Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez sealed his place in the history books on Sunday in Las Vegas by beating Caleb Plant to become the first undisputed world super-middleweight champion.
The 31-year-old Mexican knocked out Plant in the 11th round to unify all four major belts in fewer than 12 months.
Alvarez added the IBF belt to the WBA Super, WBC and WBO ones he already held.
He knocked Plant, 29, down twice in the 11th – first with a left hook then followed it with a right uppercut.
Although Plant got up, the punches had taken their toll and Alvarez went on the attack again to finish the fight with one minute and five seconds of the round remaining.
Alvarez said Plant, 29, wanted to keep going but he told him he should stop.
“He wanted to continue. I told him there is no shame. Of course I came out on top,” said Alvarez, who had the support of the Las Vegas crowd as he improved to 57 wins, one defeat and two draws, with 39 knockouts, as he handed Plant the first defeat of his career.
“Caleb is a good fighter. He was a difficult opponent with a lot of ability and I do respect him.
“He was making the fight pretty difficult, but Eddy [Reynoso, trainer] told me to just stick to the gameplan in the last two rounds. In the end, I got him. That’s the way it had to finish. He was already hurt and I went for the kill.”
The win for Alvarez means he becomes the first Mexican and only the sixth fighter since the WBO began sanctioning world-title fights in 1988 to hold all four belts from the separate governing bodies at the same time.
He had claimed the WBA Super and WBC titles when he defeated Callum Smith in December 2020 and followed that up with a defence against Avni Yildirim in February before overcoming Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO honour.
“It hasn’t been easy to get to this point,” Alvarez added. “With my team I have gone really far.
“This is for everybody, especially for Mexico. We did it tonight. We are only six. It keeps me happy and motivated to be one of the six undisputed fighters in the world.”