In November 2021, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez guaranteed his placement amongst boxing’s greatest ever with an 11th-round knockout win over Caleb Plant. Before Saturday, there’s no denying that ‘Canelo’ was already a superstar, but after dethroning Plant, he became the first undisputed world super-middleweight champion of all time.
By the 10th round, live boxing odds had already heavily swayed in Canelo’s favor, as the Mexican-born fighter delivered a picture-perfect performance from the first-round bell until the eventual knockout.
Betting odds in Canelo’s favor is nothing new, as the pride of Mexico has delivered countless lob-sided victories since his arrival to our screens. But one aspect the bookmakers couldn’t have anticipated is his rise to become the first-ever undisputed super-middleweight champion.
Canelo had already ‘completed’ boxing, to quote the gaming generation, when he captured world championships in four weight classes between super-welterweight and light-heavyweight. But to unify all four belts at super-middleweight, his legacy took further into boxings Hall of Fame.
And if you believe he’s done there, you’d be wrong. A return to 175lbs with Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol in wait could extend his dominant reign to an even greater height.
For now, we’ll remain in the present as we recall Alvarez’s extraordinary journey at super-middleweight and how his journey leads to undisputed glory.
On the 29th of October 2005 in Guadalajara, Mexico, the pale-skinned red-haired babyface of ‘Canelo’ Alvarez made his professional boxing debut at the tender age of 15.
Sixteen years and 60 fights down the line, Alvarez possesses 57 wins, two draws, and a lone loss to Floyd Mayweather in 2013. As a four-weight champion, he’s become the sixth undisputed champion in history since the WBO initially sanctioned world-title fights in 1988.
The road to his undisputed title fight with Caleb Plant and subsequent unification wasn’t accomplished overnight, with Alvarez working harder than most throughout twelve months to obtain the achievements he’s recently earned.
The Super-Middleweight Journey
Moving up to light-heavyweight in 2019, Alvarez conquered Sergey Kovalev with strength and skill, putting an end to the Russian’s night with a penultimate-round stoppage.
He was soon after linked with super-middleweight champion Demetrius Andrade and a trilogy bout with Gennady Golovkin. Still, the coronavirus pandemic halted those plans and kept him inactive until late 2020.
However, Alvarez found a fight outside the squared circle, broadcaster DAZN and his former promoter Golden Boy refused a previously agreed financial reward. After a filled lawsuit against both parties involved, the 31-year-old became a free agent, and his status hasn’t altered since.
With the urge to compete with a higher level of activity, Alvarez confirmed his imminent return to the super-middleweight division after dropping Rocky Fielding at 168 pounds.
The WBA and WBC unified champion Callum Smith was lying in wait, and this matchup was soon announced as Alvarez’s second 168lb bout.
Again, the Mexican proved his worth when outclassing the British fighter whilst collecting the titles along the way.
A relationship was formed with Matchroom Boxing’s promoter Eddie Hearn, and Alvarez announced his goal of unifying the division but not before agreeing to a mandatory fight with Avni Yildrim.
Mandatory Bout – No Problem, Unification Up Next
Alvarez accepted his mandatory bout with a mere two months’ notice, and after a quick-fire training camp, it was like he already knew the fate of Yildrim.
The pound-for-pound great dismissed Yildrim within three rounds, showing Miami that his opponent was no match.
Now, all that prevented Alvarez from becoming the undisputed champion was a sizeable British fighter in the shape of Billy Joe Saunders, which was announced to take place in May 2021.
The build-up was perfect, and the fight itself produced the biggest post-pandemic crowd of 73,000 fans attending the Texas-based event.
Saunders utilized his jab to great success in the early rounds, but the power of Alvarez eventually prevailed when a catastrophic right uppercut fractured the skull of Britain’s champion.
Without choice, Saunders was forced to retire in between rounds, and it was Alvarez who once again saw his hand raised in victory.
Canelo Defeats Plant – The Rest Is History
One fighter stood in Alvarez’s path of a history-making moment; that man was Caleb Plant. Contrasting styles and undefeated status produced a highly anticipated bout that would take place in Las Vegas; where else?
Between Alvarez’s pre-fight press conference punch and the heated words exchanged, the boxing world couldn’t contain their excitement for the undisputed showdown that put all four major world titles in the super middleweight division on the line.
Cementing his name alongside boxing greatest to ever do it, Alvarez won the bout via eleventh-round technical knockout. Dropping Plant on multiple occasions caused the referee to intervene in a contest that Alvarez was already ahead on the scorecards.
Alvarez became the first to unify all four belts in his weight class, but with plenty of miles on the clock, even more, history-making moments could be around the corner.