Mexican Saúl ‘Canelo’ Álvarez knocked out American Caleb Plant on Saturday night and became the first undisputed super middleweight champion in boxing history.
Álvarez, 31, sent the American to the canvas in the eleventh round of the bout at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas (Nevada) in front of 16,586 fans who mostly celebrated the Mexican’s triumph.
Big favorite in betting, ‘Canelo’ snatched the IBF belt from Plant and joined the three he already owned from the WBA, the WBC and the WBO in the 168-pound (76.2kg) category.
Only five male fighters, none of them Latin American, had managed to simultaneously possess the four belts of the governing bodies of boxing since this feat became possible in 1988.
“It motivates me a lot to enter those few (boxers) who are in the history of the unifiedThat’s why there are only six of us in history, “congratulated the fighter from Guadalajara (west).
“It has not been easy, “he acknowledged.” This is another achievement for my family. and my team but especially for Mexico. It means a lot to me to be the first unified Latino. “
Álvarez, considered one of the best pound-for-pound boxers of the moment, He now has 57 victories (39 knockouts), two draws and a single loss, suffered against American Floyd Mayweather Jr on points in 2013, when he was 23 years old.
Plant, who suffered the first defeat of his career in 22 fights, he was a more dangerous opponent than the other champions he had dethroned en route to the unified super middleweight title.
Álvarez took the belts of the WBA (World Boxing Association) and the WBC (World Boxing Council) defeating the British Callum Smith in December 2020 and defended them against the Turkish Avni Yildirim last February.
Later he took the title of the WBO (World Boxing Organization) against fellow Brit Billy Joe Saunders in May.
– “It cost me a bit” –
With his defensive game and hitting speed, Plant resisted Álvarez’s devastating boxing until at the start of the eleventh round, he dropped to his knee for the first time, hitting a powerful left-right-left combination.
Nothing else past the count, and with the American still reeling, ‘Canelo’ chased him around the ring until he finally knocked him down with another fierce flurry of blows, one minute and five seconds from the end of the assault.
By the time the Tennessee fighter got up, the ‘Canelo’ was already on the ropes immersed in one of the biggest celebrations of his career.
“This is how it had to end. He was already badly hurt and had to end it right there,” story. “He’s a very skilled fighter. It took me a while to figure him out. My respects to him.”
In addition to ascending to the throne of the category, the Mexican also had a special motivation to knock Plant down since reported that his rival had insulted his mother during a stormy press conference in September in which some blows were exchanged.
Accomplished the objective, ‘Canelo’ said he had forgiven the American, who apologized for his words during a long dialogue with the Mexican on the ring, before being transferred to the hospital as a precaution.
“He told me that those words had no meaning to my mom and I told him not to worry, that everything stays here, “he explained.
– Hard battle –
The Mexican kept control of a fight at all times which was uncomfortable for her style.
Álvarez dedicated the first measures to measuring his rival who, in addition to defending himself, he used the speed of his fists to connect punches.
Trying to find his shattering rhythm and to box near the elusive Plant, ‘Canelo’ applied a series of hard blows to Plant in the sixth round that left a visible mark on his face.
The American tried to react to the advantage to points of the Mexican but without modifying his cautious strategy.
In the ninth, Plant took advantage of Álvarez’s desire to finish the fight to landr several blows but lacked the firepower necessary to prevent the Mexican from knocking him down in the eleventh.
Alvarez, who has been world champion in four different categories (super welter, medium, super middle and light heavyweight), did not want to confirm what his next challenges will be.
“I did four fights in 11 months now I need a little rest, so we will wait until May. But I feel very good, in my prime, “Alvarez said at the press conference.
The other fighters who have managed to own the four belts of the same category are Ukrainian Oleksandr Usyk (cruiserweight), Americans Bernard Hopkins (middleweight), Jermain Taylor (middleweight) and Terence Crawford (super lightweight), and Scotsman Josh Taylor (super lightweight).