By Ben Sullivan
Canelo Alvarez knocked out Sergey Kovalev in the 11th round in Las Vegas and became the new WBO light heavyweight champion.
It was the fourth division world title won by Alvarez, who showed crushing power while moving up two weight classes to the 175-pound division.
Kovalev kept things close with a steady diet of jabs that kept Alvarez at bay, and the pro-Alvarez crowd began to grow restless at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. But that ended decisively in the 11th round.
Alvarez caught Kovalev with a right to the head and moments later followed up with a left hook and another right. The final punch dropped Kovalev to the canvass — and almost through the ropes — with the referee waving off the fight at 2:15 of the 11th round.
“Canelo is a great champion,’’ Kovalev said after the fight.
The judges had the bout scored 96-94, 96-94 and 95-95 in Alvarez’s favor before he scored the knockout.
“The plan overall was patience,’’ he said. “That was basically it, to have patience. …We stuck to our game plan, basically. It was delayed a little bit, but overall it was successful.
“We knew it was coming. Inevitably it would come.’’
Alvarez, 29, improved to 53-1-2 with 36 knockouts and Kovalev, 36, fell to 34-4-1 with 29 knockouts.
After the right, Alvarez was non-committal about plans for his next fight, including the possibility of a third fight with Gennady Golovkin. The two fought to a draw in 2017 and Alvarez won the rematch by majority decision in 2018.