WBA/WBC super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) showed great patience to slowly break down and stop WBO belt holder Billy Joe Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs) in the 8th round in their unification clash in front of 73,000+ fans at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Canelo had problems with Saunders’ skills through the first seventh round, but in the 8th, he caught the 31-year-old with a big uppercut that caught him in the right eye. Immediately, Saunders’ right eye swelled up right away, causing him to retreat backward.
Canelo battered Saunders at will for the remainder of the 8th. At the end of the round, Saunders was pulled out by his corner due to his right eye being injured.
According to DAZN, Saunders is being taken to a local hospital with a possible broken right eye socket.
Canelo said after the fight, “I think I broke his cheek. I told my trainer Eddy, ‘I think I broke his cheek.’
The Mexican star could tell from when landed the shot that he’d broken his face with the shot.
Canelo landed 73 of 206 shots for a 35 connect percentage. With the win, Canelo now holds three of the four super middleweight titles.
Alvarez says he now wants to take on IBF champion Caleb Plant in September for the undisputed championship.
WBO light flyweight champion Elwin Soto (19-1, 13 KOs) beat his brave opponent former IBF/WBA/WBO minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama (32-9, 12 KOs) by a ninth round premature stoppage in the chief support bout.
The 37-year-old Takayama was on the attack in the ninth round when referee Lawrence Cole came flying in and stopped the fight early. It looked odd as if Cole had lost track of what was happening. The fight was stopped at 2:44 of round nine.
Soto, 24, had hurt Takayama many times in the fight, and appeared to have him close to being stopped in the first round. Takayama’s ability to recover was incredible.
In rounds three through eight, Takayama’s body punching and high work rate were giving the younger fighter Soto a lot of trouble.
After the fight ended, an upset Takayama went to the center of the round, throwing blazing air punches to show the roaring crowd and the referee that he was fine and not hurt.
In a fight that caught fire at the end, Souleymane Cissokho (13-0, 8 KOs) survived a late knockdown from WBA Intercontinental super welterweight champion Kieron Conway (16-2-1, 3 KOs) in defeating him by a 10 round split decision.
The fight was seemingly in the 28-year-old Cissokho’s hands through the first eight rounds, but he was knocked down hard by a perfect placed uppercut from Conway in the ninth round.
Conway was unable to finish the job after the badly hurt Cissokho got back to his feet.
Although Conway tried like mad to get the knockdown in the ninth and tenth, he didn’t have enough power to stop Cissokho.
The judges scored the fight 96-93, 95-94 for Cissokho, and 97-92 for Conway. Boxing 247 had it for Cissokho by a 96-93 score.
Highly-rated heavyweight contender Frank Sanchez (18-0, 13 KOs) beat Nagy Aguilera (21-11, 14 KOs) by a six round technical decision.
The fight ended in controversy with the 28-year-old Cuban Sanchez hitting the journeyman Aguilera with a right-hand cuffing shot that glanced off his left shoulder and struck him on the back of his head.
Although the punch didn’t appear to land cleanly, it still resulted in Aguilera going down on the canvas looking hurt.
Aguilera let the referee know that he was hurt from the rabbit punch and that left shoulder was also hurt. The fight then went to the scorecards with the scores 60-54, 60-54, 60-54.
In an impressive performance, super featherweight prospect Marc Castro (3-0, 3 KOs) beat Irving Macias Castillo (9-2, 6 KOs) by a fourth round stoppage in a six round fight.
The referee halted the contest in the fourth round due to the one-way punishment that Castro was inflicting on the game but limited Castillo.
Castro looked great, particularly with flurries. He also shot nifty defensive skills.
Christian Alan Gomez Duran (20-2-1, 18 KOs) stopped Xavier Wilson (11-3-1, 1 KOs) in round 2 in welterweight action.