Plant could upset Canelo Alvarez – says Stephen Espinoza

By Boxing News - 10/30/2021 - Comments

By Dan Ambrose: Showtime’s Stephen Espinoza believes that Caleb Plant can cause a massive upset against Canelo Alvarez next Saturday night on November 6th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Espinoza notes that IBF super middleweight champion Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) has the size advantage at 6’1″ over the 5’8″ Canelo (56-1-2, 38 KOs), and he’s got the boxing skills as well to upset the Mexican star.

Caleb Plant = Mayweather 2.0

Plant has the mobility, jab, and the size to win this fight, says Espinoza. This isn’t the typical opponent that we’ve seen from Canelo over the last seven years of his career.

He’s facing a Mayweather clone in Plant, but a bigger and younger one. Mayweather was 36-years-old when he outboxed Canelo in winning a 12 round majority decision over him in 2013. This wasn’t the prime Mayweather from the late 1990s knocking everybody out and dazzling boxing fans with his hand speed.

By the time Mayweather fought Canelo, his legs were gone, and he’d lost a lot of his hand speed. It didn’t matter, though, as Mayweather still possessed enough speed and more than enough talent to beat Canelo with ease.

Caleb Plant has riled up Alvarez

“Canelo is such a calm, cool professional guy.  It’s unusual to see him get so riled up, so that was the last thing on my mind at the press conference,” said Stephen Espinoza of Showtime to Behind The Gloves on how Canelo went after Caleb Plant during their kickoff press conference last September.

Image: Plant could upset Canelo Alvarez - says Stephen Espinoza

“That’s something that doesn’t happen at Canelo’s press conferences,” Espinoza continued about the Mexican star going after Plant. “He’s a guy that is professional, but this is someone that has gotten under his skin. Plant has gotten under his skin in a way that few other fighters have.

“Canelo has had a lot of great fights, and his resume is ridiculous if you actually go back and look at it.  It is surprisingly good, going all the way back to [Austin] Trout and Erislandy Lara. But I would argue this [Caleb Plant] is his most important fight.

“You can say the [Floyd] Mayweather is maybe the biggest, but this one is the most important because of what it means to his legacy and where he is right now.

“The undisputed title, the first Mexican American fighter, the first Latin American fighter to be undisputed Titleist.

“You can see it’s very important to him in his focus. It’s also very important because of some of the personal animosity between the two [Canelo and Plant] guys, but there’s a lot at stake.

“The same for Plant as well. Plant has got his belt, but this is the same opportunity for him, the undisputed world title,”  said Espinoza.

Espinoza is putting it lightly by saying that Plant got under Canelo’s skin during their kickoff press conference on September 4th.

Canelo looked furious at being called a “drug cheat” and having his trainer Eddy Reynoso verbally chastised by Plant.

By the time Canelo and Plant met for the face-off, you could tell that something would happen because Alvarez looked genuinely angry.

This wasn’t a theatrical deal with Canelo trying to sell the fight. He looked angry, and you could tell that he would go off on Plant if he said anything to him when they came face to face.

Plant can cause an upset

“It’s certainly the most difficult opponent for Canelo in a while for all the reasons you said.

“When you have someone that is dominant and is considered pound-for-pound #1, there’s sort of the assumption, ‘this is a guy that always wins, and it’s been so long since we’ve seen him in a  close fight or a tough fight, and certainly with just one loss.

“Here, if you look objectively at Plant, he’s got a size advantage, he’s a very good boxer with great movement, he’s got the length, and he’s got a great jab. This is not an easy fight [for Canelo], not at all.

“If you listen to what Canelo and [trainer]  Eddy Reynoso are saying, they’re saying the same thing. They’re not saying, ‘We’re going to walk through this guy.’

“They’re saying, ‘This is going to go rounds, this is going to take awhile. This is not someone you walk in and chase down.’

“So this will be a boxing match, and it’ll be a brawl at times. I know Canelo is the favorite, but if you look at all the tools that Caleb has,  he’s got what it takes to pull off an upset,” said Espinoza about Plant.

We’ve seen Canelo getting outboxed by the slick boxers Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Erislandy Lara in the past. When you look at those fights, Plant can do the same thing to Canelo and make him look horrible.

In terms of boxing ability, Plant is the best fighter that Canelo will have faced since his controversial 12 round split decision victory over Lara in 2014.

The twelve opponents that Canelo has faced since lacked the boxing skills to give him problems, and he’s been able to walk them down or, in the case of Gennadiy Golovkin, get questionable scoring by the Nevada judges.

Espinoza had a backup David Benavidez

“David [Benavidez] has had some bad luck, some injuries; he had the positive COVID test, the postponement.  So it’s really important that we keep that intact,” said Espinoza about Benavidez’s problems that he’d dealt with leading up to his November 13th fight on Showtime.

Image: Plant could upset Canelo Alvarez - says Stephen Espinoza

“The good thing about the sort of leftover of the worst days of the pandemic,  we’re still in the mode of having backups on the card or in mind training.

“Lately, because we’re still worried about positive tests, but here, we had several alternatives. We didn’t have to start making calls. We have guys that are sort of lined up if something happens unusual.

“The same thing with the Tank fight [between Gervonta Davis and Rolando ‘Rolly’  Romero].  If that turns out that we need a replacement, there are guys that we already lined up because you just have to do that. That’s the world we live in nowadays,” said Espinoza.

Former two-time  WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez  (24-0, 21 KOs) will be fighting replacement opponent Kyrone Davis (16-2-1, 6 KOs) for Showtime’s main event in November 23th at the Footprint Arena in Phoenix, Arizona.

Benavidez had been scheduled to fight Jose Uzcategui in an IBF/WBC 168-lb title eliminator. Still, the former IBF champion tested positive for the banned substance rEPO during a test by VADA on October 27th, and he’s now off the card.

It’s undoubtedly good that Showtime could salvage their November 13th date by finding a replacement for Benavidez. Still, it would have been preferable for them to find a top-level fighter from the super middleweight or light heavyweight division.

One of these guys would have been perfect for Benavidez:

  • Callum Smith
  • Joshua Buatsi
  • David Morrell Jr.
  • John Ryder
  • Carlos Gongora
  • Fedor Chudinov
  • David Lemieux
  • Vladimir Sishkin
  • Danny Jacobs

It’s disappointing that the best they could come up with for a replacement opponent for Benavidez to fight is Davis rather than a top contender.

So instead of Benavidez fighting in a title eliminator to become the mandatory challenger for the winner of the Canelo vs. Plant fight, he’s fighting a regular stay busy match against Davis.

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