For the last year or so, many people have rated Canelo Alvarez as the pound-four-pound best fighter in the world due to his spectacular highlight reel power and constant improving boxing skills.
Last night in front of a sellout crowd of 16,586 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena, Canelo in his 60th professional fight pulled off the crowning achievement of his future Hall of Fame career by stopping previous undefeated and former IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb Planet. Alvarez knocked Plant down for the first two times in his career and closed the show by landing two big right hands, forcing referee Russell Mora to end it at 1:05 of the 11th round.
With the win, Alvarez snatched Plant’s IBF belt to become the first four-belt world champion at 168 pounds in boxing history and first Mexican fighter to achieve four-belt undisputed champion status since the feat became possible with the WBO’s advent.
“This means so much for the history of Mexico to become an undisputed champion,” Alvarez said. “There are only six undisputed champions in history. It keeps me happy and very motivated to be one of the six.”
Alvarez joins middleweights Bernard Hopkins and Jermain Taylor, junior welterweights Terence Crawford and Josh Taylor, and cruiserweight Oleksandr Usyk as the only men to become undisputed champion in the four-belt era.
Despite looking spectacular while reaching his crowning achievement, things weren’t easy for Alvarez as Plant gave him all he wanted and even frustrated the undisputed champion by working off a nice jab, using a shoulder roll to avoid trouble to make Alvarez miss frequently while constantly moving to avoid Alvarez’s fight changing power.
Plant was behind on all three scorecards at the time of the stoppage: 96-94, 98-92 and 97-93. MMA Weekly scored it 97-93.
Although there was a contentious build up at times leading up to the fight, there was nothing but respect from Alvarez for Plant after their highly entertaining affair.
“Caleb is a good fighter. I have a lot of respect for Caleb Plant. He was a difficult opponent with a lot of ability, and I do respect him,” Alvarez said. “We are both men at the end of the day. He wanted to fight me and continue. I told him there’s no shame. We had a great fight tonight.”
Plant wasn’t available for comment due to being taken to the University Medical Center following the bout as a precaution.
With all the belts at 168 now firmly in his collection what’s next for Canelo?
Rest is definitely on the menu as Alvarez has been incredibly active, with four fights in a 11-month stretch which started in December 2020 with a win over Callum Smith. Canelo all but said at his post-fight press conference the next time we will see him in the ring will be the first weekend in May which is Mexican Independence weekend and his unofficial fight weekend.
The short list of names to be Canelo’s next opponent includes former WBC Super Middleweight king David Benavidez, current WBC Middleweight champion Jermall Charlo and some people are even hoping for a trilogy fight with the very inactive Gennadiy Golovkin. No matter who is picked, boxing’s best fighter and biggest draw will be expected to put on another memorable performance and continue his 16-fight winning streak which dates back to March 2014.