Mexican pound for pound champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez ended the longest layoff of his career on Saturday, capturing two world super middleweight titles by beating previously undefeated Callum Smith with a unanimous decision in Texas.
Three division champion Alvarez claimed the vacant WBC title and Smith’s WBA version of the 168-pound belt, overcoming a stark height difference as he moved up in weight class for the fight in front of a pandemic-limited crowd at the Alamodome in San Antonio.
Alvarez improved to 54-1-2 with 36 knockouts, while Smith suffered the first defeat of his pro career and dropped to 27-1, 19 knockouts.
Saturday’s victory rekindles the possibility of a third fight between Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin, who lost to Alvarez in a controversial majority decision in Las Vegas in 2018.
The 30-year-old Alvarez showed he is one of the smartest fighters in the sport, adjusting on the fly and managing to get inside the long reach of Smith to attack the body and head.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, that has killed 315,000 people across the US in the past 11 months, organizers were forced to limit the crowd size but they still managed to get a permit to allow 12,000 people into the 32,000 seat venue.
They saw Alvarez land every punch in his arsenal during the glorified sparring session with Smith whose busted up face and blood spattered white trunks told the story.
Alvarez’s best punch was the right uppercut and he threw it with authority, imposing his will and almost knocking Smith out in the ninth round when the ropes appeared to be the only thing holding him up.
All three judges gave the fight to Alvarez with two scoring it 119-109 and the third 117-111.