After KO`ing light-heavyweight belt-holder Sergey Kovalev, Mexican superstar and WBC Franchise Champion Saul Canelo Alvarez declares he`s one of the the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, with his spectacular 11th blitz.
Now a champion at four different weights, Canelo joins a select few Mexican greats to have captured a quartet of titles in as many divisions, Canelo also added his name to the short list of former 154 pound champions who made the succesful move up to 175 pound world championship level – Thomas Hearns, Sugar Ray Leonard and Mike McCallum being the other three greats who`ve achieved this feat.
After a technical fight, a Canelo right hook wobbled Kovalev setting him up for a sweeping left hook which staggered him, draping his arms by his side. Canelo feinted slightly and then clinically delivered a crushing right to the jaw, catapulting the Russian into the ropes and down on to his knees, with Referee Russel Mora immediately waving off the action at 2:15.
Following strict instructions from Coach Buddy McGirt, Kovalev diligently jabbed from the start, as Canelo stalked, slipped the jab and pawed then closed the opening round landing a hard left hook followed by a left hook to the body. The second round saw Canelo dig downstairs as Kovalev pumped the jab and prudently fought from a distance. The power difference was already evident.
Canelo started round three connecting with an overhand right as Kovalev kept using the jab, Alvarez countered with a solid left hook but the Russian continued to move and work. Alvarez began the fourth landing solidly and stalked the jabbing Kovalev although Canelo was cautious in the process.
The fifth round saw Canelo tag Kovalev with the left hook to the body off a counter but Kovalev’s considerable reach advantage continued to be a significant factor and a saving grace. At the halfway point in the sixth, Kovalev’s jab continued to be the fundamental choice, as Canelo pursued throughout the round and went to the body. In the seventh round, the champ continued to work the jab as Canelo landed a short right hand inside getting Kovalev’s blinking attention. Canelo appeared to be frustrated in the eighth, swinging and missing as he was checked by Kovalev’s jab.
Canelo continued to swing and miss with wild punches in the ninth as Kovalev’s jab was consistent. Late in the fight in the tenth round, Canelo landed an overhand right and this was key to the unravelling. The Mexican closed the round strong landing a solid right and body shots.
Canelo’s patient game plan paid off in the eleventh round when he finally got to Kovalev and crunchingly knocked him out.
Judges Julie Lederman and Dave Moretti both had Alvarez ahead, 96-94, entering the 11th round. Judge Don Trella had it even through 10 rounds (95-95).