Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez amassed more ticket sales for his most recent main event than for any other since his two-fight set with Gennadiy Golovkin.
The four-division and reigning super middleweight champ from Guadalajara, Mexico added to his legacy with an 8th round stoppage of previously unbeaten WBO titlist Billy Joe Saunders. The three-belt unification clash headlined a May 8 DAZN-streamed event from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas which generated a live gate of $9,002,920 from a record 66,065 tickets sold.
Another 989 complimentary tickets were issued for a total fan attendance of 67,054 according to a Combative Sports Tax Report filed with the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation (TDLR), a copy of which has been obtained by BoxingScene.com. The paid attendance total set a record for the largest indoor crowd for a boxing event in North America, surpassing the 63,352 fans on hand for Muhammad Ali’s heavyweight championship regaining effort over Leon Spinks in their September 1978 rematch at the Louisiana Superdome (now Mercedes-Benz Superdome) in New Orleans, Louisiana.
A crowd of 73,126 was announced on fight night, which includes all personnel onsite.
The live gate total marks Alvarez’s best-performing event outside of Nevada. The Mexican superstar sold $5,037,900 from 46,115 tickets sold for his WBO junior middleweight title win over Liverpool’s Liam Smith in September 2016, also taking place at AT&T Stadium.
The announced crowd for that night was 51,240, at the time establishing the mark for the largest attendance for a boxing event at the venue before breaking his own record with the win over Saunders.
The $9,002,920 live gate is the best for Alvarez since his September 2018 rematch with Golovkin, where he won a 12-round majority decision in front of a paid crowd of 13,732 generating $24,473,500 in ticket sales at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The event came exactly 52 weeks after their first fight, where they fought to a 12-round draw at the same venue which produced a live gate of $27,059,850 from 17,318 tickets sold.
Following the two fights with Golovkin, Alvarez (56-1-2, 38KOs) has since fought in New York City, twice in Las Vegas and once each in San Antonio and Miami Gardens before returning to the greater Dallas area for his latest win.
The best performing event for Alvarez over that period prior to the record-breaking night at AT&T Stadium came in his first fight following his win over Golovkin, when he returned to T-Mobile for a 12-round win over Daniel Jacobs. Their May 2019 three-belt middleweight unification clash pulled $8,685,750 from 15,730 tickets sold, outpacing the $8.173 million live gate from 10,005 tickets sold for his 11th round knockout of Sergey Kovalev to win the WBO light heavyweight title in their November 2019 main event at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Alvarez wrapped up a 2019 Fighter of the Year campaign with the win over Kovalev, only to sit out for the next 13 months in large part due a messy contract dispute with Golden Boy Promotions which ended with the two sides severing ties last fall. Three wins have followed, all coming with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing promoting Alvarez’s events along with his own Canelo Promotions.
Their first event together came last December 19, when Alvarez outpointed Liverpool’s Callum Smith, Liam Smith’s brother who was an undefeated super middleweight titlist at the time of their WBA/WBC title fight. The bout took place at San Antonio’s Alamodome, with the event producing a live gate of $2,303,100 from 11,213 tickets sold, both figures good for the second-best totals for boxing events in North America since the pandemic. The event was outpaced at the time only by Errol Spence’s awaited ring return, which came two weeks prior in a 12-round points win over Danny Garcia at Arlington’s AT&T Stadium which boasted a live gate of $2,615,075 from 14,508 tickets sold.
Wedged in between Alvarez’s pair of Texas-sized crowd pulls was a 3rd round knockout win over WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim this past February at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Alvarez-Saunders marked the first major boxing event in the United States since the pandemic to take place at a venue allowing full capacity. His wins over Yildirim and Callum Smith—along with the December 5 Spence-Garcia event—were met with social distancing restrictions.
Next up for Alvarez could be a four-belt undisputed super middleweight championship versus IBF titlist Caleb Plant (21-0, 12KOs). Both sides are currently negotiating terms for the fight, which is tentatively targeted for September 18 in celebration of the preceding Mexican Independence Day. A bidding war is expected to host the event, including Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas—home to the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders which would host its first-ever boxing event and on the heels of Nevada state government lifting all attendance restrictions.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox