Mexico’s Saúl “Canelo” Álvarez claimed the WBO light heavyweight title by defeating Russian Sergei Kovalev by KO in the 11th round, achieving the feat of becoming a four-division champion after moving up two notches.
“Canelo,” who went from middleweight to light heavyweight for this fight, now has 53 wins, including 36 by KO, one loss and two draws. For his part, the 36-year-old Russian now has a 34-4-1 record, 29 KOs.
After a great weakening, long controlled by Kovalev thanks to his jab that allowed him to keep Alvarez at bay, “Canelo” finally found the gap in the middle of the eleventh inning.
A terrible left hook to the chin made the Russian falter and a powerful right hook brought the Russian to his knees.
He remained on his knees just because the rope was holding him up, it took him several minutes to regain his spirit, while “Canelo” received cheers from the spectators of an MGM Grand so far waddling.
After winning the WBC and WBO belts at super welterweight, WBC, WBA and IBF at middleweight and WBA at super middleweight, the boxer from Guadalajara adds the WBO light heavyweight to his record.
A remarkable performance for this only 29-year-old boxer, who started at age 15 among the pros.
Especially since he achieved what few could do before him, that is, beat a specialist in one category, such as Kovalev at light heavyweight, coming directly from two categories below.
The American Bernard Hopkins, who was present, did so in 2006, at the age of 40.
The last to have achieved this performance, with no title at stake, was the Filipino Manny Pacquaio, who had surpassed light welterweight and ended the career of American Oscar De La Hoya in 2008.
Two boxing legends who made history, as they are the only two who have been world champions in six different divisions.
“Canelo” now has four. But he was the first since Henry Armstrong in 1938 to be simultaneously in three divisions (middle, super middle, and middle heavy). As he had announced, he in turn enters the history of this sport.
The Russian had lost his World Boxing Association (WBA), International Boxing Federation (IBF) and WBO belts in back-to-back losses to American Andre Ward in 2016 and 2017, but regained part of the title by beating Colombian Eleider Álvarez in a rematch in February. AFP