Saul “Canelo” Álvarez unanimously outpointed previously undefeated Callum Smith to win the WBA and Ring super-middleweight championships and vacant WBC super-middleweight title Saturday night at the Alamodome.

Álvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs) dominated his only bout this year, repeatedly hitting Smith (27-1, 19 KOs) with straight rights and right hooks to the head over 12 rounds.

Two judges scored the bout 119-109 and the third had it 117-111.

At 5ft 8in, Álvarez was the aggressor against the 6ft 3in Smith. Álvarez previously knocked out Callum’s older brother, Liam, on 17 September 2016, at AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Many speculated Callum wanted revenge for the ninth-round knockout, but Álvarez dominated the younger Smith as well.

Speaking after the fight, Álvarez told DAZN: “My respects for Callum Smith, but as everyone labels me I’m the best in the world and it’s for something. This is one of the best nights for me, I have conquered the unified titles. One of the greatest nights I’ve had and I will go for more.”

In a message for Gennady Golovkin, who he beat in 2018, he said: “My short-term goal is to unify all titles at 168 pounds. Whoever’s there, let’s go get them.”

Smith said: “I’m devastated. Listen, I never wanted to lose, I came here to win. It wasn’t my night. I don’t feel as dominant at 168 as I used to be. It could have been a better version of me tonight … he performed and was the better man.”

Álvarez and Smith were fighting for the first time this year due to the restrictions brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and the ring rust was evident in the first five rounds. It took nearly a minute before the first punch of the bout was thrown, a lunging right by Álvarez. Punches were sparse and the exchanges were brief in the opening round as both fighters shadowed each other.

Álvarez pressed the action in the opening seconds of the second round, forcing Smith to respond with rights to the head to keep Álvarez from continually stepping forward.

Smith jabbed with his left hand more in the third round, occasionally attempting a right uppercut that continually failed to land.

Álvarez landed a series of straight rights and right hooks to the head early in the fourth round that seemed to faze Smith. Álvarez had his most effective combination, landing a left hook to the side of the head, a straight right to the nose and another left hook that delighted the heavily partisan crowd.

Álvarez continued to effectively lunge and dig a right hand to the face between Smith’s gloves in the fifth round. Smith followed up a lunging blow to the stomach to set up a right hook that seemed to shake Álvarez. Smith landed a second right hook following that exchange.

After a rather uneventful sixth round, Álvarez landed a hard right uppercut that snapped Smith’s head back. Álvarez attempted to follow with another uppercut, but Smith sidestepped the attempt and missed an uppercut of his own.

Álvarez landed 60% of his power punches through seven rounds compared to just 20% by Smith.

Álvarez stuffed another hard right uppercut into Smith with about a minute left in the eighth round.

Smith fell back against the ropes following a heavy right hook to the head with about one and a half minutes left in the ninth round.

Álvarez continued to pound Smith to the head in the final rounds, turning Smith’s face bright red from the repeated blows.

Following the victory, Álvarez said he would welcome a third bout against Gennady Golovkin. The two boxers fought to a draw in their initial encounter and Álvarez won the second bout.

Marc Castro won his pro debut on the undercard, securing a third-round knockout against Luis Javier Valdes (7-6-1) with a flurry of punches to the head and body. Castro, who won consecutive youth and junior world championships as an amateur, had two previously scheduled bouts canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Also on the undercard, Frank Sanchez 17-0 (13 KO’) retained his WBO-NABO heavyweight title by knocking out Julian Fernandez (14-3) in the seventh round with a pair of stiff straight right hands to the head. Sanchez tumbled out of the ring between the bottom two ropes, suffering his second straight knockout loss following three straight wins.