By KELIN DILLON
Mexican boxer Saul “Canelo” Álvarez’s eighth round knockout of British Billy Joe Saunders, who was previously undefeated, late Saturday, May 8, gave the Guadalajara native a title never achieved before by a Mexican fighter: total champion of an entire weight class.
Boxing is a notoriously difficult sport to become absolute champion of due to the multitude of championship belts available across multiple divisions, making Canelo’s accomplishment all the more historic after he succeeded in taking Saunders’ World Boxing Organization belt after the bout.
The fight between the two champions was fairly even throughout the first seven rounds, with Southpaw Saunder’s holding his own against Mexico’s boxing hero, though a swift undercut to Saunder’s face in the eighth swelled the Brit’s eye closed and forced the boxer to concede the fight after he couldn’t get up from the stool to begin the ninth round, making officials call the match in Canelo’s favor as a total knockout.
After medical staff treated Saunder’s wound, it was revealed Canelo had smashed and fractured his opponent’s orbital bone, leading to the Englishman’s transport to the hospital.
Álvarez’s next fight is anticipated to be slated for September against Caleb Plant, who currently holds the super middleweight International Federation championship belt, continuing Canelo’s quest to become his weight class’ supreme champion of the world.