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Why Canelo Alvarez should fight Benavidez or Golovkin in September, not Plant

Caleb Plant Canelo Alvarez David Benavidez Gennady Golovkin

By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez has a chance to give the boxing world a compelling fight when he returns to the ring in September by picking David Benavidez or Gennadiy Golovkin as his opponent instead of Caleb Plant.

WBA/WBC/WBO super middleweight champion Canelo says that he wants to fight IBF 168-lb champion Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) in September for the undisputed championship.

However, the fans have more interest in seeing Canelo fight Golvokin or Benavidez than they do Plant, a fighter with a fighting style similar to Billy Joe Saunders. Plant has no power to speak, and he stamina issues similar to Saunders as well.

In other words, Plant is perfect for Canelo, but not for the fans, who want to see the Mexican star to star fighting quality opposition once again.

It’s been three years since Canelo had his last real fight against an elite-level fighter in his rematch with Golovkin.

The fans collectively want to see Canelo (56-1-2, 38 KOs) take on his old nemesis Golovkin (41-1-1, 36 KOs) in a rubber match to decide the better two.

Thus far, Canelo and Goovkin are knotted up at 1-1 after two fights. Golovkin won the first fight between them in 2017 but was viewed as being robbed by the judges, shockingly scoring the match a 12 round draw.

Golovkin clearly was the winner by 8 rounds to 4 scores in the eyes of the boxing world.

Canelo chose to wait a year before giving Golovkin a rematch in 2018, and he won that fight by a controversial 12 round decision.

Many fans saw that fight as a draw due to Canelo gassing out after the sixth round and appearing to lose five of the last six rounds.

Benavidez is an excellent option for Canelo

“Caleb plant is on the mind of Canelo Alvarez, a full unification fight at 168 pounds,’ said Chris Mannix to ‘Jabs’ on DAZN. “If you could pick any opponent for Canelo to face right now, who would it be?”

Caleb Plant Canelo Alvarez David Benavidez Gennady Golovkin

“Look, Caleb Plant makes sense right now because Canelo is chasing history, he wants that last remaining belt, and he wants to be the first undisputed champ at 168,” said Sergio Mora.

“Caleb Plant makes sense for that reason, total sense. But who I would want him to fight at 168 is David Benavidez on Mexican independence week.

“He doesn’t have a belt, but he’s a former champion. He’s undefeated, so if you can take that zero way. He is of Mexican descent on Mexican independence weekend.

“It makes a lot of sense to me, and it’s a big fight. So Caleb plant or David Benavidez, I would be totally fine with.”

“I do think a Canelo-Benavidez fight could probably use a little more seasoning,’ said Mannix. “Benavidez lost his belt on the scales last year.

“Maybe he can go out and win a secondary title and get a couple of wins under his belt. Maybe in 2022, we could see a Canelo-Benavidez.”

The perception is already there that Canelo is afraid of Benavidez, as he didn’t fight him when he was the WBC 168-lb champion.

But as soon as Benavidez lost his WBC title on the scales last in 2020 when he failed to make weight for his title defense against Roamer Alexis Angulo, Canelo suddenly put his name in the hat to fight for the vacant WBC title against Callum Smith.

The logical question is, why did Canelo wait until Benavidez was no longer the WBC champ to fight for the belt? The answer is pretty obvious.

Benavidez is too good, which is why it’s not realistic to assume Canelo will choose him to fight in September. It’s for Canelo to pick the lowest-hanging fruit from the tree in Caleb Plant, who can’t punch and is a U.S version of finesse fighter Billy Joe Sanders.

Fighting the unbeaten former two-time WBC super middleweight champion Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs) makes all the sense in the world for Canelo for his September match.

Not only would Canelo be picking an opponent that would guarantee huge numbers, given that the fight is taking place on the Mexican Independence Day weekend, but he’d also be facing the guy that many boxing fans view as the true #1 in the division.

Fans don’t view Caleb Plant as the best or even the second-best fighter at 168. Plant is seen as a belt-holder/paper champion in the eyes of many boxing fans. The reason for that is simple.

Plant hasn’t fought anyone of note, and when he’s been called out by Benavidez, he’s chosen not to fight him.

Canelo vs. Golovkin 3 in September

“Canelo does say he’s going to stay at 168 after this year,” Mannix continued. “The fight that I actually want to see is Canelo-Golovkin 3.

Caleb Plant Canelo Alvarez David Benavidez Gennady Golovkin

“I still think there is real mainstream interest in that fight. The two fights between Canelo and Golovkin were incredibly close.

“The first fight was a draw. Most people, myself included, thought Golovkin won. Canelo earned the second win.

“So in the minds of many people, the third fight is really the rubber match. You can say that Golovkin is well past his prime. Canelo will dominate.

“Okay, let’s see it. Let’s see Canelo get a definite win against his long-time rival. This is his nemesis. This is his chief rival. Let’s see him go out and settle things once and for all against Gennadiy Golovkin.

“Gennadiy Golovkin has gone out and regained some of the momentum that he lost after his loss to Canelo. He’s won three fights in a row, albeit over two and a half years.

“But, I still think that I a fight that is still competitive and would draw a lot of eyeballs.

“If you ask boxing fans out there, the casual ones, which fights they still want to see, a fight between Canelo and Golovkin is still at the top of the list,” said Mannix.

There’s no question that there is still huge interest from the boxing public in a third Canelo vs. Golovkin clash.

You can argue that there’s no comparison between the interest fans have in seeing Canelo fight GGG over Caleb Plant, a Billy Joe Saunders type of finesse fighter.

Plant isn’t a popular fighter like Golovkin, and the reason for that is twofold: Caleb’s resume is virtually barren of quality from top to bottom.

Secondly, Plant can’t punch, and he wins his fights by out-boxing his opponents in dull jab-fests that are hard on the eyes.

While fighters like Floyd Mayweather Jr fought in the same dull way as Plant, but in his case, he had hand speed that made it interesting to watch.

Plant isn’t that fast. He has some speed, but mostly he wins his fights on his boxing skills and does not face anyone talented during his career.

David Benavidez has repeatedly called out Plant and gotten nowhere. Benavidez was interested in fighting Plant this year with the winner to face Canelo in September, but there was no interest.

Plant feels that Benavidez has nothing to offer him. Fans aren’t buying that excuse, though.

They think Plant is afraid of Benavidez, so he’s going to sit and wait for the Canelo fight in September rather than take a risky fight.

This is the guy that Canelo wants to fight, which tells you a lot about his mindset. You can argue that Canelo picked up a lot more from his fight with Mayweather in 2013 than just his skills.

Canelo has become similar to Mayweather in how he carefully picks his opponents, and we’ve seen that Canelo constantly’ fight with Rocky Fielding in 2018.

Canelo has stopped taking risks with his career and is now facing flawed fighters one after another.

Canelo’s opponents in the last three years:

  • Billy Joe Saunders  – weakest link at 168
  • Avni Yildirim – fighter coming off a loss and 2-year layoff
  • Sergey Kovalev – 36 and way past his prime
  • Daniel Jacobs – already beaten by Golovkin in 2017 and Dimitry Pirog
  • Rocky Fielding – knocked out in one round by Callum Smith in 2015
  • Callum Smith – coming off a highly controversial win over John Ryder in 2019 at the time Canelo fought him

Alvarez must face GGG in 2021

“I’m all for it. Let’s close this chapter on this trilogy,” said Mora in the third fight between Canelo and Golovkin.

“If you look at the history, the two toughest fights, physically tough [for Canelo], were with Golovkin. Golovkin has never been beaten by anyone else.

“[Sergiy] Derevyanchenko gave him a hell of a fight. He made him look vulnerable. He got hurt to the body, okay.

“But what did he [Golovkin] do afterward? He knocked out Kamil Szeremeta in a sensational fashion. He’s 39-years-old.

“If that fight [Canelo vs. GGG 3] doesn’t happen in September, it’s past its expiration date. At 39-years-old, I don’t think Golovkin has many more fights in him. So, yes, I’m all for the trilogy fight in September. Bring that fight on too.”

“You want Caleb Plant. I want Gennadiy Golovkin,” said Mannix. “I think the fight we won’t see anytime soon is Demetrius Andrade [vs. Canelo].”

I don’t think Mora realizes that Canelo is likely purposefully putting off the third fight with Golovkin to ensure that he ages more to the point where he’s less of a threat.

Many boxing fans believe this is really behind Canelo’s decision not to give GGG the third fight.

Alvarez knows full well that both DAZN and the boxing world have been asking for the trilogy match with Golovkin since 2018, and yet he’s chosen NOT to give it to them.

Rather than fight GGG a third time, Canelo has fought guys that the fans had no interest in seeing him fight.

We’re talking about Canelo fighting former Golovkin victim Daniel Jacobs and other poor fights against Avni Yildirim, Rocky Fielding, Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders, and a washed-up Sergey Kovalev.

When you look at the fact that Canelo is fighting opposition that would bring in fewer numbers than the third fight with Golovkin, it leaves you with one thought.

Is Canelo purposefully aging Golovkin?

Canelo is purposefully aging Golovkin. Interestingly, Canelo would purposefully choose not to give the fans and DAZN what they’re asking for.

That’s very hard to understand. It’s like someone going to a restaurant and asking for a steak and being given a hamburger and french fries instead.

Canelo isn’t responsive to what the fans and DAZN want. No one asked for Canelo to fight Yildirim, Saunders, Kovalev, Jacobs, or Callum Smith.

Likewise, fans aren’t asking for Canelo to fight Caleb Plant. That’s Canelo wants that fight, and it looks like a cherry-pick.

For the people that saw how poor Plant looked in his toughest career fight against Jose Uzcategui in 2019, he’s a flawed paper champion and on the same level as Billy Joe Saunders.

If Canelo had fought Golovkin immediately after his controversial 12 round decision win in September 2018, he would have been still relatively young at 36.

But now that Golovkin is 39, it’s almost to the point he likely will be too old to have a chance of winning. In other words, Golovkin will no be a threat to Canelo, which is convenient for the Mexican star.

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