A look back at five of the biggest wins for the pound for pound king and unified world super middleweight champion as he prepares to face undefeated IBF World Super Middleweight Champ Caleb Plant in a battle for the undisputed crown on Saturday, November 6, at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, live on SHOWTIME PPV.
The boxing world has literally watched Saul “Canelo” Alvarez grow up before its eyes. He was once a freckled, red-haired teenager gradually building his way towards prominence on little club shows in his native Guadalajara, Mexico.
Sometimes, he fought as much as eight times a year. His skills sharpened. His confidence grew. He was 15 years old fighting—and beating—grown men. Slowly, Alvarez rose up and began fighting in the United States and his career arc upward began to soar.
It’s difficult to find a consensus on anything in boxing. Though right at this time in boxing, there’s no doubt across any platform that Canelo Alvarez is the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter.
On Saturday, November 6, Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) will be hunting history by putting his WBC/WBO/WBA World Super Middleweight titles on the line against undefeated IBF World Super Middleweight Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, live on PBC on SHOWTIME pay-per-view.
Both Alvarez are Plant will be looking to strengthen their legacies as the first undisputed super middleweight champion in the four-belt era.
Alvarez has not lost a fight in eight years, carrying a 15-fight unbeaten streak into the 168-pound showdown, while Plant has never lost.
“The goal in the beginning of this year was to win all of the super middleweight belts and right now, Caleb Plant stands in my way,” Alvarez said. “My biggest goal since December (2020) was to make history this year in becoming the first undisputed Mexican super middleweight champion.
“I have a job to do and no one is going to stand in my way from me doing it.”
Plant, 29, is from Ashland City, Tennessee, while Alvarez, 31, maintains his residence in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Alvarez has beaten eight undefeated fighters in his career going back to his pro debut and it’s significant because five of the eight have come in the last five years—against undefeated fighters in their prime—like Plant.
Here is a look at five victories that have defined the career of future Hall of Famer Canelo Alvarez.
5 AUSTIN TROUT
Date: April 20, 2013
Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
At stake: Alvarez’s WBC super welterweight title, Trout’s WBA super welterweight title
Records at the time: Alvarez 41-0-1, (30 KOs), Trout 26-0, (14 KOs)
Result: Alvarez UD (118-109, 115-112, 116-111)
Significance: This was supposed to be among Alvarez’s earliest tests. He was 21 years old and entered the fight wanting to avenge his brother, Rigoberto, who lost the WBA title to Trout in February 2011 in Guadalajara. Alvarez wound up knocking down Trout for the first time in his career in the seventh round. The fight provided great growth for Alvarez, who had to deal with Trout’s tricky southpaw style.
“My brother was a big motivation for this,” Alvarez said. “I did this for him. He beat my brother, and that's my blood.”
Trout came away surprised, saying, “(Alvarez) shocked us. I was prepared for a different fighter. I tried to pressure the action and change things up, but he kept changing.”
4 CALLUM SMITH
Date: December 19, 2020
Location: Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas
At stake: Smith’s WBA super middleweight title, vacant WBC super middleweight title
Records at the time: Alvarez 53-1-2 (36 KOs), Smith 27-0 (19 KOs)
Result: Alvarez UD (117-111, 119-109, 119-109)
Significance: This was the first leg of Alvarez’s trifecta quest to become the undisputed super middleweight world champion. Alvarez, who completed the brothers sweep by beating Callum’s older brother Liam Smith when he was a junior middleweight in 2016, thoroughly dominated the 6-foot-3 Callum, who had a seven-inch height advantage over the 5-foot-8 Alvarez and an eight-inch reach advantage. It didn’t matter. To Callum, it seemed as if Alvarez had eight arms and 10 hands. Smith, who relinquished the WBA belt and was fighting for the vacant WBC title, was completely baffled.
“He’s smart. He’s clever. He sets you little traps and keeps you thinking,” he said of Alvarez. “Before you know it, he's closing the ground. He's a good fighter. His jab was really good. It surprised me a little bit. His defense was really good.”
3 MIGUEL COTTO
Date: November 21, 2015
Location: Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino Events Center, Las Vegas, Nevada
At stake: Vacant WBC middleweight title
Records at the time: Alvarez 45-1-1 (32 KOs), Cotto 40-4 (33 KOs)
Result: Alvarez UD (118-110, 117-111, 119-109)
Significance: Future Hall of Famer Cotto was 35 and on the downside of his career. But he was still a respected force to Alvarez, who was 25. This was the classic case of young lion against old lion. Alvarez’s star was rising, while Cotto would not fight again for two more years and ended his illustrious career in 2017. Alvarez, feeling highly confident, stalked Cotto and towards the latter rounds cornered and punished the Puerto Rican legend. That proved to be the difference. Alvarez became WBC middleweight champion and let the world know they better pay attention.
“Much respect to Miguel Cotto,” Alvarez said afterward. “I will always respect him and he’s a great champion, but now it’s my era.”
2 SERGEY KOVALEV
Date: November 2, 2019
Location: MGM Grand, Grand Garden Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
At stake: Kovalev’s WBO light heavyweight title
Records at the time: Alvarez 52-1-2 (35 KOs), Kovalev 34-3-1 (29 KOs)
Result: Alvarez TKO 11 (2:15)
Significance: Alvarez, then 29, made history by jumping 15 pounds to become the 25th four-division champion in boxing history, dispensing Kovalev in the 11th round to win the WBO 175-pound belt. Kovalev tried to work behind a good jab early on, but Canelo began burrowing in and landing blunt body shots on the 36-year-old Russian. Alvarez gradually wore Kovalev down and plowed a left hook to Kovalev’s jaw in the 11th. The punch staggered Kovalev. Smelling blood, Alvarez closed in and tagged Kovalev with a right to the chin, ending it at 2:15 of the round.
“It was a very close fight because he was defensive, he was closing up his guard,” Alvarez said. “All he was doing was trying to establish points, but we knew what was coming. Inevitably it would come, and everything came out the way we had planned.”
1 GENNADIY GOLOVKIN
Date: September 15, 2018
Location: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas, Nevada
At stake: Golovkin’s WBC/WBC middleweight titles
Records at the time: Alvarez 49-1-2 (34 KOs), Golovkin 38-0-1 (34 KOs)
Result: Alvarez MD (115-113, 115-113,114-114
Significance: Golovkin and Alvarez had been circling each other like rabid dogs since their September 2017 draw. Many boxing pundits thought Golovkin won their first fight, which really irked Alvarez. Canelo boxed more in their first encounter while Golovkin stalked. Those roles were reversed. Canelo got off to a strong start, bruising Golovkin’s face and ribs with thudding shots. The action see-sawed down the street but the pride of Jalisco closed strong to capture a majority decision and cement himself as the best middleweight.
“I showed my victory with facts. He was the one who was backing up,” Alvarez said. “I feel satisfied because I gave a great fight. It was a clear victory.”
For a closer look at Canelo vs Plant, check out our fight night page.
- Canelo vs Plant