Canelo Alvarez successfully becomes the first undisputed super middleweight champ in history!
Multi-divisional champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (57-1-2, 38 KO’s) has successfully made history yet again. This time the redhead managed to become the first undisputed super middleweight champion in the history of the sport. Canelo accomplished this by defeating former IBF 168-pound champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant (21-1, 12 KO’s) by way of eleventh round stoppage. With victory, he has added Plant’s IBF title to his own WBA super, WBO and WBC hardware.
The prizefight stood as the redhead’s third contest this year and his fourth since launching his mission to lord over the super middleweight division. During this busy streak of activity, Alvarez has racked up wins and collected belts from: Callum Smith (WBA super and WBC), Avni Yildirim, Billy Joe Saunders (WBO) and now Plant (IBF). To be honest though, Canelo was the heavy favorite to defeat one and all of these fighters well before he slide through the ropes into the ring. Even though Plant was assumed to give Alvarez problems early, common perception saw him fading badly during the second half of the contest and ultimately this is exactly what happened.
Understandably the loss, the first of his professional career, has come as a devastating blow to Sweethands Plant. The Nashville native was aiming to stage the fourth defense of his IBF title that he claimed after defeating Jose Uzcategui on January 13, 2019. Obviously, this is a difficult time for the former world champion but it is far from the end of the road. Given the success that he enjoyed during the first half of the fight, Plant certainly did not lose any respect. Going a step further, provided that Canelo does not face him, Sweethands technically still has a major fight with David Benavidez to make. Provided they do fight, and Plant wins, he would be right back in the mix of things. Granted, those are some grand assumptions!
While nothing overly exciting happened, Caleb Plant controlled the first round with his movement and jab. More than looking to do damage, Sweethands established distance with his feet and feints. For his part, Canelo stalked for the greater majority of the round and only threw punches when Plant willingly drifted to the ropes. The redhead emerged a whole new animal for the second. Rather than playing pacifist, he took the fight to Plant, launching punches with regularity. Plant was able to block a good measure of the incoming fire, but there were ample shots that got through.
After a competitive third, Plant had a big fourth round. It was notable not so much for any particular hard shots, but he was unquestionably the ring general. He landed by far more punches, frustrated Canelo and largely silenced the pro-Alvarez crowd. Sweethands seemed to make a point of lingering in the pocket for longer than most expected. The unified champion had more success in the sixth, but nothing that left any marks or greatly changed the dynamics of things.
Over the next two periods, the Nashville native gave up a significant amount of momentum by throwing so few punches. On the one hand, his fancy footwork was worrying holes in Canelo’s head, but he was not working off it well, offensively speaking. Plant didn’t appear to be especially tired, he was simply too fixated with counterpunching. It was a trend that was certainly doing him no favors on the scorecards.
LATE FIGHT BLUES
The tenth round was almost a three minute session of ‘you hit me then I hit you.’ The two tiring fighters traded shots center-ring the greater bulk of the round. Yet the snap on both their punches were generally absent. Then, in a sudden shift, Canelo rocked and dropped Plant with a neck-popping left hook. It was a punch he’d been cranking the entire fight, but this time it connected true. Sweethands made it to his feet but he stumbled walked across the ring like a drunk violently ejected out the entrance door by security.
With his man greatly impaired, the redhead pounced on him and crushed Plant back to the canvas with a pair of chopping rights that landed directly on the ear. Caleb Plant now flat on his back, referee Russell Mora called a halt to the action. In the moments directly after the bout, the two fighters embraced and spoke for nearly a minute. Despite a cantankerous fight buildup, it would appear that the respect earned in the ring has dissolved their feud. And with the impressive win, Canelo Alvarez is the first undisputed super middleweight champion in history.
By: Bakari Simpson