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Canelo vs. Saunders brings record-breaking crowd to North Texas; county officials concerned over lack of COVID-19 precautions

More than 70,000 fans crammed AT&T Stadium Saturday.

ARLINGTON, Texas — Updated Sunday, May 9 with attendance numbers.

The highly-anticipated bout between Canelo Alvarez and Billy Joe Saunders was expected to draw a record-breaking crowd to AT&T Stadium Saturday. 

Promoter Eddie Hearn said he expected 70,000 fans. On Sunday, official numbers put the crowd at 73,126 fans.

"This is the biggest live event crowd post pandemic,” Hearn said.  “We also heard we officially broken the U.S. boxing record for largest indoor crowd."

A crowd that size is good news for the fight promoter, but some would argue it’s less great in the fight against COVID-19.

Speaking to reporters after the May 4 Tarrant County Commissioners Court meeting, Tarrant County Public Health Director Vinny Taneja indicated the vaccine rollout has COVID-19 on the ropes.

“We can get rid of COVID-19 in Tarrant County if we all get vaccinated,” Taneja said. “Cases are low.  Let’s kill it.”

RELATED: Tarrant County pop-up clinics aim to help 9-to-5ers get the COVID-19 vaccine, as demand falls

But as vaccine demand drops and large events fill the summer schedule, Taneja urged residents to stay vigilant. 

“Until more people get vaccinated and COVID really goes down to a negligible level, continue to wear your mask, maintain your distance from others, avoid large gatherings,” said Taneja. 

Masks were few and far between at Friday’s weigh-in at AT&T Stadium. The event drew thousands and little distancing if any could be seen in the crowd.

As for the fight Saturday night, according to the AT&T Stadium website, face coverings are mandatory for stadium workers but masks and social distancing are encouraged, not required for fans. 

Distancing will likely be a challenge since it’s full-capacity seating, with no pod system in place.

Masks were few and far between at the security checks outside of AT&T Stadium or in the parking lots or surrounding blocks Saturday.

WFAA did not go into the stadium during the event.

Whether the record-breaking crowd leads to an uptick in cases is yet to be seen, but some fans say they’ve weighed the risks and are ready for the ring.

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