By Ponciano “John” Melo Jr.
LAS VEGAS, Nevada — Saul “Canelo” Alvarez etched his indelible name on boxing annals Sunday afternoon, Manila time as he became a four-division world champ, assuring fans to “be patient” and he’ll still be out to make history for years to come.
The 29-year-old Mexican boxing superstar, who surprised everyone when he abruptly jumped two weight classes to take on light heavyweight defending champion Sergey “The Krusher” Kovalev, took his sweet, sweet time in his date with destiny during their main event bout, producing a late knockout win in front of a teeming MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas.
“This is just another step in my career, in my history,” said Alvarez in Spanish after the fight which coincides with All Saint’s Day in his native Mexico.
“All I ask of you is to be patient because Canelo will make history. Canelo always comes through,” added the 29-year-old who is contemplating whether to keep at it at 175 or go down to 168 or 165 pounds.
At the 2:15 mark of the 11th round, Alvarez finally solved the Kovalev puzzle when a left hook pierced through the 36-year-old’s defense, wobbling him to set up the perfect right hand that hit flush on the chin of the Russian.
Alvarez (53-1-2, 36 KOs), now holds the World Boxing Organization light heavyweight belt alongside his unified middleweight and WBA (Regular) super middleweight belts, although being the smaller fighter and needing to gain 15 pounds for the marquee matchup.
It was all worth it for the fighter out of Guadalajara, Mexico though as he became only the 25th fighter to have four championship belts in as many divisions.
Kovalev (34-4-1, 29 KOs) on the other hand, despite sticking to his gameplan of maximizing his height and reach advantage with his much-improved jab, stayed cautious all fight long but failed to keep the Mexican dynamo at bay just for another round.
If by any consolation, Kovalev actually controlled the early parts of the fight, but after a flurry of punches and precise combinations from his younger opponent, the 6-foot Kovalev had Canelo yelling timber in the deciding 11th round.
"It was a very close fight because he was defensive, he was closing up his guard," Canelo, the fighter with boxing’s most expensive fight contract under DAZN, said in retrospect as he pointed out patience was the key for his victory.
"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,” he said in front of 12,646 screaming fans inside the packed venue.
“Canelo is a really great champion, he’s made history tonight,” said Kovalev, a former top 3 pound-for-pound fighter, in the post-fight interview.
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