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Canelo Alvarez defends belt, stops Lopez in 5th

Canelo Alvarez, right, of Mexico, punches Josesito Lopez during a WBC super welterweight championship boxing match on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Las Vegas.
Canelo Alvarez, right, of Mexico, punches Josesito Lopez during a WBC super welterweight championship boxing match on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2012, in Las Vegas.
Isaac Brekken, Associated Press

LAS VEGAS — Saul "Canelo" Alvarez stopped Josesito Lopez late in the fifth round Saturday night, defending his WBC 154-pound title with a relentless display of power by the 22-year-old Mexican champion.

Alvarez (41-0-1, 30 KOs) ended Lopez's dreams of a second upset victory this year by knocking down his 12-to-1 underdog opponent in the second, third and fourth rounds. Another series of relentless combinations finally forced referee Joe Cortez to step in, sending Alvarez to his 37th consecutive victory.

Lopez (30-5) earned this unlikely title shot by knocking off Victor Ortiz in June, but the Riverside, Calif., native was simply outclassed by one of boxing's most dynamic young champions.

Alvarez dropped Lopez with body shots in the second and third rounds while also absorbing everything Lopez could throw at him with barely a flinch. Alvarez knocked down Lopez with another combination with 15 seconds left in the fourth.