Canelo scores 9th round KO over Smith to capture WBO light middleweight title
Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez (48-1-1, 34 KOs) dethroned WBO light middleweight champion Liam Smith (23-1-1, 13 KOs) by a 9th round knockout on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Canelo, who previously won world titles at light middleweight and middleweight, knocked down the Briton three times in the fight, once in the 7th, 8th and 9th rounds, on the way to capturing another 154-pound world title.
Canelo dominated the opening round, landing hard jabs and body shots. Smith came back with some shots of his own in the second and even marked up Canelo above his left eye, but the Mexican continued to connect with the more powerful combinations and opened two cuts above Smith's right eye.
A barrage of punches sent Smith to the canvas for the first time in his career in the seventh. It was a right uppercut followed by a left to the body and a right to the side of the head that floored the Liverpudlian midway through the round. But Smith soon got back up and battled back.
However, Canelo dropped him for the second time late in the eighth with a solid left to the body. Smith got through the round but he was getting beat up and it looked like only a matter of time before Canelo would get the knockout, and it came in the following round.
A brutal left hook to the body dropped Smith to the canvas in agony and referee Luis Pabon waved off the fight at 2:28 of the round.
"I told you I was going to give you a great fight and bring you the championship, and here it is," said Canelo. "I started controlling him, but in the second round I hurt my hand. I hurt my right hand, so I had to use my left more often.
"Liam Smith was a resilient fighter. He was tough, has a lot of heart.
"The body shot was what I focused on, making sure I worked his body down, and that is what secured the victory."
Canelo is scheduled to fight in December, likely at 160 pounds for the first time as he prepares for an eventual fight with WBA/WBC/IBF middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin, possibly in September 2017.
"I fear no one. I was born for this, and even though many people may not like it, I am the best fighter right now," said Canelo.