Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez added the WBO super-middleweight belt to his burgeoning collection, defeating Billy Joe Saunders in front of a record-breaking 73,126 crowd inside Texas’ AT&T Stadium.
The attendance figure set an all-time record for an indoor US boxing event – breaking the previous record set in 1978 when Muhammad Ali beat Leon Spinks in front of 63,352 at the Louisiana Superdome – and marked the largest crowd at a sporting event since the pandemic began.
Alvarez dominated the opening seven rounds, leading on all three judges’ scorecards, before a brutal uppercut in the eighth caused a deep cut under Saunders’ right eye and left the Briton unable to come out for the ninth round.
Saunders was reportedly taken from the venue by ambulance straight after the fight to have the extent of his injuries assessed.
“As I said beforehand, the fight was going to develop by the seventh or eighth round,” Alvarez told broadcaster DAZN. “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.
“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 round (the eighth) was going to be the final round. I knew it. I think I broke his cheek and I knew he wasn’t going to come out. That was it.”
Alvarez, widely considered one of the best boxers in the world, said “the plan” now was to unify the super-middleweight division by claiming the IBF belt held by American Caleb Plant.
“I’m coming. I’m coming, my friend,” he said.
The hugely popular Mexican fighter delighted what appeared to be a largely Mexican crowd, raising his arms at one point during the fight to encourage the already raucous arena to make more noise.
“It’s difficult to explain,” Alvarez said of their support. “I don’t have the words. All the emotions I feel, they give me the motivation to continue on.”