September 19, 2016 at 12:01 am
HUGELY popular Mexican fighter Saul “Canelo” Alvarez scored a smashing ninth-round TKO over Britain’s Liam Smith to win the World Boxing Organization junior middleweight crown before a record-breaking crowd of 51,240 at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, Sunday morning (Manila time).
The crowd was bigger than the 50,944 fans who watched eight-division world champion Manny Pacquiao score a lopsided 12-round unanimous decision over Joshua Clottey in a defense of his WBO world welterweight title in 2010 and the 41,734, who returned to the venue to see the Pacman dismantle Antonio Margarito in a WBC super welterweight title showdown in 2012.
Regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world, the Mexican challenger dropped Smith in both the 7th and 8th rounds before nailing the British champion with a horrendous left to the body that sent Smith to the canvas in a crumpled heap in the ninth round.
A jubilant Alvarez jumped on the ropes in the corner and raised his hands in triumph as his fans showed their adulation.
With the impressive win, the 26-year-old Alvarez improved to 48-1-1 with 34 knockouts, while Smith, who had eight straight knockouts suffered his first loss to drop to 23-1-1.
In a post-fight interview, Smith conceded: “If I would have waited a little longer and gotten more experience I would have been able to fight a guy like that better. I am very disappointed. Canelo was too good today. I needed better timing, my timing was off tonight.”
Alvarez recalled “I started going after him, but in the second round I hurt my hand. I hurt my right hand and had to use the left more often. I felt he was very strong in the beginning, so I had to put the body work and felt he would dwindle, that’s how I did my job. I give big punches with my body shots, and I enjoyed it very much.”
Alvarez said “I fear no man. I am the best fighter in this. About a month ago, we offered GGG [Gennady Golovkin] three or four times as much to make the fight. We are ready for him and he doesn’t want to accept. I fight the best and I want to fight the best, I am the best at this sport and Viva La Mexico!”