Canelo vs Saunders: Briton injured in super-middleweight bout as Mexican takes the belt

The Telegraph’s Boxing Correspondent Gareth A Davies will tackle our live coverage​ of this fight…

We are half an hour from the main event at the Dallas Cowboys Stadium.

In the co-main event Mexican Elwin Soto – La Pulga (the flea), to give him his ring sobriquet – is battering Japanese veteran  Katsunari Takayama, an aged former champion. But the 106-pound light flyweight Takayama will go out on his sword, in spite of the aggression from the young Mexican…

We have seen Saul Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders in their dressing rooms, their hands are being wrapped, and the tension is building.

There are 70,000 fans in the arena. They boo Saunders every time the Briton appears on the vast screens.

Saunders will walk first, Canelo last. After the phoney war of hype and posturing, the fight.

When the bell finally tolls tonight in the battle between destruction machine Canelo and boxing stylist and rebel Saunders, deep pride and global bragging rights are at stake.

Styles make fights, and this is a classic: bull versus matador; Mexican warrior versus Romany Gypsy boxer; iron will versus skill, a raft of narratives around respect and rivalries that will bring together two prize fighters who have been on a collision course for four years as they climbed the ranks and, according to both, since their bodies first lit up at the prospect of fighting.

It promises so much. And it should deliver. They are both in their prime. And the dance, at super middleweight, four years in the making, is a superfight of global proportions.

Canelo, four-weight world champion, regarded as the No 1 pugilist, pound for pound, on the planet, and commanding huge fees of £25 million per fight, steps into the ring in Dallas as a strong favourite.

The 30-year-old Mexican is hellbent on hurting Saunders, having felt a “lack of respect” this week, towards both himself, and the nation in love with the sport – and indeed, the red-haired one.

Saunders has laughed it all off, maverick, jester, picaro, and rebel, as the 31-year-old can be in his many guises.

Yet the depth of this challenge they both face will hinge around just how switched on Saunders is, how much he can frustrate the Mexican, and whether he can deliver a masterclass boxing display.

Saunders is undefeated in 30 contests, and at his very best and moving like a ghost in the ring, makes this a mouth-watering prospect.

We know Saunders is very, very good, but can he be great tonight?

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