By Sean Jones: In a leaked sparring video this week, Canelo Alvarez took a lot of punishment from David Benavidez’s recent knockout victim Ronald Ellis.
Having accustomed to seeing Canelo thrash the overmatched 168-lb belt holders Billy Joe Saunders, Callum Smith, and Rocky Fielding, he looked a lot less comfortable against a quality contender in Ellis.
How Canelo was seen struggling against Ellis puts things in perspective about how poor Saunders, Smith, and Fielding were as champions.
It was startling to see Canelo (56-1-2, 38 KOs) getting nailed by the bigger Ellis during the sparring clip, and it’s obviously not a good sign for the Mexican star as he prepares for his likely undisputed 168-lb championship against IBF champion Caleb Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) on September 18th.
Negotiations are still ongoing for Canelo-Plant
Canelo vs. Plant still hasn’t been finalized yet, but it’s reportedly close to being a done deal for FOX PPV on September 18th in Las Vegas. Before this sparring clip was released, you wouldn’t think Plant would have much of any chance against Alvarez.
The clip changes everything because Canelo looks very, very beatable, and Plant might be able to pull it off if he doesn’t gas out as he did against Jose Uzcategui.
If Plant uses his size, reach, and excellent jab, he’s got a better than average chance of defeating the goal-oriented Canelo in September. The only thing Plant has to worry about are these issues:
A. running out of gas
B. getting hit by Canelo’s uppercuts
Plant needs to make sure he doesn’t lean forward with his hands hanging by his sides the way Billy Joe Saunders did last May to avoid getting hit by Canelo’s uppercuts. Saunders was begging to get hit with Canelo’s uppercuts the entire fight, and he finally obliged by nailing him with a perfectly placed shot in the eighth that fractured his eye socket.
Canelo has become seemingly obsessed with collecting trophy titles and not really caring that he’s not going much from because he’s not facing high-caliber fighters that boxing fans want to see him fight.
It’s like someone that collects baseball cards, and the normal person can’t relate to them. That’s kind of how Canelo is with him collecting titles at 168 against the obscure champions in this weak division.
It’s fair to say that Canelo has a deaf ear to the type of opposition the fans want to see him in against.
If Canelo were a fan-pleaser type of fighter, he’d scrap the idea of unifying the 168lb division and sign to fight David Benavidez, Demetrius Andrade, Jermall Charlo, or Artur Beterbiev.
Caleb Plant = a poor man’s Mayweather?
None of the guys that Canelo has fought at super middleweight will prepare him for what he will have to deal with when he gets in the ring with ‘Sweethands’ Plant in September.
Plant is a combination of Floyd Mayweather Jr and Billy Joe Saunders. While Plant isn’t on the level of a Mayweather, but he can do a lot of the same things he can but with more power.
Plant is like a better version of Saunders before he started having and inactivity problems that ultimately hurt his career.
Canelo vs. Plant still isn’t finalized, so there’s an outside chance that we could see the Mexican star going in another direction for his September fight.
I’m not sure that I believe Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn when he says WBA light heavyweight champion Dimitry Bivol (18-0, 11 KOs) is the Plan-B for Canelo. Bivol would make easy work of Ronald Ellis, and Canelo was having all he could handle from that guy in sparring.
It would be a show of courage if Canelo did choose to fight Bivol, but this writer doesn’t see it happening in September, no way. If the negotiations between Canelo and Plant implode, we’re likely to see the Mexican star fight one of these guys in September:
- Chris Eubank Jr
- Gabe Rosado
- John Ryder
Those guys would be in keeping with the type of fighters that Canelo has been fighting since 2018. I’m not wrong about that. Look for yourselves. These are the fighters Canelo has fought since his controversial 12 round decision win over Gennadiy Golovkin in 2018:
- Rocky Fielding
- Daniel Jacobs
- Sergey Kovalev
- Callum Smith
- Avni Yildirim
- Billy Joe Saunders
Jacobs was a decent fighter years ago, but he’d already been beaten by Golovkin and Dmitry Pirog by the time Canelo fought him in 2019. he looked shot to pieces by that point, and not the guy he once was.
The same goes for Sergey Kovalev. He was a good fighter during his best years, but he was well past it by the time Canelo hand-picked him in 2019.
Plant is a live dog
A victory for Canelo over Plant will make him the four-belt champion at 168 and thus end his long three-year journey to become the undisputed champion.
Although some boxing fans believe Canelo only started his quest to become the undisputed champion in 2020, the fact of the matter is, he started in 2018 when he defeated Rocky Fielding to win the WBA ‘regular 168-lb title.
Canelo has got to fight a lot better against Plant than in his last fight against Saunders. Before Billy Joe suffered a fractured orbital bone in the 8th, he was fighting Canelo to a near standstill, and he had a chance of winning.
Plant will put in a better effort than both Callum Smith and Saunders, but we don’t know if his stamina will hold out. The way that Plant fell apart in the second half of his fight against Jose Uzcategui in 2019, it’s hard to see him beating Canelo.
Plant has better defensive skills than Canelo’s recent opponents Saunders, Avni Yildirim, and Callum Smith.
If Canelo beats Plant, he’ll need to do it the hard way by cutting off the ring and landing one of his big shots to end the night. A long 12 round fight would be bad news for Canelo, as he would be forced to take a lot of punishment from Plant, and he’ll have difficulty winning rounds.
Of course, we definitely don’t know how the judges will score the rounds. Maybe we’ll get the same kind of judges that worked Canelo’s two fights with Gennadiy Golovkin or in the recent Jermell Charlo vs. Brian Castano fight.
He also has common sense, and he’s not going to fight with his against the ropes or lean forward, asking Canelo to hit him with uppercuts all night.