Canelo Alvarez picks up predictable win over Billy Joe Saunders
After a more difficult than expected bout, WBA Super and WBC World Super Middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KO’s) won a somewhat sour TKO victory. Ahead of the bout, few gave WBO Super Middleweight champion “Superb” Billy Joe Saunders (30-1, 14 KO’s) much of a chance at victory. To begin, everything was going against Saunders. As a UK fighter, he was fighting on foreign land against the current face of boxing. Not only was he fighting the popular Mexican figure, he was doing so in Alvarez’s adopted second home of Arlington, Texas. To add more insult to injury, there were zero English judges used for the bout. Saunders was extremely vocal about his displeasure with this fact.
Aside from location and the judging situation, Alvarez is a legitimate top tier fighter. To boot, he has a diverse offensive arsenal and a granite chin. At the moment, Canelo is on a self-imposed mission to unify the super middleweight division. Usurping the WBO word title was the chief, if not sole, reason that the redhead was focused on Saunders in the first place. To his credit, Superb is a tricky, skillful southpaw with more than a few tricks up his sleeve. At the same time, Canelo was by leaps and bounds his most accomplished in-ring adversary to date. Given this overwhelming set of circumstances, it was doubtful that Superb could pull the unlikely victory out. Once in the ring, this proved to be the case.
FROM SUGAR TO SHIT REAL FAST!
For all the animosity in the build-up, the prizefight opened up minus any major fireworks. Saunders took the center of the ring, remained behind his jab and did not use his feet all that much. Canelo was far more economic with his shots but threw primarily all power punches with a concentration on body blows. In particular, the redhead landed a handful of left hooks to the body and right uppercut to the ribs. Alvarez continued throwing mean-spirited blows throughout the second and landed at a slightly higher rate.
Minus the jab and some herky-jerky head movement, Saunders appeared to be slightly gun-shy in the third. While he was far from running, the UK bruiser was definitely using his feet more. For his part, Canelo continued to stalk and land thudding body shots. Superb enjoyed a good bounce-back round in the fourth. He was able to back Canelo up on a few occasions by doubling and tripling his jab. The redhead persisted with his puncturing body attack and scored with a particularly effective right uppercut.
During the fifth round, Saunders was oozing confidence, moving well and fighting with his hands at his hips. Aside from the bravado, this was his best round of the night. The UK technician stung Canelo with the jab throughout the period. Along with the jab, Saunders was finally getting his power left-hand in the mix. While Superb’s offense was clicking, the redhead’s stalled a bit. The offensive lapse did not last long. During the sixth, the unified champ resumed sinking in some meaningful hooks to the torso. Saunders’ comfort level did not diminish nor did his offensive success. Defensively, Superb made Canelo miss badly on a number of occasions.
The bout took a drastic turn in the eighth when Saunders dipped down directly into a powerful right uppercut. The southpaw did not go down but was clearly affected by the shot. He immediately clinched and held on tight until the ref broke them up. Once they were separated, it was plain to see that his eye was swelling quickly. For the remainder of the round, Superb hopped on his bike while Canelo waved his hands over his head to rally the roaring crowd. Then, in a complete buzzkill, Saunders quit on his stool and refused to answer the bell for the ninth.
After all the trash talk and the competitive nature of the bout, this was a very disappointing finish to this feud and fight. After the bout was over, the talks switched to Canelo Alvarez facing IBF World Super Middleweight champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant. This should come as no surprise as this has been the well-publicized plan for months.
By: Bakari Simpson