There were a couple rounds on Saturday where Saul Alvarez looked at least annoyed with the style of Billy Joe Saunders. 

Alvarez still won most of the frames and then broke Saunders face, leaving the now dethroned WBO super middleweight titlist retired in the corner after eight rounds. With six wins over consensus top ten opponents across three weight classes in his last seven starts, there just isn’t a very compelling argument for anyone else in the top spot at the moment. 

Where this exercise gets interesting is in looking at the calendar. Josh Taylor-Jose Ramirez will give us a four-belted titlist at Jr. welterweight in weeks and will be followed shortly by Jermell Charlo-Brian Castano for the same stakes at Jr. middleweight. Before the end of the year, we may also see Tyson Fury-Anthony Joshua and Alvarez-Caleb Plant with four on the line. 

For now, a pulse check is in order roughly a third of the way through 2021.

For the full update:  

Last Update: February 4, 2021

Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.  He can be reached at