Canelo Álvarez vs. Caleb Plant: Personal and Professional

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Bad blood between two of the world's best means a classic night of action when Canelo Álvarez and Caleb Plant meet for the undisputed super middleweight crown Saturday night on SHOWTIME pay-per-view.

This Saturday, November 6, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, consensus No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter and WBA/WBC/WBO World Super Middleweight Champion Saul “Canelo” Álvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) faces undefeated IBF World Super Middleweight Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) in a historic battle to crown boxing’s first ever four-belt unified 168-pound champion.

The Premier Boxing Champions on SHOWTIME pay-per-view event (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) will feature former two-time world champion Anthony Dirrell against the upset-minded Marcos Hernandez in a 10-round super middleweight clash. Also on the card, undefeated former world champion Rey Vargas takes on Leonardo Baez in a 10-round, 122-pound contest and Elvis Rodriguez meets unbeaten Juan Pablo Romero in a 10-round 140-pound bout.

The Story

Canelo Álvarez’s focus is on legacy and, specifically, earning recognition as the greatest boxer ever in the storied history of Mexican boxing. 

Some will argue that he’s already achieved that goal with world titles at super welterweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight, as well as victories over names such as Miguel Cotto, Shane Mosley, Erislandy Lara, Gennadiy Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, Sergey Kovalev, and Billy Joe Saunders.

Becoming the first to truly unify the super middleweight division would be yet another feat in the career of the 31-year-old mega-star. 

The fact that this fight with Plant has become personal, with legitimate bad blood shaping the narrative—as evidenced by their physical altercation in the promotion’s first face-to-face presser—is just an added element to the mix.

Caleb Plant has gotten to the top of his profession despite a myriad of obstacles and potential setbacks placed before him.

Growing up in extreme poverty in his native Nashville, Tennessee, Plant worked his way to a successful amateur career and then recognition as a top young pro in the game. 

In 2015, Plant’s 19-month old daughter Alia, who suffered from a rare medical condition, passed away. For most, the tragic loss would’ve destroyed their focus and derailed a rising career. In Plant, however, the tragedy fueled his resolve and inspired him to win his first world title belt.

But even after beating Jose Uzcategui for the IBF world title in 2019, the tough times weren’t behind him. His mother, Beth, would be shot and killed in an altercation with police just two months after the victory. 

Plant has persevered through the hardships and obstacles to reach this opportunity of a lifetime and is one win away from attaining a level of success nobody, but him, imagined possible.

The Stakes

The winner of this high-stakes battle will hold the distinction of being the sport’s first-ever fully unified, four-belt super middleweight world champion.

For Álvarez, this would be yet another legacy-defining achievement in his quest for legend status.

For Plant, a win not only brings next-level stardom, it represents the ultimate reward after a lifetime of hardship and hard work.

The Matchup

Sporting an almost superhuman work ethic and hunger for achievement, Álvarez has become one of the most well-rounded fighters in the game. 

The Guadalajara native employs a controlled forward march while, simultaneously, parrying punches with his gloves and using smart head movement. The combination of well-honed aggression and tight, stifling defense makes him a nightmare of an opponent, one who discourages opposition and gradually breaks them down, mentally and physically, with pressure and thudding shots to the head and body.

To make matters worse for opponents, Álvarez is a brutally adept finisher who is patient in pursuit of doing damage and, ultimately, closing the show.

I hope he has a good chin because he’s going to need it. Unified WBA/WBC/WBO World Super Middleweight Champion - Canelo Álvarez

Plant is a boxer by nature with quick hands, good reflexes, and a high ring IQ. He mixes his punches to the head and body well and throws fluid, quick, accurate combinations, most often set up by a sharp jab. Always in control and conscious of maintaining proper distance, Plant uses angles and timing to keep opposition perpetually off-kilter and reacting rather than acting. 

The fact that he hasn’t lost a single round on any judges’ scorecards since his title-winning effort in January 2019 is a testament to his efficiency as a fighter.

On defense, the 29-year-old has sharp reflexes and intuitive timing with good head movement and a gift for pivoting his way out of trouble.

The Words

Canelo Álvarez

“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."

Caleb Plant

“There have been some guys who lost before the bell even rang against Canelo. 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. Anyone who knows me, they know I’m only here for those belts.”

The Breakdown

Álvarez will enter this fight as the betting favorite, and there’s good reason for that. The Mexican’s body of work is significantly deeper than Plant’s and he has earned his place atop boxing’s pound-for-pound rankings. 

But none of this necessarily negates the underdog’s ability to get some things done against him and, possibly, pull off the upset. 

Everything that Plant does well is something that, historically, has offset Álvarez’s strengths. When Canelo has struggled, it’s generally because of an opponent’s movement, angles, timing, hand speed, outside game, or just general craftiness. Plant ticks off all of those boxes while also bringing strength of character, self-belief, and a gigantic chip on his shoulder to the contest.

Having said all of that, though, Álvarez is still Álvarez. His skill and tenacity, tempered with maturity and patience, make him the beyond-formidable foe that he is—one who revels in snacking on the will and resolve of high-end opposition. 

Canelo will push to break Plant on Saturday night while Plant will do what he does best to nullify and pick Canelo apart. The bad blood between the two will add an extra degree of intrigue.

Canelo vs. Plant is a bonafide thriller with history on the line, four belts up for grabs, and a definite “this is personal” vibe driving it all. 

For a closer look at Canelo vs Plant, check out our fight night page. 

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