By Becca Lower
The republic of Texas held a premier boxing match Saturday night, and freedom broke out …
At least, that’s how it looked in the tweet Texas Governor Greg Abbott sent out to Twitter followers around 12:30 a.m. Central time on Sunday morning.
Abbott’s greetings became the top trending tweet about the event, and it barely mentioned the WBO super middleweight unification fight held inside Arlington, Texas’ AT& T Stadium Saturday night between major draw Canelo Alvarez and his opponent Billy Joe Saunders — save including the hashtag #alvarezsaunders,
There’s a good reason why the bout made some noise, of course, before the first punch was even landed. (By the way, Canelo beat Saunders in the 8th round, which the referee had to stop after a TKO. Hear highlights of the fight via BBC 5 Live Sports here.)
The crowd at the venue — the home of the Dallas Cowboys — broke a U.S. record for an indoor pugilistic contest.
Just take a listen to the roar when Canelo was announced to the attendees:
As Dallas’ KTVT-TV reported, that number was, officially, 73,126.
Saturday was fight night in Arlington, which means packed parking lots and crowds were the sight at AT&T Stadium.
It was also a record-breaking evening with 73,126 people in attendance for the boxing match between Mexico’s Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders.
Before today, the U.S. boxing record for the largest indoor crowd was just over 63,000.
It continued with this hopeful note:
The turnout shows things may be returning to normal sooner rather than later.
“I am excited that we can kind a do stuff now, and kind of just be comfortable with going to events,” said boxing fan Austin Valadez.
AT&T Stadium didn’t require masks at the unlimited capacity event but, instead, said they were encouraged.
The Dallas News shared more details on the historic nature of the crowd:
The record crowd surpassed the previous record of 63,350 when Muhammad Ali defeated Leon Spinks in their rematch of a heavyweight title fight in New Orleans in 1978.
Despite a poor undercard, which didn’t feature any local fighters and just one title fight, fight fans came to see one man anyway: Alvarez.
In reality that’s all that matters, especially with a fighter of Alvarez’s status. He’s considered one of the top fighters in the sport and he’s one of a few fighters that can bring in huge crowds.
And added this upbeat statement from an AT&T Stadium executive, about the prospect of the return of full-capacity, indoor events nationwide:
“The pent up demand to go to a live event it gave this fight a spike of 10,000-to-15,000 more,” said Chad Estis, executive vice president of business operations at AT&T Stadium.
And that exactly what the Abbott tweet and accompanying photo from the Dallas News article all but shouted.
It read: (emphasis mine)
The largest indoor boxing event in U.S. history.
AT&T Stadium, Arlington, Texas.
Texas is open, 100%
There is more…