Canelo Álvarez becomes first undisputed four-belt super middleweight champ
LAS VEGAS — Canelo Álvarez became the first undisputed four-belt super middleweight world champion in boxing history Saturday night, stopping Caleb Plant in the 11th round with two dramatic knockdowns.
Álvarez (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, Álvarez 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.
Álvarez 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.
Álvarez 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.
Canelo Álvarez knocks down Caleb Plant twice before ref stops fight
Round 11: Canelo Álvarez rocks Caleb Plant and drops him for the fight’s first knockdown with a left hook. He follows it with a right uppercut and Plant is finally floored for the first time in his career. Plant gets up and stumbles into the corner. He’s clearly hurt. He gets up and Alvarez attacks him immediately. He smells blood in the water and pummels Plant.
He scores another knockdown to punctuate his performance with a short right hand. Plant falls face first. He tries to get up but he’s clearly hurt. Referee Russell Mora stops the fight before any unnecessary punishment is administered.
Álvarez and Plant have an extended embrace after the fight, seemingly putting aside their bad blood. Álvarez climbs the ring ropes with a crown on his head. He is officially the king of 168 —and boxing.
Álvarez is now the sixth unified and undisputed champion in the four-belt era. He owns the WBC, WBO, WBA, IBF and Ring Magazine titles.
Canelo Álvarez continues to have his way vs. Caleb Plant
Round 10: The championship rounds have started. Showtime unofficial scorekeeper Steve Farhood has Canelo Álvarez winning the last six rounds.
The Mexican star is up 88-83 on his card. Álvarez keeps finding a home for left hand. It’s becoming rinse and repeat for Álvarez.
Caleb Plant will need a miracle to remain unbeaten and attain undisputed super middleweight champion status.
Canelo Álvarez continues to pull away in fight vs. Caleb Plant
Round 9: Canelo Álvarez puts the pressure on Caleb Plant and the American’s right eye begins to shut.
It’s increasingly becoming target practice for Álvarez. Plant suddenly wakes up at the end of the round with a five punch combination that is mostly blocked — but the last one clears the guard.
Plant ends the round with a snapping left hand. It was by far his best offense since round three, but it’s another Álvarez round.
Canelo Álvarez continues to build momentum in Round 8
Round 8: Live odds have Canelo Álvarez favored at -4000. He was a -1000 favorite before the opening bell.
The momentum is clearly in Álvarez’s corner as he keeps rolling and outlanding Caleb Plant. The Tennessean hasn’t gone to Plan B so far, and it doesn’t appear he has the toolset to dig in his back of tricks.
Canelo Álvarez gets pushed onto ropes, bangs heads with Caleb Plant
Round 7: Showtime unofficial scorekeeper had the fight scored 58-56 in favor of Canelo Álvarez through six rounds.
Álvarez begins to click again and connects with a combination that gets Caleb Plant’s attention.
For the first time in the fight, Álvarez comfortably sits back against the ropes and lets Plant work away, but he doesn’t do too much damage.
At the end of the round, there was an accidental clash of heads. Álvarez appears to get the worst end of it.
Canelo Álvarez keeping Caleb Plant on the run
Round 6: The announced attendance is a sellout crowd of 16,586, and they scream in fervor every time Canelo Álvarez lets his hands go.
A left hook snaps Caleb Plant’s head back. Plant can’t collect any power by continuously moving back.
Álvarez is certainly forcing the issue, and picking up momentum as the second half of the fight begins.
Canelo Álvarez finishes off Round 5 strong vs. Caleb Plant
Round 5: Caleb Plant starts off the round with a strong right. Referee Russell Mora warns Canelo Álvarez for a low blow and Plant for pushing Canelo’s head down.
Seemingly upset, Álvarez uses the admonishment as fuel for his offensive output and bludgeons Plant to the body. Another interesting and competitive round.
Canelo Álvarez causes more problems for Caleb Plant in Round 4
Round 4: Canelo Álvarez unleashes a barrage of punches as Caleb Plant is pressed to the ropes one minute into the round. Not everything lands.
Plant is still staying in the pocket and bringing the fight to Álvarez. Plant absorbs another body shot for his efforts. Plant keeps doing what he’s been doing best so far in the fight and boxing off his back foot as his main source of offense.
It’s becoming clear that Plant doesn’t have the power to hurt the charging Álvarez.
Canelo Álvarez turns on the pressure in the third round
Round 3: Canelo Álvarez landed 45% of his power shots through Round 2.
Álvarez begins to pressure Caleb Plant and walks him around the ring, picking and choosing his shots.
Plant uses a crisp left jab to stave off the four-division champion but Álvarez is unleashing the more powerful shots, however, leading with a left hook.
Another close and competitive round, but Canelo is opening up even more with each passing minute.
Canelo Álvarez challenged by Caleb Plant in Round 2
Round 2: Canelo Álvarez kicks off the second round of his 60th professional fight by landing an uppercut on the inside.
Caleb Plant immediately holds his forearm of Álvarez when he tries to get inside. Plant shows off his power with a strong right hand that gets Álvarez’s attention.
Álvarez gets angry and starts chopping away at the body with left and right hooks and finishes the round in style by stocking Plant with power shots. We officially have a fight.
Canelo Álvarez vs. Caleb Plant title fight is underway
Round 1: Caleb Plant starts off the fight by successfully firing off a peppering jab to the jaw and body of Canelo Álvarez.
Four-division champion Álvarez is notoriously a slow starter, and the script is the same for the opening round until he lands a chopping right hand midway through the round. It gets the attention of the pro-Álvarez crowd, as the fans erupt at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Álvarez ends the feeling-out round with a body shot and skips back to his corner.
Anthony Dirrell scores uppercut TKO of Marcos Hernandez
Flint, Mich., native Anthony Dirrell walked into the ring dressed in Michigan Spartans regalia and defeated Marcos Hernandez with a detonating shot.
Dirrell (33-2-2, 25 KOs) kicked off the fourth round with a wind-up uppercut that collapsed Hernandez (15-5-2, 3 KOs) in their super middleweight matchup 22 seconds into the fourth round.
Hernandez tried to get up but his body didn’t cooperate and the fight was waved off before a count of 10 was reached.
Hernandez outlanded Dirrell 46 to 40 in the fight, but it was the last punch that ultimately mattered.
Dirrell scored his first win since February 2019.
The 37-year-old Dirrell is in the twilight of his 16-year career and he’s contemplated retirement in recent years. With the destructive knockout win, he’ll certainly see another day in the ring.
Former world champion Rey Vargas vanquishes Leonardo Baez via unanimous decision
Former 122-pound champion Rey Vargas returned from a career-long 28-month layoff and cruised to a unanimous decision win over Leonardo Baez.
Vargas was awarded scores of 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91 by the judges.
Vargas (35-0, 22 KOs) unleashed a vicious body attack against Baez (21-5, 12 KOs) that rarely veered, as Vargas demonstrated a precise jab and crisp combinations at range.
The 30-year-old Vargas was making his featherweight division debut in the bout and did not appear to look rusty despite his extended stay on the sidelines. He bloodied and bruised Baez, who gave it a valiant effort in the one-sided loss.
Vargas landed a total of 215 punches in the fight, while Baez returned with 166 of his own. Seventy-one of Vargas’ shots went to the body of Baez.
The victory was Vargas’ seventh in a row via unanimous decision.
Elvis Rodriguez drops and stops Juan Pablo Romero with KO
Touted prospect Elvis Rodriguez opened the pay-per-view broadcast and got back into the win column by dropping Juan Pablo Romero in the fourth round and eventually knocking him out in the fifth.
Romero made it clear early he was not going to be a made-to-order opponent for Rodriguez to bounce back from following his first pro loss in May. He made it a rough and tumble affair and won the first two rounds.
However, Romero (14-1, 9 KOs) tasted the canvas for the first time in his career when Rodriguez (12-1-1, 11 KOs) rattled him with a straight left and uppercut with less than a minute to go in the fourth round. Romero stumbled and smartly took a knee to gather his senses.
He couldn’t do the same a second time when Rodriguez dropped him with a sharp straight left as the fifth round was coming to a close. Romero, with a defeated look on his face, sat and watched the referee count to 10, and he never made an attempt to get up.
Romero landed 85 punches, and Rodriguez was right behind him with 84.
Rodriguez, who is trained by Hall of Fame coach Freddie Roach, was emotional following his win, as he returned to his corner crying.
The 25-year-old Dominican Republic native was fighting for the first time since his first pro loss to Kenneth Sims Jr. earlier this year.
Tale of the tape between Canelo Álvarez vs. Caleb Plant
Age: 31 (July 18, 1990)
Hometown: Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico
Record: 56-1-2, 38 KOs
World championship fights: 17-1-1, 9 KOs
Championships: Super welterweight (154 pounds), Middleweight (160 pounds), Super Middleweight (168 pounds), Light Heavyweight (175 pounds)
Total rounds fought: 425
Height: 5 foot 8
Reach: 70.5 inches
Weight: 168 pounds
Manager / Trainer: Edison “Eddy” Reynoso
Notable wins: Billy Joe Saunders, Callum Smith, Sergey Kovalev, Daniel Jacobs, Rocky Fielding, Gennady Golovkin (one draw as well), Julio César Chávez Jr., Liam Smith, Amir Khan, Miguel Cotto, James Kirkland, Erislandy Lara, Alfredo Angulo, Austin Trout, Josesito López, Shane Mosley, Kermit Cintrón and Matthew Hatton.
Notable loss: Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Age: 29 (July 8, 1992)
Nickname: Sweet Hands
Gym: City Boxing Club in Las Vegas
Hometown: Nashville, Tennessee
Record: 21-0, 12 KOs
World championship fights: 4-0, 2 KOs
Championships: Super Middleweight (168 pounds)
Total rounds fought: 122
Height: 6 foot 1
Reach: 74 inches
Weight: 167 pounds
Advisor / Manager: Al Haymon and Luis De Cubas Jr.
Trainer: Justin Gamber, Richie Plant
Notable wins: Jose Uzcategui
History on the line for Canelo Álvarez and Caleb Plant
Canelo Álvarez and Caleb Plant are both looking to become only the sixth male boxer in the four-belt era to be crowned as an undisputed champion.
The winner would join Bernard Hopkins (middleweight; 2004), Jermain Taylor (middleweight; 2005), Terence Crawford (super lightweight; 2017), Oleksandr Usyk (cruiserweight; 2018) and Josh Taylor (super lightweight; 2021).
The four-division titlist cis the WBC, WBO, WBA and Ring Magazine champion; Plant is the IBF belt holder.
Should Álvarez win, he would become the first fighter of Mexican heritage to be an undisputed champion.
Fighting words leading up to Canelo Álvarez vs. Caleb Plant bout
The promotion leading up to the fight between Canelo Álvarez and Caleb Plant has been a contentious one. During a Beverly Hills press conference in September, both fighters swung at each other, with Álvarez getting the better of the exchange and slightly cutting Plant underneath the right eye.
Here is what the principals had to say leading up to the fight:
“You are not on my level and you will see on November 6. You don’t want to fight now, I promise you.
“My emotions are under control. I’m excited for the fight of course. I’m excited to become undisputed champion and to make history. That’s what I want. But I can remain calm, because this is what I do.
“Only five male fighters in the history of boxing have accomplished becoming undisputed champion. I want to be the sixth. That’s the only thing on my mind.
“You’re going to want to tune-in to this fight. This fight is going to be history. You’re going to be witnessing something that you’re going to remember for a long time.
“Caleb might be on the same level as Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith, but he’s not on my level. I respect that he isn’t here to back down. You can see from today that this is definitely going to be a good fight.
“I know what I need to do and I know a lot about him. He’s a good fighter but I know my skills. My experience is going to give me the edge in the fight. I have faced similar styles to Caleb’s against Floyd Mayweather, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout and Saunders.
“To be undisputed is history for Mexico and for everyone on my team. To be the undisputed champion is just a great thing for my career.
“It will be over in eight rounds or less. I’m going to knock out this guy. Easy.”
“I know only one thing better than proving people right, and that’s proving people wrong. I’ve been doing that my whole life. As soon as I stepped on the stage, people started talking about what I can’t accomplish and what I can’t do. Where I come from, there is no boxing community. There was no other pro I could look to and say that if he can do it, then I can do it. All I had was my mind and my heart.
“I don’t do this to be famous or to get attention. When I first started, it was just me and my dad. No one thought I’d be standing here today. I can remember him and my grandfather scrounged up a little bit of money to open a little boxing gym. There was just one heavy bag hanging in the corner. But when you really want something, you don’t need all the fancy things. You just need your mind and your heart.
“I know that people don’t believe me when I tell them I’m winning on November 6. All those people who tell me that I can’t do something, you live believable lives and you do believable things. I promised myself that I was going to run this all the way to the top, with no problem crashing and burning along the way. I set out to live an unbelievable life and accomplish unbelievable things. Those people who doubt me are the very reason that I’m here.
“Being undisputed would mean a lot. I’ve sacrificed so much to this sport and I’ve been doing this a long time. All that work would come down to one moment. I want my name in those history books and that’s the only reason that I’m here.”
Eddy Reynoso, Álvarez’s trainer and manager
“I’m a little upset by how things turned out [with the press conference scuffle] but in the end we will settle things in the ring on November 6.
“I think this is going to be a great fight, one where we unify the 168-pound division. As we do with every fight, we’re going to work hard in the gym. We’ve always worked hard in the gym.
“This has been a great training camp. We’ve had a great career so far, and this is a cherry on top of everything we’ve done so far.
“We have fought so many different kinds of champions. There is not much left to say about Canelo’s career. On Saturday, everyone is going to witness the first-ever Mexican undisputed world champion.
“We respect and admire Caleb Plant’s work ethic. But in the end, we’re better and we’re going to show it Saturday night. The goal is to be at the top.
“I don’t focus on the opponent. I focus on what my fighter will be able to do. We had an amazing camp and we’re going to be ready to roll on Saturday night.”
Justin Gamber, Plant’s trainer
“Saying that we had the best training camp ever is cliché, but I’m about to say it again. Every camp we’ve had has been great for different reasons. This training camp had challenges, but it’s been the best one this team has had.
“Any time you face the pound-for-pound best in boxing, you know you’re going to have your work cut out for you. We’ve had our work cut out before and overcame it. We’ve really prepared our whole career for this fight.”
“I want to thank our whole team for believing in us and getting us this fight that we wanted and this opportunity to make history. It’s been blood sweat and tears, literally, to get here. It’s been a long journey. This fight is not about money, it’s about legacy.
“In 1996, when I was 15-years-old, my favorite fighter was the IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Roy Jones Jr. Every fan back then craved an undisputed champion at 168-pounds and now I train the IBF champion and we’re going to be fighting for all of the marbles.
“Tune in on November 6 and you will see the first undisputed super middleweight champion of the world and he’s from Tennessee. Anything that happened today at this press conference is going to drive us and give us more hunger.”
Previewing the Canelo Álvarez vs. Caleb Plant PPV undercard
The co-main event features two-time super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell (32-2-2, 24 KOs) looking to score his first win in more than two and a half years when he takes on Marcos Hernandez (15-4-2, 3 KOs) in a 10-round 168-pound fight.
Dirrell lost the 168-pound WBC belt Canelo Álvarez now owns to David Benavidez in 2019 and settled for a split draw against Kyrone Davis in February.
“Expect fireworks,” Dirrell said. “I know Marcos brings a good game and he’s a come-forward fighter. It’s going to be a hot one. I’m trying to make my mark and get my shot at the winner of the main event. So I have to make a good statement. I know it won’t be easy and I’m ready for the challenge.”
In other action, former 118-pound champion Rey Vargas (34-0, 22 KOs) will fight for the first time since July 2019 when he takes on Leonardo Baez (21-4, 12 KOs) in a ten-round featherweight fight.
“If you think that I’m rusty, you could not be more wrong,” Vargas said. “I’m here to show that I can still bring the fight. I’m still very much a contender ... This is going to be an all-out war on Saturday. It’s going to be a brawl from start to finish.”
The hard-hitting Vargas has gone the distance in his last six fights.
Heralded prospect Elvis Rodriguez (11-1-1, 10 KOs) will open the pay-per-view broadcast and look to get back into the winning column when he takes on Juan Pablo Romero (14-0, 9 KOs) in a 10-round welterweight bout.
Rodriguez is trained by Hall of Fame coach Freddie Roach and will be fighting for the first time since his first pro loss to Kenneth Sims Jr. in May. The Dominican Republic native Rodriguez was released from Top Rank Promotions following the defeat.
“It’s been a long road for me to get here. I’m thankful to everyone who’s helped me. I had to work hard and fix a lot of mistakes. I’m a much better fighter now and I’m confident I’m going to show it all off on Saturday,” Rodriguez said. “I want to show everyone that I’m the real deal. I’m a different fighter and a different person than I was in the past. I have to show everyone that I’m up to the challenge in this fight.”
Experts make their picks for Canelo Álvarez vs. Caleb Plant
The following experts made their picks ahead of Canelo Álvarez versus Caleb Plant Saturday night in Las Vegas:
Let’s start with: I’m intrigued by Caleb Plant. I like his fighting style, the quick-striking, the fearless approach. But I look at his résumé, and I see one big win, over Jose Uzcategui. Even if we’re being generous and counting victories over Mike Lee or Caleb Truax as significant, there’s nothing to suggest — beyond hope, or projections — that Plant is ready to compete with a talent as immense as Canelo Álvarez, let alone beat him. I believe Canelo is even underrated, despite what I believe is a majority that believes he’s the top pound-for-pound fighter right now. His resume should be even more celebrated. I believe Álvarez will become the best boxer of the post-Floyd Mayweather era, and no matter how I look at the fight against Plant, I can’t come up with a scenario in which he doesn’t win. In fact, I think he punishes Plant early to the body, setting up a knockout somewhere in the middle rounds. The pick here is Round 9, but I could see it happening earlier, too.
— Greg Bishop, Sports Illustrated senior writer
I like this super middleweight matchup on paper, but I wonder if Caleb Plant is truly ready for it after just 21 pro bouts (and having been on a once-or-twice-a-year fighting schedule since 2017). We’ve got an experienced complete fighter who likes to patiently walk his opposition down vs. a naturally bigger, athletic stick-and-mover with a good jab. Plant should be able to give Canelo Álvarez trouble with his lateral movement, fast hands and ring savvy, and I think he will compete with the Mexican star over the first half of the bout, but I don’t believe he will do so without paying a price. Álvarez will get his shots in from the opening bell. As technical and athletic as Plant is, I don’t think he’s as slick as he or his supporters believe he is. He appears to be “slick” and savvy against the level of opposition he’s been in with, but Jose Uzcategui, Caleb Truax, Vincent Feigenbutz and Rogelio “Porky” Medina — the best fighters on Plant’s résumé — are made to order for his style and talent. They are plodding, one-dimensional, straight-forward marching fighters with average speed and reflexes. Álvarez isn’t going to “zombie-stalk” Plant without so much as a jab, as Truax did in Plant’s last bout. Álvarez will walk him down with purpose and strategy. He will target the body. He will jab when needed. He will be ready to counterpunch with authority whenever Plant lets his hands go. Every punch will be delivered with speed, timing, accuracy, and maximum leverage. By the middle rounds, Plant will literally feel the vast difference in their levels of experience. I expect Álvarez to take over the late rounds, and maybe even stretch out the punishment due to their grudge, but he’ll look to end it before the final bell. Canelo by a late-round stoppage, probably after round nine.
— Doug Fischer, Ring Magazine editor-in-chief
Betting odds for Canelo Álvarez vs. Caleb Plant
Canelo Álvarez is listed as a -1000 favorite to win Saturday night’s fight, while Caleb Plant is the betting underdog at +600, according to BetMGM. A draw is +2000.
How to watch Canelo Álvarez vs. Caleb Plant
The Canelo Álvarez vs. Caleb Plant pay-per-view bout can be purchased through Showtime for $79.99. The four-fight PPV broadcast begins at 6 p.m. PDT and will be held at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Álvarez vs. Plant can be ordered through a variety of platforms, including the Showtime app, and online at Showtime.com/PPV. U.S. customers can also purchase via the Showtime streaming service app on Apple iOS and tvOS devices, Android Mobile, AndroidTV, Roku, FireTV, Chromecast, Xbox One and Sony’s PlayStation Store.
Joe Hand Promotions carries the list of bars and restaurants that are slated to show the fight across the United States.
Hernández: Canelo Álvarez ready for the most personal fight of his career against Caleb Plant
LAS VEGAS — Cash cows are generally treated as if they are sacred cows in boxing, which made how Caleb Plant addressed Canelo Álvarez noteworthy.
Plant called him a drug cheat.
The accusation led to an exchange of open-handed slaps at a news conference in Beverly Hills six weeks ago, the lingering animosity explaining why organizers kept the fighters from ever coming face to face at their weigh-in Friday afternoon.
Denied a chance to shove Plant again before their 168-pound championship match the next day, Álvarez settled for warning his opponent by paraphrasing Newton’s third law of motion in his second language.
“For every action, [there’s] a reaction,” the 31-year-old from Mexico said in English.
Álvarez said he initiated the fracas in Beverly Hills because Plant insulted his mother when they were nose to nose, but, in reality, the relatively unknown challenger had already lobbed a grenade at him in cyberspace.
In late August, a couple of weeks after Álvarez and Plant agreed to fight, 130-pound champion Óscar Valdez tested positive for a stimulant. Álvarez and Valdez are stablemates in a gym run by trainer Eddy Reynoso.