Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez produced a near-flawless display to dismantle Callum Smith and take the British fighter's WBA world super-middleweight title on Sunday.
The Mexican ended the longest layoff of his career by brutally overpowering the previously unbeaten 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.
"I feel really proud to have this," Alvarez said. "I represent not only the boxing world but my country. I did a great job after a 13-month layoff. I am the best in the world."
Alvarez improved to 54-1-2 with 36 knockouts, while Smith suffered the first defeat of his pro career and dropped to 27-1, with 19 knockouts.
The victory rekindles the possibility of a third fight between Alvarez and Gennady "GGG" 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, adjusting to get inside the long reach of Smith to attack the body and head.
"I felt great at 168 pounds. This is one of the best nights for me," said Alvarez.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic organisers were forced to limit the crowd size but they still managed to get a permit to allow 15,000 people into the 32,000-seat venue.
They saw Alvarez land every punch in his arsenal during the glorified sparring session with Smith, whose blood-spattered white trunks told the story.
Alvarez's best punch was the right uppercut and he threw it with authority, imposing his will. His best round was the ninth when he almost knocked Smith down - the ropes the only thing holding the champ up.
All three judges gave almost every round to Alvarez with two scoring it 119-109 and the third 117-111.
"Since the first round I tried to see what he brings, his skills, whatever. But I showed what I am," Alvarez said
This was Alvarez's first fight since he jumped up to light-heavyweight to score an 11th round knockout of Sergey Kovalev in November 2019.
The last time Alvarez fought in the 168-pound division, he destroyed another Englishman, Rocky Fielding, with a third-round stoppage in December 2018.
Smith was hoping to avenge the defeat suffered by his elder brother, Liam Smith, against Alvarez in 2016. Liam was at his brother's side on Saturday to watch the fight.
Alvarez said that "GGG" Golovkin was now in his sights.
"I want all the belts," Alvarez said. "I don't run from nobody. I just showed I fight the best. If he (Golovkin) wants the fight I will take it."