Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez put on a dominant performance to defeat Jermell Charlo by unanimous decision in Las Vegas.
Judges scored the fight 119-108, 118-109, 118-109 in favour of the Mexican who held on to his undisputed super middleweight title.
Alvarez was in control of the fight from the start, pressing Charlo against the ropes and unleashing body shots on the American.
Alvarez, 33, scored the only knockdown of the fight in the seventh round with an overhand right and an uppercut.
It was just the second time in his career Charlo had been knocked down, but he was quick to get back to his feet.
Alvarez continued to dominate and while failing to get the knockout blow, came away with a statement victory.
“Nobody can beat this Canelo,” Alvarez said.
Charlo, who had not fought since May last year and jumped up two weight classes for this fight, landed some solid punches but offered nothing that could stop his opponent.
The win improved Alvarez’s record to 60-2-2 as he successfully defended his world titles for the second time this year, having defeated Britain’s John Ryder on May 6 in Mexico.
“I wasn’t disappointed not to get the knockout," Alvarez said. “I feel great. That’s why we fight 12 rounds. If I don’t get the knockout, I get 12 rounds to show I’m the best, that I’m the better fighter. That’s why it’s 12 rounds, to show who’s better.”
Who he fights next is uncertain.
WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman has declared David Benavidez will be his mandatory challenger for the super middleweight belt.
But Alvarez has not committed to facing Benavidez, a 26-year-old who is 27-0 with all but four wins by knockout. If Alvarez turns down Benavidez, the WBC likely would vacate his championship.
When asked after the fight about his future plans, Alvarez said, “Cinco de Mayo against whoever. I don’t care.”
Even though Charlo (35-2-1) was the one moving up, he is 4 inches taller than the 5-foot-8 Alvarez and with a 2 1/2-inch reach advantage. That didn't matter as Alvarez promised before the fight, saying his experience would prevail.
“I just felt like I wasn’t me in there," Charlo said. “I don’t make excuses for myself, so it is what it is. I take my punches and roll with it.”
Now Charlo is ready to step back, saying he would love to take on 40-0 Terence Crawford, the reigning welterweight and super welterweight champion.
“I’ll move back to 154 [pounds],” Charlo said. “This morning, I weighed like 172 or 173 pounds. I’ll grandfather myself into this. I’m proud of myself. He didn’t knock me out. He knocked all them other guys out. He hit me with some hard shots. I thought I got mine off.”