Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez finally shattered Caleb Plant’s spirited resistance with a brutal assault in the 11th round to become the undisputed super-middleweight king.
The Mexican star had struggled to pin down Plant, who was finally floored by a big left hook, and Canelo then sent his rival champion toppling back to the canvas to unify the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF titles.
Stabbing out a stiff jab, Plant quickly displayed his hand speed in the opening round as Canelo stalked forward and patiently probed for openings.
Canelo sunk in body shots as he edged into range in the second round, but Plant replied with sharp counter punches.
Plant remained elusive in the third, pumping out jabs while circling on the back foot, although he briefly slowed after Canelo rattled his ribs with hurtful shots in the fourth.
A crisp right hand from Plant clipped Canelo, who answered with more ferocity, thudding in hooks in the fifth.
Canelo was gradually intensifying his assault, whipping in spiteful hooks in the sixth, but Plant prodded him with precise jabs when he was offered some respite in the seventh.
Signs of frustration were creeping into Canelo, despite the occasional crunching hook in the eighth, and Plant unloaded a fizzing flurry in the ninth.
But Canelo showed his savage intent with stinging body shots in the 10th and finally broke Plant’s resistance in the 11th.
A huge left hook sent Plant toppling onto the canvas and Canelo sensed his moment to strike, blasting his opponent back down into the ropes and the referee quickly signalled the destructive finish.