Billy Joe Saunders made it interesting for eight, but all it took was one well placed right hand by Canelo Alvarez to end it before the ninth.
The biggest indoor boxing match ever in the United States, and the largest crowd to gather in North America since the start of the COVID, watched the fight they expected to see.
Canelo Alvarez of Mexico did what he was supposed to do when he scored a technical knockout over Saunders on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in front of 73,126.
The previous record crowd for an indoor boxing match in the U.S. was 63,350 for the Muhammad Ali-Leon Spinks rematch in 1978.
On Saturday night, the conclusion was foregone, the only suspense was how it would finish.
This is the “problem” now for Canelo Alvarez - there just aren’t that many fighters who can push him for 12 rounds. Maybe for six, seven or eight, but 12 these days is too much.
Saunders lasted eight.
Saunders, who came in undefeated but was a heavy underdog, was game. He hung around, was active, engaging and entertaining but the punch that he feared got him.
In the eighth round, Canelo ducked a punch and countered with a right uppercut that caught Sanders clean on his face. It was a brilliantly brutal punch that finishes fighters.
Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) knew he had landed the punch, and he started to wave on the pro-Canelo crowd.
Saunders labored through the remainder of the round, tied up Alvarez a few times, before the bell rung that allowed him to take a seat with the idea of coming out for the ninth.
He suffered a cut under his right eye, and it was swelling to the point where it didn’t look like he could see out of that eye.
He never got off his stool. His corner waved it off, and the fight was over.
Canelo jumped along the ropes, as he now holds three of the four title belts in the 168-pound division.
After the fight, Saunders was taken to a local hospital to treat his eye. His camp said they believed he suffered a fractured orbital bone.
Before the decisive eighth, Saunders was winning some rounds, and faring better than expected. He was not going to win this fight even had Alvarez landed that one devastating punch.
Alvarez was ahead according to the judges, and the stat sheet said he landed more punches, and better punches.
Canelo Alvarez did what he was paid, and expected, to do on Saturday night.
There will be no Alvarez-Saunders II.
Alvarez wasted zero time, or duck the issue, as to his next opponent. He said he wants Caleb Plant. A win over Plant would unify the 168-pound division.
“That’s the plan, to go for the belt,” Alvarez said in the ring after the fight. “I’m coming, man. I’m coming for the belt. I hope that fight is made easy and we give the fans that fight.”
Plant is 21-0, but defeated no one of note.
Giving fight fans what they want normally is as fast as highway construction, but since Canelo is the biggest name in boxing right now, if he wants Caleb Plant he’s going to get Caleb Plant.
Just don’t expect an outcome much different than what a record crowd saw on Saturday night.
This is the “problem” for Canelo Alvarez.