Canelo Alvarez forces Billy Joe Saunders to quit after the eighth round, wins WBO title
Billy Joe Saunders was boxing well and hanging with Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez through seven rounds admirably.
However, a stinging right uppercut to the eye changed all that during the eighth round.
Canelo wound up and landed the punch perfectly, leaving Saunders' right eye practically swollen shut.
According to Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn, the vicious uppercut fractured Saunders' eye socket . The damage forced Saunders to quit on his stool following the eighth round, giving Canelo the TKO victory and WBO world super-middleweight title, bringing him one step closer to undisputed glory.
Saunders seemed to be gaining confidence during the fifth and sixth rounds — the latter having the British fighter even sticking his tongue out, mocking Canelo.
But that confidence was crushed during the eighth round, and Alvarez knew that he had the victory in tow.
"I knew it. The truth is I knew it. I think I broke his cheek, and I knew he wasn't going to come out," Alvarez told DAZN's Chris Mannix after his victory. "I went into the corner and told Eddie (Hearn) he isn't coming out."
Added Hearn about Saunders, who suffered his first pro loss: "He couldn't see."
Despite seemingly being stifled by Saunders' southpaw style during the fifth and sixth rounds, Canelo said the win was "not as difficult as I expected." He had walked Saunders down effectively early in the fight, landing power shots and arguably took back momentum in the seventh round, before unloading on the uppercut to end the night.
Now, the missing piece of Alvarez's attempted undisputed glory would come in the form of a shot against IBF titleholder Caleb Plant.
"That's the plan," said Canelo (56-1-2, 38 KOs) about facing Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) next.
Here's how the Canelo vs. Saunders main card went.