Canelo Alvarez beats Billy Joe Saunders via TKO

Saul Canelo Alvarez beat Billy Joe Saunders via TKO at the AT&T stadium in Texas, USA. Saunders failed to get up from his stool after Round 8.

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Ernest Vicente
May 10, 2021 5:58 pm

I saw this live and all I could keep thinking was how difficult it would be for BJ Saunders to overcome Canelo, not just physically but psychologically. It was Cinco de Mayo weekend and Canelo’s entrance and ring walk production was huge! When the fight started, every punch from Canelo was met with huge roars in the Texas crowd.

Saunders did have some British support and Tyson Fury was in the crowd as well, but support was overwhelmingly in favor of Canelo. Saunders is a confident fighter. His personality has got him in hot water over the years. He tried to play mind games with Canelo leading up to the fight and portrayed himself as someone who wouldn’t be overawed by the experience.

But we are only human. Who knows what Saunders was really thinking? To make a comparison let’s go back to Muhammad Ali vs Sonny Liston in 1964. Sonny Liston was Heavyweight Champion of the World and was very intimidating. In Thomas Hauser’s book, Muhammad Ali: His Life and Times, there is a quote from boxing promoter Harold Conrad. He says that Liston had “everybody scared stiff. People talk about Tyson before he got beat, but Liston, when he was champ, was more ferocious, more indestructible, and everyone thought, unbeatable.

Ali would be known for his confidence and flamboyance. But before his fight with Liston, Ali has admitted that he was scared. “It frightened me, just knowing how hard he hit“, Ali said.

How could Saunders face the Canelo machine – the crowd, the technical ability of Canelo, the intimidating reputation – and not be affected? And this is why boxing is as much a mental game as it is a physical game. Saunders did really well to fight this uphill battle, but this time round the hill was too steep to climb.

Sefa Kozan
May 11, 2021 11:08 pm

What a fight! An undefeated champion, Billy Joe Saunders, versus the pound-for-pound best boxer in the world Saul Canelo Alvarez. The boxing community was split on how it would turn out. Some said Canelo is just too good and is in his prime. No way he’s being stopped. Others said Billy Joe is a different kettle of fish who would cause Canelo some serious problems.

After absorbing some big shots in the early rounds, Billy Joe starting gaining some confidence. He let his hands down and became elusive from Canelo’s punches. At one point following a clinch, Billy Joe pushed Canelo back and immediately smashed Canelo with a head shot. It was unexpectedly competitive until round 8.

It all changed in round 8 when Canelo launched a devastating uppercut, causing Billy Joe to stagger backwards and try to survive for the rest of the round. Billy Joe had a visible black eye and barely got to the end of the round.

Throughout the round Canelo was posturing to the crowd; something I haven’t seen him do in his previous fights. I thought this was psychological warfare as there had been some heated words between the two in the build up to the fight. Even after the round Canelo didn’t sit back in his stool and started celebrating before the bell for round 9 rang.

Again I thought this was Canelo’s way of getting a psychological edge over Billy Joe, but actually it was a reflection of Canelo’s experience. Canelo later revealed that he felt the uppercut register and knew the fight was over the second it landed. He told his trainer after round 8 that Billy Joe wouldn’t come out for round 9. He was right. Billy Joe’s corner waved the fight off. Billy Joe couldn’t see out of his right eye and suffered a fractured orbital bone.

Sending him out for round 9 would have been devastating for him and could have resulted in some serious permanent damage, if he hasn’t sustained permanent injury already. Boxing can be a brutal sport. By stopping the fight, Billy Joe’s pride has taken a beating and he has lost his undefeated record. But maybe, just maybe that decision to quit will let him fight another day.

Sean Ellis
May 12, 2021 11:48 am

Billy Joe Saunders is facing a lot of criticism after his defeat to Canelo Alvarez. Not because of how he fought, but because of how he lost. Saunders has been very vocal in the past after another fighter Daniel Dubois quit a fight by taking the knee. , you’ve written about Dubois’s decision as well. Dubois was against Joe Joyce and suffered a damaged eye socket. If he had continued, the damage may have been irreparable. Dubois made the smart choice. He took a loss to prolong his career.

Saunders wasn’t too kind to Dubois after his loss. In a video, Saunders advises Dubois to “get carried out of the ring, brother“. The insinuation is that a fighter should never quit, but fight on until they can’t fight on anymore. In another interview Saunders said he would “rather go out with my pulse stopped than take a knee like Daniel Dubois“. He continues his criticism, saying “If my two eye sockets were broken, my jaw was broken, my teeth were out, my nose was smashed, my brain was beaten, I was not stopping until I was knocked out or worse.

It’s ironic that Saunders himself lost his fight against Canelo by quitting on his stool after round 8. Just like it was with Dubois, the decision was the right one. It simply isn’t worth permanent eye damage or blindness just so you can say you went out on your shield. It is hopeful that Saunders will recover physically, but will he recover mentally? Some say his career is over and question if he can ever overcome the way he lost. For a fighter who told Canelo that he had “never faced someone with heart like mine“, the future is uncertain.

Travis Banks
May 11, 2021 9:53 am

Before the fight Billy Joe Saunders’ team had protested that the ring should be a 22 foot ring. If their demands weren’t met, they would walk away from the fight. The purpose was of course to favor Billy Joe, whose style is to circle his opponent while landing shots on him.

Billy Joe got what he wanted. A 22 foot ring. The first few rounds went as expected with Billy Joe circling and Canelo stalking. Billy Joe, despite his immense ability, looked quite limited at the start. But this is a testament to Canelo, who continued to stalk Billy Joe, and once he got him on the ropes, landed some vicious bombs.

Billy Joe was being backed up constantly and was reacting to every Canelo feint. The reason being that every shot from Canelo hurt. It also made Billy Joe a bit gun shy at the start because of Canelo’s counter-punch. You too would be hesitant to throw a punch if each time you received a heavy counter.

Eddy Reynoso, Canelo’s coach, said he didn’t usually make predictions but this time he was confident that Canelo would win by knockout in rounds 7, 8 or 9. Perfect prediction.

Russell Bumak
May 12, 2021 10:39 am

The AT&T Stadium for Canelo-Saunders held the largest indoor crowd to date for a boxing event in the United States. 73,126 people were in attendance. The only other indoor crowds larger than this were in Wales, United Kingdom. These were:

  • 78,000 people for Anthony Joshua vs Carlos Takam at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales (28th October, 2017)
  • 78,000 people for Anthony Joshua vs Joseph Parker at the Principality Stadium, Cardiff, Wales (31st March, 2018)

At the end of the second round of Canelo-Saunders the loudspeakers also made it clear that the large crowd was a huge rebound from previously imposed restrictions. “I want the whole country to know Texas did it first!”

Eduardo Silva
May 11, 2021 11:27 am

Following the fight, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn made a reference to Canelo Alvarez and Anthony Joshua being the biggest superstars in the sport. Both are signed to deals with Matchroom. He said with a large smile he had an announcement to reveal next week. It looks like the much awaited Anthony Joshua vs Tyson Fury fight date has been decided. Boxing fans and ‘casuals’ alike have been waiting eagerly for one of the biggest boxing contests ever. I’m looking forward to his announcement!