Photo: Al Bello / Getty Images
LAS VEGAS – An unstoppable left the entire fight and a brutal uppercut earned Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez a place in the boxing record book Saturday night at the MGM Grand arena.
The Mexican fighter knocked out Caleb Plant in round 11 with the right uppercut as Plant ducked to take him down. Seconds later he finished it with a right in the region of the left ear. With this, “Canelo” Álvarez takes over the IBF super middleweight championship to complete the four recognized titles (he already had the WBC, WBA and WBO), something that no one had achieved at 168 pounds.
In addition, Álvarez (57-1-2) is the first Latin American fighter to be the undisputed champion in the era of the four organizations and the seventh in total.
“It has not been easy to get here,” Alvarez said in the ring, dedicating the victory to his family and all of Mexico. “This means a lot to me, to be the first Latino to be undisputed champion and for Mexico.”
“Canelo” said about Plant, with whom he had an altercation in the first press conference for an alleged offense by the American to the mother of the man from Guadalajara: “My respects to him … I told him not to be ashamed.” He added that Plant apologized and never tried to offend his mom.
After a very even first quarter fight in which Plant consistently connected with an excellent jab that he possesses, “Canelo” Álvarez shook the American in round 4 with a combination that put fans on their feet. The man from Guadalajara closed the round with a good left blow, his favorite weapon of the evening, which he continued to connect in the fifth round, also dominated by him.
And then in the sixth Álvarez gave a complete display of power, resources and even had the luxury of showing off his good defense with movements of the head that deserved celebration from the public. After one more of his left-handers to the head, came a right that shook Plant.
The end seemed to be approaching, but “Canelo” took a break at 7 and standing against the ropes invited Plant to show what he was bringing. And it wasn’t much. Then the Mexican was on top of him in the final stretch and hit him hard to take another round.
In round 9, Alvarez had his good moments, but Plant’s jab returned, landed to the body, thrilled some with a swift flurry of punches and almost at the end hit the favorite’s face.
Plant sported a good jab early in the fight, which he complemented in the second round with a powerful left punch that stopped Alvarez in his tracks. The American took assault, but in the next chapter “Canelo” managed to decipher and landed two strong left blows.
In round 11, “Canelo” shook Plant with a hook to the head followed by the lethal uppercut. OPkant got up, dancing unbalanced from side to side of the ring, as if he no longer wanted to continue. The end came soon with 35 seconds left from the round.
The audience in the arena of the MGM Grand lit up when “Canelo” came out to the ring accompanied by Fher Olvera, lead singer of Maná, with the song El Rey rock version.
The others six undisputed world champions since four bodies exist recognized are Bernard Hopkins (medium, 2004), Jermaine Taylor (medium, 2005), Terence Crawford (super lightweight, 2017), Oleksandr Usyk (cruiser, 2018), Teófimo López (lightweight, 2020) and Josh Taylor (super lightweight, 2021).
In another fight of the function, the former world champion Rey Vargas defeated L by unanimous decisioneonardo Baez in a brave 10-round Mexican featherweight battle. Vargas, from Otumba, State of Mexico, exercised dominance and slashed his opponent in the face to improve to 35-0, while Baez, from Mexicali, was 21-5.
And in a 10-round super middleweight bout, Anthony Dirrell defeated Marcos Hernández (15-5-2), of Fresno, via knockout in the fourth round by exploding a powerful uppercut. The Californian fighter got up, but wobbly, and the referee did not let him continue. Dirrell, of Flint, Michigan, improved to 34-2-2.