More than 60,000 expected in Dallas for Alvarez-Saunders bout

More than 60,000 spectators, the biggest US sports crowd since the Covid-19 pandemic began, are expected for a May 8 boxing showdown in Dallas, promoter Eddie Hearn said Friday.

Rival super middleweight champions Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico and Billy Joe Saunders of Britain will meet at AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, on May 8, the Saturday of Cinco de Mayo weekend.

“To bring over 60,000 fans together at this iconic stadium this year is a dream come true,” Hearn said.

“We look forward to giving the fans a momentous occasion and a Cinco de Mayo celebration they will never forget.”

Texas last week lifted mask mandate and capacity restrictions on restaurants and other businesses in a bid to reopen “100%” despite criticism from public health experts who have said the move risks spreading coronavirus variants.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will welcome back Alvarez, who knocked out Britain’s Liam Smith at the 100,000-seat venue in 2016.

“We feel we have another incredible boxing event on the horizon with this matchup,” Jones said.

Hearn said selecting the huge Cowboys stadium for the fight was an easy choice once Jones made his offer.

“When we got the decision from the Cowboys and Jerry Jones that we could do 70,000 here, it was a no-brainer,” Matchroom Sport managing director Hearn said in a video posted on social media.

“Coming off the back of the pandemic, it’s a dream come true… We need a celebration. We’re due a celebration We’re going to give you a party you won’t forget.”

Alvarez, 55-1 with two drawn and 37 knockouts, will risk his World Boxing Council and World Boxing Association crowns against unbeaten World Boxing Organization champion Saunders, a 31-year-old English southpaw who is 30-0 with 14 knockouts, in the unification showdown.

Alvarez, 30, had more than a year’s layoff before beating Britain’s Callum Smith last December in San Antonio and stopping Turkey’s Avni Yildirim last month in Miami.

“Last year, Canelo missed out on his historic Cinco De Mayo fight,” Hearn said. “This fight is the biggest of 2021 so far with Canelo looking to unify the division once more.”

The other major world title in the 168-pound (76.2kg) division belongs to unbeaten International Boxing Federation champion Caleb Plant, an American who is 21-0 with 12 knockouts.

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