Canelo Alvarez overcame a frustrating night to deliver a ruthless knockout of Caleb Plant to further enhance his glittering legacy by becoming boxing’s first ever undisputed super-middleweight world champion.
The Mexican superstar was forced to showcase his patience over 10 cagey rounds before finally opening up the American in a thrilling 11th round to capture the IBF title, complimenting his WBA Super, WBO, and WBC belts.
Plant has long evaded the left hook by shortening the distance and leaning away from the more aggressive Canelo, but the shot eventually pierced his guard, puncturing his glove to leave him disorientated and vulnerable to a thumping right uppercut.
Plant was dropped hard, but to his credit his gathered himself, but only seconds separated him from his fate and Canelo’s crowning moment. This time a flurry of shots to a partially-guarded head and exposed body as Plant bent down into the ropes.
The fight’s conclusion sparked wild scenes of celebrations and dispelled any animosity between fighter and trainer Eddy Reynoso, who was heard frantically screaming instructions between rounds as the fight hung in the balance.
Already a four-weight world champion, Canelo has clinched his legacy with supremacy at 168 pounds, but there is the mouthwatering prospect of much more to come.
The future remains murky though, having teased the prospect of seven more years as boxing’s king.
A complete fighter, tonight showed how Canelo can close the show, even when hindered by a smart if not conservative strategy. Plant’s slick movement often saw him vanish off the ropes with Canelo’s gloves whistling past his ears.
Canelo’s smile after the final bell, covered in gold from head to toe, obscured a valuable lesson in narrowing the distance against a slippery opponent capable of escaping the traps that proved so fatal to Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith it months.
The fight was indeed lacking many thrilling exchanges through 10 rounds, but Canelo defied the hushed silence from the crowd in the championship rounds that hinted at the prospect of a close decision on the cards.
The reality was that all three judges had Canelo ahead (97-93, 96-94, 98-92), which may cause amnesia as to the test experienced by the face of the sport.
The relief at carving out another piece of history ensured the Mexican was quick to forget any lingering bad blood between the pair that has been simmering ever since their fisticuffs at a press conference in September.
And Canelo has little more to prove and no obvious tests awaiting him down at middleweight or all the way up at light heavyweight.