LAS VEGAS (AP) – With a destructive barrage of powerful punches in the final moments of a fight that had gone awry, Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez added another boxing achievement to his growing roster.
The Mexican became the first undisputed four-belt super middleweight champion in history, knocking out Caleb Plant in the 11th round on Saturday.
Álvarez (57-1-2 with 39 knockouts) knocked down his opponent twice in that penultimate chapter, to strip him of the IBF scepter, which he added to his collection of WBC, WBA and WBO championships, thanks to an excellent tactical performance and a powerful hit, which took the American fighter from undefeated, at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“It was a truly historic night, and I am very proud to be a part of it,” Alvarez said.
The Mexican star, considered by many to be the best pound-for-pound fighter today, became the sixth fighter to hold four titles simultaneously.
“I am proud to be one of those six,” said Álvarez, who dedicated his victory to his Mexican fans. “The goal is to be the best of all time. Very proud of the journey I have taken to achieve this. I’m not going to stop until I’ve done everything I can to achieve that goal. “
He joined super lightweight Josh Taylor as the only undisputed champion currently reigning in his category.
After knocking out three of his four previous opponents, “Canelo” had to wear himself out further in a tough contest against a tenacious Plant (21-1), who routinely backed down and leaned on the jab to keep his distance from the devastating power of the Mexican. .
Álvarez persevered and landed several quality shots. In the opening seconds of the 11th inning he had Plant collapse to the mat with a fierce punching combination, finished off with an uppercut just as the Tennessee boxer tried to duck.
Plant staggered to his feet and Álvarez knocked him down again with two big right hands. This forced referee Russell Mora to order the end of hostilities.
In addition to being a champion, Plant is surrounded by an inspiring aura. He overcame numerous personal tragedies to shine in boxing.
However, he verified how great is the distance that separates “Canelo” from his contemporaries.
Álvarez is the first Mexican to capture all the titles in a division. He prevailed encouraged by a good part of the 16,586 spectators, many of whom waved Mexican flags.
Before the contest, the Guadalajara fighter spoke frequently of his desire to achieve this feat for himself and for Mexico.
The “Canelo” has the most successful active career in boxing. He scored his eighth victory in just over three years.
He has not lost in 16 fights since Floyd Mayweather Jr. defeated him by split decision in 2013. That slip and a draw against Gennady Golovkin are the only blemishes on his record.
After 11 months busier than usual, Canelo had no immediate announcements about his future. He planned to take the rest of the year off and decide his next steps in January, when he’s rested.
“The training sessions, trying to gain weight, that’s when you feel tired of everything”, Álvarez. “Right now, I feel great. My body responds splendidly. Now I just need some time to rest and prepare for the next challenge ”.
Álvarez and Plant had shown mutual warmth before September. But the “Canelo” reacted to an insult from the American during a press conference in Bevely Hills to promote this fight.
The two boxers fought and Plant got a cut on his face.