Alvarez ended all of that drama late in the eighth round when a crunching right undercut damaged the right eye of Saunders and as the round ended, Saunders' eye was inflating by the second.
Within the minute between rounds, Saunders's corner determined that the damage was too much for their fighter to continue and stopped the fight, which handed Alvarez the WBO title to add to the WBA and WBC championships that Alvarez held entering the fight.
Saunders was quite slippery and had some success against Canelo with my scorecard showing the battle even at 76 after eight rounds, but the eighth was Alvarez's best of the fight and with a damaged eye Saunders was clearly going to need a miracle as the scorecards had him trailing by two, four, and four points after eight.
Give Saunders credit for only stumbling a bit after taking a tremendous shot from Canelo and he was never even in mild trouble during the fight, but he didn't throw enough punches and going against a fighter like Canelo Alvarez when you aren't a big puncher you will need to win a decision and to win such a decision you may have to win 9-3 or 10-2 in rounds to win a 7-5 decision.
Saunders's eye socket is suspected to be broken and you have to wonder how Saunders will recover physically as after Kell Brook broke his eye socket against Gennady Golovkin, he broke it again against Errol Spence and was never the same fighter.
Canelo Alvarez called for the only champion that is left to defeat next in IBF champion Caleb Plant.
Plant fights for PBC and while you would think that Plant cannot make anything close to what he'd make to face Alvarez, PBC head Al Haymon has ways that make his fighters decide to work against their financial interest in the past, most notably, Jermall Charlo turning down seven million (twice his career-high at the time) to fight Demetrius Andrade on DAZN and Peter Quillin vacating his WBO middleweight title rather than fight Matt Korobov for a career-high 1.4 million (over three times his career-high purse at the time) for Roc Nation after the now-defunct company won a purse bid.
I could also see Haymon thinking that the missing title is what makes Plant valuable (he's right on that considering Plant's resume'), have Plant score another dominant victory over a non-entity (Plant has fought one fighter of top ten quality in Jose Uzcategui) in an attempt to increase Plant's value before he cashes in with a fight that he is likely to lose.
In other words, don't be surprised at all if Caleb Plant, the guy noted as "What else does he have to do" by Eddie Hearn, actually finds someone else to fight.
The co-feature saw WBO light flyweight champion Elwin Soto defeat former minimumweight champion, Katsunari Takayama, by ninth-round stoppage when our "favorite" referee Laurence Cole stopped the fight a bit early in my opinion.
I had Soto had ahead 76-75 (5-3 in rounds, with Soto losing a point in the first round for hitting after the bell) and Takayama was rallying on my card, winning three of the four previous to the ninth.
Soto could have a unification match with WBA champion Hiroto Kyoguchi soon as both fighters recently fought for the first time with Matchroom and what should be an almost guaranteed action battle.
Friday in Russia, Magomed Kurbanov won a unanimous decision over former WBO junior middleweight champion Liam Smith in a fight that could have been scored for either combatant.
I scored Kurbanov a 115-113 winner, which was the same as two judges with the third a ridiculous 117-111 card, but the fight was extremely close and I wouldn't even offer a word should someone score Smith a close winner.
Smith landed plenty but didn't seem to hurt Kurbanov and these two are the type of solid back end of the top ten/twelve contenders that could fight five times and deliver five tight affairs.
Ramon Malpica outscored me four to three in the boxing challenge and cut my lead to 62-60.