WBA middleweight/super middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs) successfully moved up two weight classes to dethrone WBO light heavyweight world champion Sergey “Krusher” Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) via eleventh round stoppage on Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The victory meant that Canelo would follow in the footsteps of the likes of Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns and Mike McCallum into the record books of winning a junior middleweight on route to capturing a title at light heavyweight.
He came into the bout weighing a career high 174-Pounds which in reality never looked to have an effect on his speed or power.
Kovalev on the other hand was looking to keep his title, knowing that to do so he would need to keep the fight long, using a constant jab mixed with sporadic body punching to offset the offence of the Mexican.
It was successful at points but nothing substantial was ever able to deter Canelo from closing the gap to land his famed hooks.
“The plan overall was patience, that was basically it — to have patience,” Alvarez said. “We knew it was going to be five, six rounds, and it was going to take some time for me to get him. But honestly, he’s a great fighter. I’m new at this weight, new in this division. Much credit to him. He’s a great fighter, but we stuck to our game plan. It was delayed a little bit, but overall, it was successful.
At the midway point although not evident, Kovalev confessed to tiredness setting in saying afterwards “I was tired after Round 6 because I had my last fight very close to this one, But it’s OK. It’s a new experience for me. Canelo is really a great champion. I didn’t recover from my last fight. But it’s OK”
In the latter stages. Kovalev continued to throw out the constant jab but Canelo was closing the gap quicker, slipping inside the shots to land a devastating hook followed by the right hand to stager and drop Kovalev to his knees, the referee immediately waved his hands indicating the end of the contest in that fateful eleventh.
At the time of the stoppage, scores were 96-94 2x for Canelo, 95-95.
“It was a very close fight because he was defensive, he was closing up his guard. All he was doing was try to establish points, but we knew what was coming. Inevitably it would come, and everything came out the way we had planned.”
“I’m very thankful,” Alvarez said through an interpreter. “This is just a step in my career, in my history, and all I ask of you is to be patient because Canelo will make history. That’s a guarantee.