Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez says Caleb Plant earned his respect after he settled their heated feud with a crushing knockout to become undisputed world champion.
The Mexican star had brawled with Plant at a press conference, but Canelo had the final word in their dispute as he demolished the American in the 11th round to unify the WBC, WBA, WBO and IBF super-middleweight titles in Las Vegas.
Plant had put up spirited resistance, frustrating Canelo with his speed and movement, and he received recognition from the four-weight king.
“Definitely my respect for Caleb Plant, he’s a very difficult fighter, he had a lot of ability,” said Canelo.
“I do respect the fighter.
“He wanted to still fight me, he wanted to still continue. I told him, ‘There’s no shame, we had a great fight today.’
“He did say sorry, that he didn’t mean it that way. Everything is okay.”
A left hook sent Plant wilting to the canvas before Canelo finished the fight with a brutal assault.
“He was making it a little difficult, but [trainer] Eddy [Reynoso] told me to stick with the game-plan, the last two rounds, and at the end I got him,” said Canelo.
“That’s the way it had to finish. He was already very hurt.”
Canelo is only the sixth champion and the first from Mexico to hold every title in the four-belt era.
“It hasn’t been easy to get to this point, but with your support, my family, my team, we’ve got really far,” he said.
“This is for everybody, especially for Mexico. It’s another win for our team, but we did it tonight.
“There are only six. It keeps me happy, very motivated to be one of the six undisputed champions of the world.”
A return to light-heavyweight, where Canelo previously held the WBO belt was suggested, but the 31-year-old is yet to consider his next move.
“We don’t know,” he said. “We’re going to rest. We need the rest.”