Canelo Alvarez Defeats Caleb Plant to Become Undisputed Super Middleweight Champion

Canelo Alvarez has a new title…

For the first time in his career, the 31-year-old Mexican professional boxer can call himself an undisputed champion.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez, the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world and the sport’s biggest attraction, promised to punish Caleb Plant, and on Saturday he did just that with an 11th-round TKO victory at a sold-out MGM Grand Garden Arena to unify all four 168-pound titles.

A left hook followed by a brutal right uppercut sent both of Plant’s gloves to the canvas in the penultimate round. He never recovered. On unsteady legs, Plant (21-1, 12 KOs) attempted to escape danger, but Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) sensed the moment. He closed in with a barrage of shots that dropped Plant a second time as referee Russell Mora halted the bout at 1:05 of Round 11.

“It means so much to me, for the history of Mexico, to be an undisputed champion,” said Alvarez, who earned a guaranteed $40 million. “My respect to Caleb Plant. He’s a very difficult fighter with a lot of ability. I do respect the fighter.

“We’re men at the end. He wanted to continue. I said, ‘There’s no shame. We had a great fight today.'”

Plant, who earned a career-best $10 million, was transported to University Medical Center for observation, according to a PBC spokesperson. He was behind on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage: 96-94, 98-92 and 97-93. ESPN scored it 98-92.

Alvarez broke Plant down with relentless pressure and a dedicated body attack, a strategy he has used time and again on his way to the top of the sport. The entire left side of Plant’s body was red early in the fight as Alvarez continued to dish out blows to the midsection. Plant used a strong jab and deft footwork to keep Alvarez at bay and make him miss, but he rarely made Alvarez pay.

According to CompuBox data, Alvarez landed 102 power punches to 59 from Plant.

Plant, a 29-year-old native of Nashville, Tennessee, is regarded for his defensive ability, not his power, and it showed. The punches never gained Alvarez’s respect, who swarmed, round after round, even as his elusive opponent glided around the ring.

The pressure mounted, and Alvarez didn’t stop coming. It was simply a matter of time. The elusive fourth belt would soon be his.

“He was making things a little difficult, but [trainer] Eddy [Reynoso] told me, ‘Let’s keep with the game plan in the last two rounds here,'” Alvarez said. “And in the end, I got him. That’s the way it had to finish. He was already hurt, and I went in for the kill.”

He also got what he has long searched for: undisputed status. Alvarez won two super middleweight titles with a December victory over Callum Smith and picked up a third when he shattered Billy Joe Saunders‘ orbital bone in May. After that victory, it was clear whom he wanted next: “I’m coming, my friend,” Alvarez warned Plant then.

And Alvarez never stopped coming once he lured Plant into the ring. The outcome was never in doubt, though Plant boxed well over the first few rounds. His use of feints, an educated jab and smooth footwork allowed him to stay off the ropes and, mostly, out of harm’s way. But Alvarez is known for being a methodical starter, and Plant has a reputation for slowing down late in fights.

The matchup was originally being eyed for September 18, but at the 11th hour, the deal fell apart. Alvarez then entered talks for a light heavyweight title challenge from Dmitry Bivol, but before a deal could be completed, Alvarez decided to delay his return until November so he could chase the fourth super middleweight title, which belonged to Plant.

When they finally faced off at a promotional event in September, chaos ensued. After Plant hurled insults at Alvarez, Alvarez responded with an open-handed left hand. Plant went after Alvarez too but emerged with a small cut under his right eye. Alvarez was left with deep personal disdain for Plant, who disrespected his beloved trainer, Reynoso, and called Alvarez a cheater.

The accusation was a reference to Alvarez’s positive test for the banned substance clenbuterol that postponed his May 2018 rematch with Gennadiy Golovkin and led to a six-month suspension. Alvarez blamed the adverse finding on tainted meat consumed in his native Guadalajara.

After Saturday’s fight, Alvarez, after four fights in 11 months, said he envisions a May return to allow his body time to properly recover. Canelo usually fights on Cinco De Mayo weekend.

Plant, ESPN’s No. 3 boxer at 168 pounds, is the first champion in Al Haymon‘s PBC stable to earn a crack at Alvarez, but he might not be the last. The deal between Canelo and PBC is for one fight, but there’s reason to believe Alvarez will continue to face off against Haymon’s boxers. David Benavidez, ESPN’s No. 2 super middleweight, is aligned with PBC, as is Jermall Charlo, the middleweight champion who plans to jump to the 168-pound division in the near future.

A third meeting with Golovkin, though, is the biggest fight of all. They clashed twice for the middleweight championship after Alvarez unified titles at 154 pounds. He also won a title at 175 pounds, where he could seek a bout with Artur Beterbiev.

It’s less clear where Plant is headed after his first career loss. He won the title with an upset decision victory over Jose Uzcategui in January 2019 and defended it three times against light opposition. The fight with Alvarez was a quantum leap in competition. He fared well early, but in the end, Alvarez was too much.

It’s a familiar story since Alvarez lost to Floyd Mayweather in 2013, and at this point, there doesn’t appear to be anyone on the horizon who can dethrone him.

Canelo Alvarez Makes Quick Work of Avni Yildirim to Defend WBA & WBC Super Middleweight Titles

Canelo Alvarez didn’t take long to defend his titles…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer, the sport’s biggest star and best pound-for-pound fighter, made quick work of his limited foe, Avni Yildirim, to defend his WBA and WBC titles at 168 pounds via third-round TKO at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium.

Canelo Alvarez

Needing to clear the hurdle of his mandatory challenger in order to begin an ambitious 2021 plan to unify all four super middleweight world titles, Alvarez looked every bit of the audaciously large betting favorite he was coming in.

Alvarez put on quite the performance amid fireworks and a live concert on his walk to the ring alone. After Yildirim (21-3, 12 KOs) hid behind his high guard for the first two rounds, he finally succumbed to a stiff right cross from Alvarez that dropped him in Round 3.

After trainer Joel Diaz warned his fighter between rounds that he needed to show something or the fight would be stopped, Yildirim stared with a blank expression on his face that caused his corner to stop the fight.

“It doesn’t matter if they are taller and have more reach or whether they have a good new trainer or no trainer, it doesn’t matter,” Alvarez said after the win. “I come here to do my job and win and I come to make history and I have the best trainer in the world [Eddy Reynoso] in my corner.”

Alvarez made a quick return to the ring just two months after dominating unbeaten champion Callum Smith to unify a pair of super middleweight titles. But he opened as an alarming 50-1 favorite over Yildirim, a native of Turkey who didn’t seem to deserve the mandatory shot considering he was fresh off a two-year layoff and a loss in his last fight.

“It’s great to be active. It’s wonderful to be here in Miami. I wanted to have a great fight here and I’m happy it’s a knockout. That’s what I wanted to do,” Alvarez said. “I will fight anyone. I fight the best and I always fight the best. I fight the best at 168 and here I am, making history. I had to fight Yildirim to get the opportunity to fight the best at 168 and I had to do it. I defended my titles and am ready for what’s next.”

What’s next was confirmed for May 8 by promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sport, who has one fight remaining on a two-bout deal Alvarez signed to open the year. Hearn said Alvarez will challenge unbeaten WBO champion Billy Joe Saunders at a location to be announced.

In addition, Alvarez is hoping to fight twice more in 2021 after the Saunders bout and has shared his interest in closing the year by defeating Caleb Plant, the unbeaten IBF champion, to become boxing’s first undisputed super middleweight champion.

“[Saunders] is a very difficult fighter and he has the championship, the WBO. We want to unify,” Alvarez said before being asked about Saunders’ ability to trash talk his opponents. “People talk but I’m a mature fighter. I know how to control myself. All I have to do is get into the ring, win and make history. Words are just that.

“I [want to unify] because it hasn’t been done. At 168, no one has done that in the world. I want to make history.”

“I want to make my own history. I don’t want to be equal to anyone. I respect everyone in history but I want to make my own history so that when they one day talk about the sport of boxing, they talk about Canelo.”

Canelo Alvarez Reportedly Planning to Fight Mandatory Challenger Avni Yildirim in February

Canelo Alvarez isn’t waiting long to get back in the ring…

The 30-year-old Mexican boxer, the sport’s biggest star, will return to the ring on February 27 versus mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida, according to sources.

Canelo Alvarez

The fight will be broadcast on DAZN and other PPV cable platforms everywhere except Mexico.

It will be a stay-busy title defense for Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs), who is coming off a dominant unanimous decision victory over previously undefeated champion Callum Smith on December 19 to win the WBA, WBC and the Ring magazine super middleweight titles.

 

The Athletic was the first to report the Alvarez fight date.

“Canelo is in the gym, and he has been working and training, waiting for the date,” Alvarez’s trainer, Eddy Reynoso, said. “And to take advantage of the preparation we had for most of last year without fighting.”

After a deal with Matchroom promoter Eddie Hearn, Alvarez is on track to fight again on May 8, the weekend following Cinco de Mayo, against WBO super middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders. That bout is not official yet, but it is expected, with IBF champion Caleb Plant as a secondary option.

Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) has plans to unify the super middleweight division, with Saunders and Plant as the two other belt holders in the division.

Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) hasn’t fought since a February 2019 split technical decision loss to Anthony Dirrell. He has been Alvarez’s WBC mandatory challenger since before the Alvarez-Smith bout.

“Obviously it’s a very big fight for me. It makes me very proud to be on a stage like this, representing the Turkish people,” Yildirim told ESPN on Wednesday. “I know my opponent well. Of course, Canelo is one of the best in the world. But I know my value, and now the entire world will see who Avni Yildirim is.”

Alvarez and Reynoso wanted to fulfill their commitment to the WBC by fighting Yildirim before continuing their pursuit through the super middleweight champions.

“Yildirim is a strong fighter. He is a fighter who has earned his place in boxing to get to where he is as the No. 1 challenger in the world,” Reynoso said. “He had a fight against Anthony Dirrell, which seemed to me they took away from him, and gave it to Dirrell due to a cut. It was a world title fight, and [even with a loss], he became an official challenger. He is a guy who has worked honestly to be there, and he is dangerous, strong, has a good punch and very reliable.”

This will be Alvarez’s first bout in Miami, a place he has long enjoyed. Fans can be in attendance up to the COVID-19 pandemic capacity allowed at Hard Rock Stadium, where the Miami Dolphins and Miami Hurricanes play their home football games.

Canelo Alvarez Becomes Mexico’s First Unified Champion in Super Middleweight History

Canelo Alvarez is making history…

The 30-year-old Mexican professional boxer, the sport’s biggest superstar, put on a dominant display on Saturday night to end the 2020 major fight slate, cruising to a unanimous decision win over previously undefeated champion Callum Smith and winning the WBA, WBC and The Ring magazine super middleweight titles.

Canelo Alvarez

The scorecards read 119-109, 119-109 and 117-111, all for Alvarez.

In the process, Alvarez became the first unified champion from Mexico in super middleweight history.

In front of 15,000 fans (20% capacity) at the San Antonio Alamodome, Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) stalked Smith (27-1, 19 KOs), punishing him with an array of consistent jabs, uppercuts and hooks for 12 rounds.

“I’m the best in the world,” Alvarez said on the DAZN broadcast via an interpreter. “In the first round, I tried to see what he brings, the skills or whatever, but like you can see, I showed what I am.”

By the later rounds, the intrigue of the fight shifted from who would win to whether Smith would survive Alvarez’s devastating blows and go the distance.

The 6-foot-3 Smith had a 7-inch height advantage and an 8-inch reach advantage over the 5-foot-8 Alvarez. But it didn’t matter, as Alvarez was the big bully, eliminating the distance that Smith prefers and consistently pounding punches off the British boxer’s head and body.

“He was the better fighter tonight,” Smith said. “He’s smart. He’s clever. He sets you little traps and keeps you thinking. Before you know it, he’s closing the ground. He’s a good fighter, but I’m just a little disappointed with myself. His jab was really good. It surprised me a little bit. His defense was really good.”

Alvarez has now defeated two Smith brothers — knocking out older brother Liam Smith as a junior middleweight in 2016 and defeating Callum Smith on Saturday.

Alvarez — universally considered one of the top two pound-for-pound boxers in the world, boxing’s best-selling fighter, and already a four-division champion — now has won The Ring magazine title in three different weight classes.

He landed 43% of his punches and 57% of his power punches on Saturday, per CompuBox, in a complete performance in which his defense also shined. Smith landed only 18% of his punches and 24% of his power punches.

It was Alvarez’s first fight since parting ways with Golden Boy Promotions and DAZN after contractual disputes, and he returned to the ring for the first time in 13 months as his own promoter with little in-ring rust.

“I’M BACK!” he wrote as part of a Twitter post early Sunday morning.

https://twitter.com/Canelo/status/1340544290003533829?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1340544290003533829%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.espn.com%2F

Julio Cesar Martinez to Defend His WBC Flyweight World Title Against Francisco Rodriguez Jr.

Julio Cesar Martinez is going on the defensive yet again…

The 25-year-old Mexican professional boxer and WBC flyweight world titleholder will defend his belt against Francisco Rodriguez Jr. on the Canelo AlvarezCallum Smith undercard on December 19 at the Alamodome in San Antonio.

Julio Cesar Martinez

Martinez (17-1, 13 KOs) won the title in a ninth-round TKO victory over Cristofer Rosales in December 2019. He defended the belt twice this year, a unanimous decision victory against Jay Harris in February and a second-round TKO of Moises Calleros in October.

Martinez, who lost his pro debut in 2015, has gone 17-0 with one no-contest since then. He’s trained by Eddy Reynoso, who also trains Alvarez.

Rodriguez Jr. (33-4-1, 24 KOs) is a former strawweight world titlist. After losing back-to-back decisions against Donnie Nietes and Moises Fuentes in 2015, Rodriguez, 27, has won 14 straight bouts, 12 by stoppage.

Also on the undercard, super middleweight blue-chip prospect Diego Pacheco (10-0, 8 KOs) will face Rodolfo Gomez Jr. (14-4-1, 10 KOs) in an eight-round battle.

Canelo Alvarez to Fight Callum Smith Next Month in Texas

Canelo Alvarez is heading back to the ring…

Following months of conflict between the 30-year-old Mexican boxer, his promoters and his broadcast partners, Alvarez is finally ready to rumble.

Canelo Alvarez

Alvarez will meet Callum Smith in Texas this December to unify WBA super middleweight titles, according to ESPN. This will be Alvarez’s first appearance since his 11th-round TKO victory over Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.

The target dates for the fight are December 18, 19 or 20.

Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) faces “Mundo” Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) after he announced himself as a free agent last week. His first business partner will be Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Boxing. It’s very possible that DAZN, the broadcaster partner Alvarez was working with before severing ties with longtime promoter Golden Boy Promotions, could carry the fight in the U.S.

The fight — targeted for AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys in Arlington, Texas, or the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas — will come a year after a meeting in Phoenix, Arizona, where Smith’s trainer, Joe Gallagher, spent a few minutes with Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez’s trainer, to tell him about his interest in an Alvarez-Smith fight.

Smith, 20, is seven inches taller than Alvarez and has about eight inches reach advantage. Smith, like Alvarez, hasn’t fought since last November when he scored a contested unanimous decision victory over John Ryder.

Smith is the WBA “super” super middleweight world titlist, and Alvarez has the WBA “regular” belt, but the fight could also be for the WBC super middleweight title that was left vacant when David Benavidez missed weight for his fight against Roamer Alexis Angulo in August and was stripped of the belt.

Alvarez starts a new era as his own promoter with a title fight against a legit opponent. Smith is considered one of the elite fighters in the division, and is ranked No. 1 by ESPN.

Benavidez to Fight Rogelio Medina in Quest for WBC Super Middleweight World Title

David Benavidez is on the hunt for history…

The 20-year-old Latino boxer is one step closer to achieving his goal of becoming the youngest fighter to win a super middleweight world title.

David Benavidez

The WBC has agreed to sanction a title eliminator between Benavidez (17-0, 16 KOs) and former title challenger Rogelio “Porky” Medina (37-7, 31 KOs), according to promoter Sampson Lewkowicz.

“This is the final test for David Benavidez,” Lewkowicz said. “If he does to this guy what he did to so many other fighters, it will be time for the world to acknowledge that David is going to be a star in boxing. This test will show everyone that he is truly everything we’ve been saying he is since he was a teenager. I am proud of the hard work he is doing and look forward to this great victory.”

The date and location of the fight are still to be determined, Lewkowicz said.

England’s Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs) and Anthony Dirrell (30-1-1, 24 KOs), the former titleholder, are due to meet this spring for the belt recently vacated by Badou Jack, who is moving up in weight. The winner of that bout must make his first defense against Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (15-0, 10 KOs).

The fighter who emerges with the title following those two bouts will be mandated to face the Benavidez-Medina winner.

“This is the biggest opportunity of my life, and I’m not going to let it go to waste,” said Benavidez, who served as one of unified middleweight world champion Gennady Golovkin‘s chief sparring partners as he prepared for his March 18 fight with Daniel Jacobs. “I’m going to destroy this guy like I do everybody else. I have never trained this hard for a fight, and I feel that, come fight time, I’ll be extremely strong and do it up.”

The super middleweight division was created in 1984 and the youngest fighter to win a world title at 168 pounds is Darin Van Horn, who was 22 years, 8 months and 11 days old when he knocked out Lindell Holmes in the 11th round to win the IBF version of the belt May 18, 1991.

If Benavidez defeats Medina, he would get the opportunity to challenge for a world title well before he turns 22. Benavidez does not turn 21 until Dec. 17.