Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez believes he inflicted a broken cheek on Billy Joe Saunders

Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez believes he inflicted a broken cheek on Billy Joe Saunders and had expected his British opponent to suffer a stoppage loss in Texas.

The Mexican star unified the WBC, WBA and WBO super-middleweight titles after a brutal eighth-round assault suddenly ended the spirited resistance of Saunders, who was taken to hospital with a suspected fracture in his right eye socket.

Canelo’s savage uppercut appeared to cause the gruesome injury and Saunders remained on his stool as the fight was waved off ahead of the ninth round at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

“I knew it. The truth is, I knew it,” Canelo told DAZN.

“I think I broke his cheek and I knew he wasn’t going to come out.

“I told [trainer] Eddy [Reynoso] he’s not coming out, because I broke his cheek, and that was it.”

Saunders had spells of success with his sharp counter-punching, but Canelo denied that he had been frustrated by the skilful southpaw.

“No, I was winning round by round,” said the four-weight world champion.

“The truth is as I told you. My fight would develop after six or seven rounds. But I started getting adjusted really quick. I knew that this was going to be the final round.”

Canelo wants to become Mexico’s first undisputed champion at 168lbs and confirmed that he will next target IBF champion Caleb Plant.

“That’s the plan,” he said. “I’m coming my friend. I hope that fight will be made easy.”

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