LAS VEGAS – Canelo Alvarez completed his busiest run Saturday night since he attained star status in the boxing business nearly a decade ago.
His 11th-round knockout of Caleb Plant was Alvarez’s fourth fight in less than 11 months, a highly unusual rate of activity for an elite-level boxer who makes enormous purses. Now that he has completed his mission by becoming boxing’s first undisputed super middleweight champion, though, Alvarez will take a lengthier break before he fights for the first time in 2022.
When asked during his post-fight press conference about his return to the ring, Alvarez replied, “In May because my body needs rest. I need to rest. I need to recover. So, it’s probably gonna be May when I come back.”
The 31-year-old Alvarez hadn’t boxed in 13½ months before he soundly defeated England’s Callum Smith (28-1, 20 KOs) on points to win the WBA and WBC 168-pound championships last December 19 at Alamodome in San Antonio. Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) returned just 10 weeks later to obliterate overmatched Turkish contender Avni Yildirim (23-4, 13 KOs), a mandatory WBC challenger who lost by technical knockout after three rounds to Alvarez on February 27 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida.
Only 10 weeks elapsed again before the four-division champion competed for the third time in less than five months. In that bout, Alvarez stopped another unbeaten Brit, Billy Joe Saunders (30-1, 14 KOs), after eight rounds May 8 at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The Guadalajara native wanted to face Plant on September 18, but negotiations broke down over the summer. They eventually settled on fighting for their four super middleweight titles Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Alvarez was ahead on all three scorecards – 98-92, 97-93 and 96-94 – when he dropped Plant twice early in the 11th round. Referee Russell Mora stopped their fight 1:05 into the 11th round after Alvarez viciously sent Plant to the canvas with a left-right-left combination.
The 29-year-old Plant, of Ashland City, Tennessee, lost for the first time in eight years as a pro (21-1, 12 KOs).
Alvarez didn’t even hint late Saturday night at who he will consider fighting next. He was more interested, and understandably so, in celebrating his achievement and spending time with his family.
“The wear and tear really is during the training sessions, trying to make weight,” Alvarez said. “That’s when you feel really the tiredness of it all. But right now, if I have to tell you, I feel a hundred percent. My body is responding splendidly. And all I need now is some rest until May, and then we will go on to the next challenge.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.