Paulie Malignaggi previews Canelo vs. Plant
By Dan Ambrose: Paulie Malignaggi is looking forward to Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant on November 6th after watching the two get into it during their kickoff press conference last September.
The former division world champion Malignaggi notes that Canelo (56-1-2, 38 KOs) typically has problems with slick boxers, and he’s going to be facing one of the smoothest in the 168-lb division in unbeaten IBF champion Plant (21-0, 12 KOs).
WBA/WBC/WBO super middleweight champion Canelo and Plant will be looking to make history by becoming the first undisputed champion for the weight division.
Despite the two fighters repeatedly telling the fans and the media how important it is to become the undisputed champion at 168, the boxing fans are not much about that angle.
They want to see a fight and could care less if there are four, one, or no titles on the line. It would mean more if David Benavidez or Gennadiy Golovkin were facing Canelo.
CANELO STRUGGLES WITH SLICK BOXERS
“I think it’s one of the better fights that can be made this year. It’s a good style match-up, and Canelo has been really dominant of late,” said Paulie Malignaggi to Helen Yee Sports in talking about the Canelo vs. Caleb Plant fight.
“He’s [Canelo] showing a little bit of susceptibility to slick fighters if they can be consistent. Erislandy Lara gave him problems, but Billy Joe Saunders, Canelo had much fewer problems.
“Is it a case of Canelo getting better, or is it a case of Saunders not showing up as Much? I guess the Caleb Plant fight will give us that answer. We can all look forward to hopefully a great battle.
“Yeah, I saw that. There were some words exchanged and some misunderstanding on Canelo’s part,” said Malignaggi about the alternation between Canelo and Plant during their kickoff press conference in Los Angeles last September.
“I’m looking forward to them getting physical on November 6th. Caleb called him a ‘Mother f***er,’ and Canelo thought that he was basically saying f**k his mom.
“So, mother f***er doesn’t mean f**k your mom, but for somebody who’s first language isn’t English, it could be that. Now, I have no reason not to believe Canelo if that’s what he thought,” Malignaggi said.
Canelo struggles big time with boxers, and that’s not resistant to change. Although he says he’s improved in the last seven years, we don’t know that’s true because he hasn’t faced any slick boxers since his loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013.
IS ALVAREZ TOO THIN-SKINNED?
“My only discrepancy there is he [Canelo] called Boo Boo [Demetrius Andrade] a mother f***er a couple of months ago at the post-fight press conference, and he seemed to have no issue with going after somebody’s mom if that’s his interpretation of the word,” said Malignaggi.
“He didn’t seem to have any issue going after somebody’s mom in that particular situation, but then when the word was used towards him, he had an issue with it because he interpreted it as somebody coming after his mom.
“Obviously, mom jokes, when they’re done in seriousness with somebody that doesn’t even know you, they’re off the table and always offensive.
“Nonetheless, if it’s got to be consistent, that means he didn’t care to disrespect Demetrius’ mom a few months ago if that’s, in fact, the way he feels the word means.
“I think it was more of a scratch than a cut,” said Malignaggi about the cut that Plant received after Canelo hit him during their kick-off press conference.
“Maybe he had to miss a couple of weeks of sparring or something, and maybe the skin is a little delicate, and it’ll open in the fight. Listen, we’re all pro fighters. Getting cut is part of fighting.
“It doesn’t mean the be all end all. If you have a good cut man [it shouldn’t be a problem]. So, I don’t think that even if Caleb gets cut, it’ll have that much of an effect.
“You’re in there, and you’re fighting, and you expect to bleed. It’s hard to pick against Canelo right now because he’s fighting at his best,” said Malignaggi.
Canelo is used to dishing it out but not taking criticism in return, as seen during his kickoff press conference with Plant on September 4th.
Moving forward, Plant will need to take it easy on Canelo by not trash-talking so that he doesn’t attack him again.
You hate the idea of keeping the two fighters apart and not allowing face-offs, but that might be the reality.
PLANT NOT USED TO MONSTER EVENTS
“Also, the thing I look for is that Canelo is used to these types of atmospheres, these monster types of atmospheres,” said Malignaggi.
“There are guys that are very good fighters, but when they step into these moments, especially for the first time, and they’re kind of a little bit frozen.
“So, you got to kind of see. I felt like Billy Joe Saunders had been much slicker in his career and had been a better judge of distance in other than he was in the Canelo fight.
“I’d never seemed like he could get his distance in the Canelo fight. Canelo was stepping out of range really well, and in doing so, Billy Joe was coming up short consistently with the left hand.
“Eventually, that same coming up short was what caused him to get countered with the uppercut that broke his eye socket.
“So, he’s been in a tough situation. He [Saunders] fought David Lemieux in Montreal. So, I think these major impact moments, it doesn’t just come down to style-wise,” said Malignaggi.
It’s going to be fun to see if Plant freezes in the spotlight with the pressure on him in this fight. If Plant can’t relax in there, he will gas out and likely get stopped by Canelo.
Plant’s management has done a great job of shielding him from harm by skillfully matching him against weaker fighters throughout his career.
Even when Plant did fight for a world title, he fought Jose Uzcategui, a flawed champion that Matt Korobov had easily beaten in 2014.
CANELO VS. PLANT= EVEN FIGHT
“Style-wise, I think it’s an even fight. Caleb and Canelo are good fighters,” said Malignaggi.
“The fight is going to evolve the way it’s going to evolve, but I think the intangibles are how a guy like Caleb can handle these big moments.
“This is the biggest moment that he’s ever experienced. It doesn’t matter what big fights he’s been in.
“This is his biggest moment. Canelo has the experience, he knows it, and he’s calm in there.
“We already know that. How is Caleb going to approach round one and two?
“How is he going to loosen up in the fight because if you start out stiff and give away rounds earlier on, it can set you up on the wrong foot.
“That’s where a lot of this comes down to. I think it’s a great fight stylistically, but emotionally, I’m very curious to see how Caleb starts out the fight,” said Malignaggi.
It might be an even fight on paper between Canelo and Plant, but the Mexican star has a massive advantage in popularity.
That will count big time when it comes to the judges scoring rounds, and Canelo will likely be given the edge for close or not close rounds. Erislandy Lara and Gennadiy Golovkin found out how tough it is to win rounds against the Mexican star.
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