Saul “Canelo” Álvarez is now officially in the history books.
Boxing’s biggest superstar and consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter made history by becoming the first undisputed super middleweight world champion.
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) November 7, 2021
He did it spectacularly when he stopped IBF champion Caleb Plant Saturday night live on Showtime PPV. The two slugged it out in front of 16,586 screaming fans at the sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
“It hasn’t been easy to get to this point, but with your support, my family and my team we’ve gotten really far,” Álvarez told Showtime’s Jim Gray (through an interpreter) following the historic victory. “This is for everybody, especially for Mexico. This is another one for our team. We did it tonight.”
Months of intense buildup to the fight and ten rounds of back-and-forth action in the ring reached a crescendo with the fight ending dramatically in the 11th round.
Although he started slow, Canelo connected flush on a left hook that signaled the beginning of the end for Plant.
Canelo (57-1-2, 39 KOs) followed up the left hook with a huge right uppercut that sent Plant to the canvas for the first time in his career. Plant (21-1, 12 KOs) returned to his feet but could never recover. Canelo pounced on his injured opponent, unleashing a barrage of power shots that again floored Plant. This time, referee Russell Mora stepped in to end the action at 1:05 of the 11th. However, Plant had fought bravely in his pay-per-view main event debut.
“Caleb is a good fighter,” said Canelo, who shared words of encouragement for his opponent in the ring following the fight. “I have a lot of respect for Caleb Plant. He was a difficult opponent with a lot of ability and I do respect him. We are both men at the end of the day. He wanted to fight me and still continue. I told him there’s no shame. We had a great fight tonight.”
The future Hall of Famer Canelo, 31, already a four-division world champion, slowly broke Plant down throughout the fight with a steady diet of body shots. Fifty-three of his 117 landed punches were to the body, and he landed 40 percent of his power shots. Canelo closed the show by landing 9 of 14 power shots in the 11th round.
It was a history-making night for boxing’s biggest star. In addition to becoming the first undisputed 168-pound champion in history, he became just the sixth male undisputed champion in the four-belt era and the first undisputed Mexican fighter in history.
“This means so much for the history of Mexico to become an undisputed champion,” he said. “There are only six undisputed champions in history. It keeps me happy and very motivated to be one of the six.”
Following the bout, Plant was taken to University Medical Center as a precaution. Before the in-ring post-fight interview, Plant embraced Canelo. It was a departure from the bad blood that permeated the pre-fight lead-up.
Plant explained that he didn’t mean to disrespect Alvarez’s mother during their press conference and said he wanted to continue to fight. Alvarez showed respect to Plant in the end and recognized him as a great fighter.
However, Canelo Alvarez is a once-in-a-generation talent whose only loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. made him arguably the heir apparent to “TBE.” The Canelo Alvarez era is cemented, and he is now one of the greatest fighters of all time.