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Canelo Conquers BJ Saunders Before a Record Crowd in Texas

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  • Canelo Conquers BJ Saunders Before a Record Crowd in Texas

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    By Arne K. Lang

    Tonight’s card at AT&T Stadium attracted an announced crowd of 73,126, smashing the previous record for an indoor fight in the United States (63,352 for Ali-Spinks II) – a feather in the caps of British promoter Eddie Hearn and the fellow who is widely seen as the guy who owns the joint, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones. And, of course, it was also a feather in the cap of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez who added another world title belt to his collection while reaffirming his status as the sport's top pound-for-pound fighter and demonstrating once again that he is boxing biggest draw. Alvarez upended previously undefeated Billy Joe Saunders whose corner pulled him out after the eighth round.

    Alvarez (57-1-2, 38 KOs) entered the contest owning WBC and WBA belts at 168 pounds. Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs) held the WBO belt.

    The fight was competitive through the first seven rounds. There were no indelible moments and at the midpoint it appeared that Saunders was settling into a groove. But Canelo dominated the eighth, a round in which he opened a cut over Saunders' right eye. The eye swelled up immediately and would have reduced Billy Joe to a one-eyed fighter had he insisted on continuing.

    After the fight, Canelo said, "It wasn't as difficult as I expected." His next fight is expected to come against Caleb Plant, likely in September. Plant holds the IBF belt, affording Canelo -- who will be a big favorite -- the opportunity to grab all four meaningful pieces of the 168-pound hardware.


    In the co-feature, Mexicali’s Elwin Soto (19-1, 13 KOs) successfully defended his WBO world light flyweight title with a ninth-round stoppage of former five-time world minimumweight champion Katsunari Takayama (32-9). This was a fan-friendly fight stopped too soon by notoriously erratic referee Laurence Cole, albeit the granite-chinned Takayama ate a lot of hard punches.

    Soto came out strong and hurt Takayama twice in the opening round. It looked like a long night for 37-year-old Japanese invader who was making his second start since returning to the ring after a 48-month absence during which he came up short in an Olympic qualifying tournament. But Takayama fought his way back into the fight by being the busier man. In the end, however, youth prevailed and the hard-punching Soto, the younger man by 13 years, had his hand raised.


    In a strange pairing – strange because it pitted against a domestic-level Brit against a relatively obscure Frenchman at an American football stadium – Souleymane Cissokho, a Parisian by way of Senegal, won a split decision over Kieran Conway in a 10-round welterweight contest. This was a drab fight that had an unexpected moment of high drama in the ninth round when Conway, the bigger man but not known as a big puncher, put Cissokho on the canvas with an uppercut that landed on the left eye. Cissokho was hurt but made it through the round and was as good as new in the 10th.

    A 2016 Olympic bronze medalist, Cissokko (13-0, 8 KOs) kept his undefeated record intact. The judges had it 96-93 and 95-94 for Cissokho and a head-scratching 97-92 for Conway (16-2-1), a Northampton man making his first appearance in a U.S. ring. The bout was originally scheduled for Dec. 12 in London, but Cissokho backed out in favor of a match two months ago in Dallas underneath Estrada-Gonzalez II.

    In the opening bout of the pay-per-view, Cuban heavyweight Frank Sanchez, who is part of the Eddy Reynoso stable, won a six-round technical decision over Nagy Aguilera, improving to 18-0. In the sixth round, Sanchez struck Aguilera in the back of the head, a punch deemed accidental. Aguilera fell to his knees, toppled on his side, stumbled as he attempted to rise, and appeared seriously hurt. A doctor was called in and stopped the fight. The crowd acted as if it was a charade and let loose a torrent of boos.

    Sanchez, allegedly 28, was on his way to pitching a shutout when the match was halted, but wasn’t impressive. Aguilera, a 34-year-old from Newburgh, New York, via the Dominican Republic, has won only six of his last 15 since his signature win, a first-round stoppage of former world-title holder Oleg Maskaev.


    In the last of the four prelims that were streamed for free, former two-time world amateur champion Marc Castro advanced to 3-0 (3) with a fourth-round stoppage of Mexico’s Irving Macias Castillo (9-2). Castro started fast and Macias’s face was marked-up before the opening round was over. By the third round, Macias has a big welt over his right eye. The referee terminated the one-sided battle at the 2:04 mark of round four.

    Keyshawn Davis scored a six-round unanimous decision over Jose Antonio Meza in a bout contested at 140 pounds. Considered the U.S. fighter with the best chance of medaling in Tokyo if he had remained an amateur, Davis, a 22-year-old southpaw from Norfolk, Virginia, advanced to 3-0. The hard-trying but outclassed Meza, from Durango, Mexico, declined to 6-5.

    In a welterweight contest slated for eight, Canelo’s Guadalajara homey Christian Alan Gomez improved to 20-2-1 with his 18th knockout, dismissing late sub Xavier Wilson (11-3-1) in the second round. Wilson, from San Antonio, had been campaigning as a lightweight. The official time was 2:19.

    Junior welterweight Kelvin Davis, the older brother of Keyshawn Davis, survived a scare to win a unanimous four-round decision over Jan Marsalek, a 33-year-old Czech making his U.S. debut. Davis got careless in the final round and Marsalek (8-3) put him on the deck with a scorching left hook. All three judges were in accord, giving Davis the win by a 38-37 margin.

    Check out more boxing news on video at the Boxing Channel

  • #2
    The boxing basket case quit when he got hit. Lame.

    I told ya Tyson Fury was just joshin about his buddy.


    • Kid Blast
      Kid Blast commented
      Editing a comment
      No. It was a bad injury that probably will end his career and now he will have to move to Monaco and enjoy his monster earnings. BJS is a lot of things but quitter is not one of them. As for the false hype and manufactured outrage from the commentators, that was mute--inducing.

  • #3
    Update: Billy Joe Saunders Suffered Multiple Fractures To Orbital Bone. He will be having surgery on Sunday to repair the multiple fractures.
    Last edited by Kid Blast; 05-09-2021, 07:28 PM.


    • #4
      Just call him “One Punch” Alvarez.

      Because that’s all it took to bring the dog outta Silly Joe.


      • #5
        BJS ring walked to an inspirational British war speech.

        Something about fighting on and never surrendering.

        Then the Mike Tyson “plan” thing happened to him.

        He got hit. And he quit.
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