Saunders went toe to toe with boxing’s pound-for-pound star as he showcased the boxing skills that took him to a perfect 30-0 record heading into Saturday night’s clash with Canelo.
But, with some boxing pundits, and our own Express Sport round-by-round scoring, putting Saunders on level terms with Canelo heading into the second half of the scheduled 12-round bout.
But the Mexican’s punch power eventually paid off in Round 8 as a huge uppercut connected flush with Saunders’ right eye, immediately causing it to swell badly.
Saunders had acquitted himself well during the contest, and while his punches didn’t carry the same knockout threat as Canelo’s, his slick jab and constant movement made life tricky for the Mexican as the Brit appeared to shade the middle rounds.
But Canelo upped the intensity in Round 8 and landed the crucial uppercut that caused the fight-ending injury.
DAZN play-by-play commentator Todd Grisham announced on the broadcast that Saunders was being transported to hospital after sustaining a suspected fractured orbital bone.
Saunders’ team complained pre-fight about the lack of a British judge on the three-man panel, and also negotiated hard to secure a larger ring than Canelo’s team had initially wanted, with the teams eventually agreeing to the fight taking place inside a 22-foot ring, as opposed to the 20-foot ring the Mexican boxer preferred.
And after Saunders was caught on camera saying that Canelo’s breath smelled after their faceoff, Reynoso sounded off on the Brit and revealed his wish for Canelo to knock out Saunders on fight night.
“Not only about us, but the trash talk to Mexican reporters, with people of Mexico.
“I never want to say we are going to do it by KO. I say we are going to win.
“But this time around I do want Canelo to win by KO.”
“He couldn’t see,” he explained.
“I spoke to Mark Tibbs. He said he couldn’t see, and he wouldn’t let him go out.
“I thought Billy boxed beautifully. Canelo’s so strong, he took his time, Billy’s so tricky. He busted his eye socket. As you can see going back now, his eye.
“Canelo coming on strong in the back end of the fight. Too good. Too good.
“But it was a great performance by Billy Joe Saunders. He came to win.”
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Sport Feed