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Canelo vs Plant preview: Boxing déjà vu all over again, Showtime PPV

Written By | Nov 6, 2021
Canelo Alvarez (left) and Caleb Plant exchange words during Friday's final faceoff. Photo: Amanda Wescott, Showtime Boxing Canelo vs Plantv

Canelo Alvarez (left) and Caleb Plant exchange words during Friday’s final faceoff. Photo: Amanda Wescott, Showtime Boxing

SAN DIEGO, Calif., November 5, 2021 – Full apologies if the rest of our preview of the super middleweight unification bout seems familiar. We expect Canelo vs Plant to look a lot like Canelo Saunders, or Smith, or Kovalev.

Due credit to the challenger, Nashville area native Caleb Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) for putting his record and reputation on the line against boxing’s top pound for pound fighter, Canelo Alvarez of Mexico (56-1-2, 38 KOs), Plant will be richly rewarded win or lose, but not all challengers are willing to take a chance on themselves.

Caleb Plant exhibits the confidence an underdog challenger needs. Will it be enough Saturday? Photo: Sean Michael Ham, TGB Promotions Canelo vs Plant

Caleb Plant exhibits the confidence an underdog challenger needs. Will it be enough Saturday? Photo: Sean Michael Ham, TGB Promotions

Plant projects all the confidence in the world. He’s been through many personal hardships and overcame crushing poverty. There isn’t much he fears. It’s put just enough doubt in the minds of experts and fans to wonder if a Buster Douglas or even Andy Ruiz Jr. style upset is possible.

“There have been some guys who lost before the bell even rang against Canelo,” said Plant. “I think that’s why he’s so irritated with me. Some guys just come in and are there to hand over their belt, get their check and leave.”

“I’m always ready. I just can’t wait. I feel strong and fast. With all of the talk, it’s become personal. He crossed a line. But I have to remain focused because this is a very important fight for me. I hope he has a good chin because he’s going to need it,” said Alvarez earlier in the week.

In Canelo vs Plant, the hate is real

Make no mistake, the hate between Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant is real. Photo: Amanda Wescott, Showtime Boxing

The animosity between the pair is real, starting with their first press conference. Taunts became blows. Alvarez got the better of it, dodging a punch and shoving Plant, causing a minor cut on his face. At the weigh-in, the pair engaged in a limited face-off, with promoter Tom Brown standing duty if things got out of hand. Thanks, Tom.




Both men made the super middleweight limit, Plant at 167 pounds and Alvarez at 168 pounds.

After, Plant told Showtime’s Jim Gray, “Saturday night, you got your first undisputed champion, and his name is Caleb Plant.” He turned to fans inside the MGM Grand Garden Arena and yelled, “Listos pelea chingones!”

Alvarez, flanked by famous former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson, was his customary calm self.

“I say,’ you will see tomorrow.’ It’s time. I don’t need to say anything. It’s time. He will feel something different, believe me. Like I say before, for every action, there’s a reaction,” said Alvarez.

Mike Tyson was on hand at Friday's weigh-in to show support for Canelo Alvarez. Photo: Amanda Wescott, Showtime Boxingv Canelo vs Plant

Mike Tyson was on hand at Friday’s weigh-in to show support for Canelo Alvarez. Photo: Amanda Wescott, Showtime Boxing

Like the equally confident Billy Joe Saunders, Plant’s resume can’t compare to Canelo’s sheet. His best win was against Jose Uzcategui; his most notable win was over Mike Lee on the Pacquiao vs Thurman undercard in 2019. During this time, Alvarez knocked out Saunders, Sergey Kovalev, Callum Smith, and Avni Yildirim, an acknowledged layup.

Caleb Plant is not especially heavy-handed.

He’s a slick performer who is agile in the ring. He relies on hand speed and work rate to roll up rounds on the scorecards. Saunders is an agile southpaw who can move with a busy jab. He’s an intelligent fighter with just enough power to have the potential of hurting an opponent. Armed with his confidence, Plant is convinced of his chances.

Confidence thrills, overconfidence kills

Canelo Alvarez has proven himself through masterful performances against a better resume of challengers. Photo: Sean Michael Ham, TGB Promotions

None of it will matter.  In a sport where confidence is a fighter’s most potent ally, Alvarez has unshakeable confidence in himself. Armed with his skills, experience, and brilliant game plans by trainer Eddy Reynoso Alvarez believes no one can beat him. Few would argue. While he is lower key about it than Muhammed Ali or Roy Jones Jr., he wears his confidence like his beautiful Dolce & Gabbana silk pajamas. It’s a look few can pull off, same as in the ring.

Alvarez is still enthusiastic about boxing

With a win Alvarez can achieve the goal of unification in the super middleweight division, something no fighter and no Mexican has ever accomplished. He holds the WBC, WBA, and WBO belt, the last of which he won from Saunders. The road goes through Plant’s IBF title to make it happen.



Can Plant win on Saturday? Yes, he can. Is it likely? No, it’s not. Uzcategui, Lee, and Caleb Truax are not Canelo. They are one-dimensional. They do not adjust in the ring to the elements. Plant’s best opportunity is to get busy with the jab from the opening bell, move and take advantage of Alvarez’s tendency to be a slow starter.

Plant needs to make himself hard to find, hard to hit, and offer few opportunities to counterpunch. Even still, going 12 rounds with Alvarez in Las Vegas is a dangerous approach. Just ask Gennadiy Golovkin, who arguably won at least one if not both fights in the minds of experts and fans against Canelo but lost on the cards. All close rounds will be scored for the champion.

Canelo Alvarez by the numbers

Hard left hooks to the body early in their fight set up the eventual eighth round stoppage. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing Canelo breaks record

Hard left hooks to the body of Billy Joe Saunders early in their fight set up the eventual eighth-round stoppage. Photo: Ed Mulholland, Matchroom Boxing

Alvarez is one of the best body punchers in boxing. He’s even more effective against taller fighters than he is – and Plant has a four-inch height advantage. Lee Groves of CompuBox ran the numbers and discussed them on the Inside Boxing Live podcast with host Dan Canobbio.

Groves found against his four opponents over six feet tall (Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. Kovalev, Rocky Fielding, and Callum Smith) Canelo Alvarez landed 41% of his total punches, taking only 18% in return. He landed 50% of his power shots, taking only 27% in return, even with a reach disadvantage.

In these four fights, he also landed 173 body shots. The taller men present a bigger target, and Alvarez takes full advantage of this. History will repeat itself.

To make matters worse for his opponents, Canelo likes to close the show with a bang, dealing out the damage until the referee or his corner saves even the bravest opponent. Assigned referee Russell Mora is often quick to jump in. On Saturday, he might be Plant’s only friend.

Expect Plant to get a few early rounds on the cards and fire up his fans on Boxing Twitter. But as he always does, Alvarez will patiently size up Plant, move in, pin him down and dish out the punishment he thinks Plant deserves. We call for a referee TKO stoppage in round ocho (as in eight). Alvarez can bag his final belt and decide where fortune takes him next.

Alvarez won’t be tested unless he faces a top light heavyweight, a powerhouse like Artur Beterbiev, or an elegant technician like Dmitry Bivol. A fight at super middleweight against Jermall Charlo or a scrap with David Benavidez in either division is also intriguing.

Our prediction: Canelo Alvarez by TKO 8

Come Saturday, Canelo Alvarez and trainer Eddy Reynoso will add the final belt to their super middleweight collection. Photo: Amanda Wescott, Showtime Boxing

Canelo Alvarez and trainer Eddy Reynoso will add the final belt to their super middleweight collection on Saturday. Photo: Amanda Wescott, Showtime Boxing

In the meantime, don’t let the lack of a challenge stop you from enjoying the performance of the greatest fighter of this generation, and by far the best Mexican fighter since his idol, Julio Cesar Chavez Sr. In a few years, Alvarez will retire and pursue a career as a professional golfer. Nope, we aren’t kidding.

The Showtime Pay Per View card starts at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. The cost is $80.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal is a veteran boxing observer covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Twitter @PRProSanDiego.

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

Copyright © 2021 by Falcon Valley Group

 

 

Gayle Falkenthal

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, MS, APR, is President of the Falcon Valley Group, a San Diego based communications consulting firm. Falkenthal is a veteran award-winning broadcast and print journalist, editor, producer, talk host and commentator. She is an instructor at National University in San Diego, and previously taught in the School of Journalism & Media Studies at San Diego State University.