Sporting the upper body and punching power of a light heavyweight, the hand speed of a welterweight and the precision of a diamond cutter, Canelo Alvarez wins Liam Smith's WBO super welterweight title by scoring knockdowns in rounds even (right to the ear), eight (left to the solar plexus) and nine (hook to the ribs), the last of which left Smith writhing on the canvas and prompting the stoppage.
Alvarez started fast in the first three (74-35 overall) but led by only 83-80 overall the rest of the way. Alvarez topped 50% power in the first five rounds and in six of the nine rounds, plus Smith suffered two separate cuts over the right eye, both of which gushed crimson. Smith was courageous but ultimately outgunned.
Liverpool's Liam Smith lost his WBO light-middleweight title when he was knocked out by Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in Texas on Saturday night.
Mexico's Alvarez claimed his 28-year-old opponent's crown in the ninth round at the AT&T Stadium, Smith failing to beat the count after being dumped to the canvas by a fierce body shot.
Smith was previously unbeaten and had won his last eight fights by knockout - but that record went with the the Briton's third defence of his title.
Alvarez looked the sharper of the two from the start and although Smith produced a tidy combination with his opponent on the ropes in the fifth, the Briton's prospects were not enhanced by a cut above his right eye.
Smith was in trouble in the second minute of the seventh round when he was dumped to the canvas by two right hooks from the Mexican - and the Briton finished the round on the back foot.
The contest ended two rounds later when Alvarez followed a left hook to the head with a crunching blow into Smith's ribs which sent the Briton to the canvas.
After the defeat, in front of a crowd of more than 51,000, a bloodied Smith said: 'My timing was just so off.'
The dejected Liverpudlian added: 'I was slow and had no timing to even make him think twice. He caught the body shots well. 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.”
“It took me a while to get in to it and my timing was awful. I couldn’t really land any punches."