.”

On his game plan and what might be next, Canelo concluded: “I have the best trainer [in Eddy Reynoso]. He tells me, “do this,” and I do it.

“[Caleb Plant] That’s the plan – for the belt. I’m coming, my friend.”

Phil Jay is the Editor of WBN. An Auxiliary member of the Boxing Writers Association of America since 2018. And a member of the Sports Journalists’ Association. Follow on Twitter @PhilJWBN.