Rey’s Round by Round: Alvarez stormed Saunders

By Rey Anthony: Montreal, QC. Former 2008 Olympian and Columbian born Eleider “Storm” Alvarez (8-0-0 5KO) squared off against journeyman from Pittsburgh Rayco “War” Saunders (22-16-2 9KO) in a light heavyweight undercard show in Bell Center. The fight was held and televised April 20, 2012 on ESPN Friday night fights as the undercard for the Adonis Stevenson vs. Noe Gonzalez main event that ended in a quick second round TKO victory for Stevenson.

Now a resident of Canada, Alvarez entered the ring with a significant advantage in age and height. He is 28 years old and he stands 6 feet tall while Saunders who took the fight in 5-days-notice is 37 years old and 5’11 in height. He also stepped in the ring only 3 weeks after his last fight.

Alvarez showed his skills in the opening round when he started connecting his sharp and quick punches. His combinations both upstairs and downstairs were strong and effective while Saunders just kept his hands up and stayed on the defense. Alvarez’ digging left body punch connected to his opponent’s body solidly and his jabs are strong enough to snap Saunders’ head back. It seemed like Saunders took too much punishment in the first round but he was strong enough not to go down.

Saunders tried to fight back when he started to lead off with his jabs but they barely connected. Alvarez looked picky in throwing his punches until he unloaded a fierce 6 punch combo that landed both to the body and the head of Saunders. Alvarez relaxed a bit and just waited for an opening before throwing a punch but once he got back his tempo, Saunders was back on the defense and settled for jabs that barely connected. Alvarez outpunched Saunders in this round.

The crowd was suddenly awoken in the opening seconds of the 3rd round when Alvarez seemed to have backed off Saunders with a power punch but he quickly recovered. Saunders kept on missing his target but Alvarez keep on landing his punches.

Saunders looked more aggressive during the fourth round. He threw and landed more punches than the previous rounds. Alvarez missed more punches but he connected enough to still win the round.

The brief show of effort in the fourth round by Saunders did not last long. During the 5th round, Alvarez was the counterpuncher and the aggressor. The moment Saunders opens up to throw a punch, Alvarez already has an answer. It was the same fight plan that gave Saunders trouble all night long. Alvarez entered his comfort zone ad started getting loose he danced around with his hands not exactly on the guard but it didn’t seem to be a problem.

Sensing that he’s way behind the score cards, Saunders started showing signs of frustration by opening the 6th round as the aggressor. However, his efforts just went to waste because he also kept getting hit by Alvarez’ combinations. It was a very competitive round but towards the end of it, Alvarez just toyed around with Saunders.

Alvarez played it safe on the seventh round by throwing then side stepping to get out of the way. Saunders tried to cut and catch Alvarez but his punches are not strong enough to hurt Alvarez. They both took it easy in the middle of the round by feeling each other. Alvarez’ solid onslaught would’ve been enough to KO Saunders but he didn’t seem determined to do that.

Alvarez threw fierce combinations and cornered Saunders to open the 8th and final round. But he didn’t do enough to bring him down. At this point, you have to give it to Saunders for being tough enough to get this far in the fight after taking all those punishment. But in the end it was Alvarez who won the fight and Saunders just came to survive the fight. It was a 72-80 fight in my score card in favor of Alvarez. The ringside judges who scored the bout who all seemed to agree with me were Nicolas Esnault 72-80 Jean Gauthier 72-80 and Jean Lapointe 72-80.

The fight was not competitive enough but if you consider the current state of the Light Heavy weight division at the moment, you might find this fight interesting. With the Hopkins-Dawson rematch happening next week in Atlantic City, It should shed a little bit of light in the current state of the division.

Eleider Alvarez is a hot undefeated prospect who has never fought outside of Canada and is currently in the bottom of the world rankings in his division. But if he remains consistent with his style and strength, he should have no problem reaching the top as soon as he starts fighting in the United States. As soon as he gets a shot in a title fight, he will definitely catch everybody by surprise.

Article posted on 23.04.2012

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