Mexican icon Saul "Canelo" Alvarez finished off his latest opponent Billy Joe Saunders with a right uppercut in Round 8 that swelled and appeared to damage the right eye of Saunders.
The formerly undefeated British boxer told his corner he could not see out of the eye and the fight was stopped by the referee before the start of Round 9.
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Alvarez, the Mexican superstar who unified Saunders' WBO title with his WBA and WBC belts, celebrated the abrupt TKO in front of an adoring crowd of 73,126 inside AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, as the fight set a new global indoor record for boxing attendance.
"I said the fight was going to develop before the 7th or 8th round and that's what happened," Alvarez said. "But it wasn't as difficult as I expected and that proves that my preparation has improved day by day."
The 30-year-old Alvarez, boxing's reigning pound-for-pound king, was leading on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage by scores of 78-74 (twice) and 77-75.
He also outlanded the 31-year-old Saunders by a margin of 73 to 60, per CompuBox, including landing 53% of his power shots.
Alvarez, who conceded to Saunders' demand for a larger ring before the fight amid threats he would pull out of the title unification bout, said he wasn't surprised by Saunders' decision to stay on his stool after Round 8.
"I knew it. The truth is, I knew it," Alvarez said. "I think I broke his cheek and I knew he wasn't going to come out. I got to the corner and told [trainer] Eddy [Reynoso] he wasn't coming out because I broke his cheek and that was it."