Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) added Plant’s IBF title to his own WBC, WBA and WBO belts with a steady tactical performance culminating in a brilliant display of his vaunted power to finish the previously unbeaten Plant at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
The Mexican superstar generally recognized as the top pound-for-pound fighter in the world became the sixth man to be a four-belt champion, and he joined junior welterweight Josh Taylor as the only current undisputed champs of their weight class.
After stopping three of his previous four opponents, Alvarez had to grind through a difficult matchup with the tenacious Plant (21-1), who usually moved backward and worked behind his jab to stay away from Canelo‘s power.
Alvarez remained persistent and racked up a volume of quality punches — and in the opening seconds of the 11th round, he sent Plant crashing to the canvas with a vicious combination followed by an uppercut while Plant tried to duck away.
Plant got up unsteadily, and Alvarez dropped him again with two big right hands, forcing referee Russell Mora to end it.
Plant is a sturdy champion and an inspirational athlete who overcame numerous personal tragedies to earn a shot at the pound-for-pound champ, but the Tennessee native found out just how big the gap remains between Canelo and his contemporaries.
Alvarez is the first Mexican fighter to reign undisputed atop a division, and every flag-waving fan in the vehemently pro-Canelo sellout crowd of 16,586 seemed aware of the achievement. The champion, a Guadalajara native, spoke frequently before the fight of his determination to achieve the feat both for himself and for Mexico.
Alvarez extended the most successful active career in boxing with his eighth consecutive victory in just over three years. He hasn’t lost in 16 fights since dropping a majority decision to Floyd Mayweather in 2013, with only a draw against Gennady Golovkin blemishing his record.
Alvarez and Plant had no personal animus until September, when Alvarez took offense to an insult from Plant during a news conference in Beverly Hills to promote the bout. Alvarez and Plant briefly scrapped, leaving Plant with a cut on his face and a new avenue of motivation.
Plant opened the biggest bout of his career with a solid game plan, tapping Alvarez with a solid jab and moving away from his opponent’s superior power, frequently using a shoulder roll to avoid trouble. Alvarez steadily walked down Plant and did damage in the fourth, backing him against the ropes and letting combinations fly.
Alvarez showed little fear of Plant’s punches, and he got even less heedful as the bout progressed. Alvarez gradually landed more effectively in the middle rounds, moving Plant backward and even daring the cautious Plant to hit him in the seventh.
Boxing gets frequent, deserved criticism as an institution for the promoter rivalries and fractious sanctioning bodies that prevent the best fighters from meeting each other far too often. But Alvarez used his star power to join an elite club by winning all four major belts.
Only five men had ever achieved four-belt undisputed champion status since the feat became possible with the WBO’s advent: middleweights Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor, junior welterweights Terence Crawford and Taylor, and cruiserweight Oleksandr Usyk.
Taylor achieved the feat in May by beating Jose Ramirez. His first simultaneous defense of all four belts is scheduled for February in Glasgow against Jack Catterall.
In the co-main event, super middleweight veteran Anthony Dirrell earned his first win in nearly three years by stopping Marcos Hernandez in the opening moments of the fourth round with a vicious uppercut. The 37-year-old Dirrell celebrated with a standing backflip.
REPORT: Canelo inflicts superb Plant knockout to become undisputed world super-middleweight champion
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.
The Mexican created history by unifying the WBA Super, WBO, IBF and WBC super-middleweight titles to become the first undisputed champion at 168 pounds in the sport’s history
Canelo and Plant show respect after undisputed fight
Canelo vs Plant: Round 11 - Canelo knocks out Plant!
Down goes Plant, a left drops him, huge shot from Canelo!
Plant staggers up, but Canelo is on him like a rash, sensational combination and he’s sent back down, it’s over!
What drama, the patience, then an emphatic finish, the first undisputed world super-middleweight champion!
It was a left hook at first, then a right uppercut drilled down the middle to send Plant into the ropes.
Then every punch in the book, both upstairs and to the exposed ribs of Plant, as he crouched towards the ropes, finished the job.
Canelo vs Plant: Round 10
Canelo whips in a combination with some urgency.
Canelo has 92 total shots landed, 84 to Plant after nine rounds.
The Mexican is loading up now! Canelo wants to blast through this shell Plant has, but the American lands a couple to the body.
A good jab to finish from Plant, but a better round for the Mexican.
Canelo vs Plant: Round 9
Total punches landed: 81 to 72 in Canelo’s favour, but Plant has thrown over one hundred more shots.
That’s a quality left as Plant is backed into the corner, but he jumps out and escapes once more.
A cute right uppercut from Plant there too.
Wow, lovely fast hands from Plant there and Canelo moves away in disgust. Mike Tyson with a sigh in the crowd, it’s been one of those nights.
A massive upset could be on here. Plant with the arms in the air, he’s growing in confidence, but surely he needs to sweep these final rounds to upset the face of boxing?
Canelo vs Plant: Round 8
We enter the eighth!
Canelo unable to dish out the punishment he promised yet.
It’s a test for Canelo’s patience, he chases there and hits thin air as Plant scarpers away.
It could be another Plant round, this might be getting interesting if the judges interpret this a certain way.
Canelo vs Plant: Round 7
Richie Woodhall has it 58-57 to Canelo after six!
Canelo marching forward at will. Flicking out his jab now as a screen for the heavier arsenal behind it.
Canelo taking a lot of Plant shots on the ropes, almost inviting a mistake.
It’s almost exclusively the left from Plant, not a lot of right hands for Canelo to be occupied with.
Canelo vs Plant: Round 6
Plant has outlanded Canelo 50 punches to 45 after five rounds.
Plant’s size helping him hold Canelo up close when he does spoil the Mexican’s work.
The Mayweather-esque defence now being penetrated by Canelo, a couple of big rights sneak through.
Canelo drops his hands, shifting his head from side to side, he does not respect Plant’s power.
Canelo vs Plant: Round 5
The cut is open below Plant’s right eye! The one from the press conference, will it be an issue?
Canelo has 35 power shots to just 22 for Plant after four rounds.
Mexico, Mexico! is the chorus around the arena!
Canelo pounding the body of Plant as he leans away from the big shots, but there is an element of frustration.
A grimace from Plant maybe as he pulls his right hand back, but he’s barely thrown it.
He’s able to stifle a lot of Canelo’s work as they’re up close, solid defence from the American too as he leans away in his shell.
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