Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant on Sept.18th: Will fans be willing to buy it?
By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant is expected to be finalized soon for September 18th on FOX Sports pay-per-view in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Although this fight isn’t considered a true pay-per-view bout, FOX Sports will be selling it to the public anyway, hoping that they’ll be willing to pay $70+ to see Canelo against the IBF 168-lb belt-holder Plant (21-0, 12 KOs).
If the fight gets negotiated, it’ll be a one-fight deal for Canelo, a career-high payday, to fight on Premier Boxing Champions against one of their stable fighters, Plant.
Will fans purchase Canelo-Plant?
It’s a big-time gamble for PBC because Plant is a Showtime guy who hasn’t made waves during his career due to a combination of mediocre opposition and lack of charisma.
Plant doesn’t show much emotion when he speaks. His management needs to loosen him up if they want him to sell his fight on PPV against Canelo.
You literally don’t know if Plant is happy, sad, or angry when he talks because he doesn’t show emotion on his face, and tone doesn’t change.
He’s got the IBF belt at 168, but that’s about it. Canelo has to fight Plant to take his belt, so it’s on Fox and PBC to try and sell this somehow on PPV.
Canelo vs. Plant still isn’t done yet, but according to Mike Coppinger, the fight is “closing in.’ Interestingly, Canelo’s promoter Eddie Hearn isn’t as optimistic.
He said this week that it’s still not a guarantee that the Canelo-Plant fight will happen, and he’s got WBA light heavyweight champion Dimitry Bivol waiting as a Plan-B option.
Canelo wants to stick it out with the negotiations with Plant, even though he’s likely going to wind overpaying him to get him to agree.
Many boxing fans have joked that Canelo is buying Plant’s IBF title from him because he wants this fight to take his title to become the undisputed 168-lb champion.
Canelo focused on goal attainment
At this point in his career, Canelo is goal-focused, picking different guys and weight classes to pick up wins strategically.
We saw that with Canelo going up to 175 to become a four-division world champion in 2019. Rather than Canelo choosing the #1 or #2 top fighters at 175 in Artur Beterbiev or Dimitry Bivol, he selected Sergey Kovalev, who was arguably the weakest link among the champions in the division at the time.
Canelo was clearly strategic in selecting Kovalev. He did the same thing in choosing to try and become the undisputed champion at 168 against the weak champions Rocky Fielding, Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders, and Caleb Plant.
Canelo has been fighting on DAZN for the past three years since 2018, which has freed him from needing to fight PPV-worthy opponents.
Not having to worry about picking out opposition that U.S fans would be willing to purchase on PPV, it’s allowed Canelo to fight guys like Avni Yildirim, Billy Joe Saunders, Callum Smith, and Rocky Fielding. DAZN was willing to pay Canelo to fight those guys.
If Canelo had to sell those fights on PPV, he probably wouldn’t have wasted his time because there wouldn’t have been huge money in those fights.
Alvarez will need to bring in the fans
So that’s where we are with Caleb Plant, who is a similar non-PPV-worthy opponent for Canelo like Fielding, Smith, Saunders, and Yildirim all were. Now it’s going to be interesting to see if FOX Sports made a mistake by pushing to place Canelo-Plant on PPV or if it really will sell.
FOX Sports is likely counting on Canelo’s loyal fanbase willingly shelling out the money to see him fight on the Mexican Independence Day Holiday on September 18th and not caring that he’s facing a non-marquee guy in Plant.
In the past, Canelo was careful about the opposition he fought on pay-per-view when he was with HBO. I’m not sure that Plant would have made the grade back then to get selected as an opponent for Canelo on pay-per-view. Plant isn’t well known enough, and his resume is so weak.
If Plant had fought better guys than he has, he’d be a household name by now, but he likely would have been beaten a half dozen times as well.
It’s a trade-off. Plant’s promoters have been careful with him, making him against weak opposition to help him build his 21-0 record, but because of the low-risk opposition he’s faced, it’s kept him from building his name.
In the one fight against a decent fighter in Jose Uzcategui, Plant was staggered numerous times in the second half and barely held on to win a 12 round decision.
Were Beterbiev & Bivol serious Plan-B options?
Canelo’s promoter Eddie Hearn has been saying for weeks that he might move up to 175 to fight Dimitry Bivol or Artur Beterbiev if the negotiations with Plant don’t pan out; no one really expected Alvarez to go up to 175 to fight either of those guys.
You can argue that Beterbiev and Bivol’s names were used to get Plant to decrease his asking price. Plant wanted $10 million for the Canelo fight, and it’s unclear whether he will get that much.
That’s a lot of money to pay out when you’re not certain what the buy rate will be for this fight on Fox Sports PPV. If Canelo is getting $40 million and Plant $10 million, the fight will need to bring in a lot of PPV buys and sell a ton of tickets to cover those huge purses.
Those are guys that would have been a nightmare for Canelo, who, like his old nemesis Gennadiy Golovkin, has stopped taking serious tests since their fight in 2018.
Canelo isn’t crazy. He’s an opportunist. He picks his opposition carefully, and he’s mindful of the goals that he sets for himself.
For example, instead of becoming the undisputed champion at 168 when David Benavidez held the WBC title, Canelo made a move after he was stripped of his title for failing to make weight for his fight against Roamer Alexis Angulo in 2020.
Fans want to see what Canelo does next after he beats Plant. Does the Mexican star rise and start retaking tough challenges as he used to do many years, or will he settle for an easily attainable goal against another flawed champion?
- Caleb Plant’s training camp t-shirt
- Caleb Plant reveals advice Andre Ward gave him for Canelo fight
- David Benavidez says Plant is lucky Canelo is fighting him first
- ‘Tired with Canelo, it’s curtains,’ Anthony Dirrell predicts Alvarez vs. Plant