Saul Canelo Alvarez knocked down Britain’s Rocky Fielding four times in three rounds to claim the WBA “regular” super middleweight title at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Alvarez, whose first professional title came at junior middleweight, went into his first fight at 168lbs as the favourite, despite the fact he was fighting 14-pounds and two divisions above where he first established himself.
The 28-year-old Mexican wasted no time in giving his opponent a taste of what was to come, bruising Fielding’s ribs with a huge body shot and sending him to the mat in the first round.
The 6ft 1in Liverpudlian recovered to get back on his feet, but the onslaught continued and he was knocked down again by another body shot in the second round.
A blow to the head sent 31-year-old Fielding to the floor for a third time in the third round, and it was when Alvarez’s relentless body shots sent Fielding crashing a fourth time that the referee decided he had seen enough.
Fielding, making a first defence of the title he won against Tyron Zeuge in July, managed to exchange some shots with his 5ft 9in opponent in the second round.
But he could not put his height advantage to good use and ultimately was outclassed by boxing’s highest-paid athlete.
Canelo's promoter, Oscar De La Hoya of Golden Boy Promotions, believes his boxer is now fully capable of competing against anyone at middleweight or super middleweight.
Canelo will return to the ring on Cinco De Mayo weekend in Las Vegas.
“Canelo fighting at 168 showed he can fight at either 168 or 160. We’ve already set aside the T-Mobile Arena for Cinco de Mayo in Las Vegas. We have no opponent whatsoever - zero. We’re not thinking of nobody," De La Hoya said.
"We’re going to enjoy the holidays and enjoy our families. After the holidays, as a team, we’ll collectively determine who Canelo is going to fight. Whether it’s 168 or 160, there are plenty of challenges out there for Canelo.”