Canelo will bide his time before finishing Plant
By Sean Jones: Eddie Hearn predicts that Canelo Alvarez will bide his time tonight before going for the knockout against Caleb ‘Sweethands’ Plant later in the fight.
The British promoter Hearn doesn’t expect Canelo (56-1-2, 38 K.O.s) to fight with emotion and lose his focus because of the trash-talking Plant (21-0, 12 K.O.s) has done during the build-up to tonight’s 168-lb undisputed championship fight at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Canelo is the heavy favorite to defeat Plant IBF become the first 4-belt undisputed champion in the super middleweight division’s history. I guess that would be an excellent accomplishment by Canelo, but not really.
The only reason Canelo is in the position to become the undisputed champion at 168 is that the division was packed with weak champions for him to pick off in a predator-type of manner easily.
If David Benavidez were one of the belt-holders at 168, some would argue Canelo would have never attempted to become an undisputed champion because he doesn’t match up against the young lion.
But with Benavidez out of the picture due to him losing his title on the scales in 2020, Canelo took advantage of the situation in an opportunistic manner to beat the weak belt-holders to get to where he is tonight with three belts in his possession and on the verge of becoming the undisputed champion.
If Canelo’s name was ‘Joe Blow’ and he wasn’t a popular fighter, he’d have never gotten the opportunity to fight the flawed 168-lb champions, Plant, Billy Joe Saunders, Rocky Fielding, and Callum Smith.
Canelo won’t fight off emotion
“I’m here as a fan as a mate, and he [Canelo] asked me to come out,” said Eddie Hearn to Boxing Social about Canelo’s fight with Plant on Saturday.
“It’s a pleasure to be around him and see him make history because this is something he wants really badly,” Hearn said of Canelo.
“He wants to become undisputed, and he’s just one win away from doing it and making history for Mexico and Latin America. He’s chilled as always is.
“I’ve never seen a fighter more confident and comfortable on fight week. He doesn’t fight off of emotion,” Hearn said of Canelo. “He’s a cold guy in that respect.
“He will fight the exact same way whether it’s personal or if it’s not personal. He might want to do a little bit more damage, but you won’t see him fighting erratically or going out and trying to take this guy out. He’ll take his time and bide his time,” Hearn said.
Even if Canelo does fight off emotion tonight, he’ll likely destroy Plant in an easy victory. It doesn’t matter if Canelo fights with emotion or not. Plant lacks the power to make Canelo pay for fighting off emotion, and that’s the whole problem.
Plant doesn’t pop in his punches to make Canelo fight with caution, and his stamina is terrible.
At best, Plant is more of a six to eight-round fighter, and he’s not going to have anything left in the tank by the championship rounds.
Caleb has never boxed an elite fighter
“A lot of this fight depends on Caleb Plant. When you look at the resumes, which I was doing the other day, it’s chalk and cheese, isn’t it?” said Hearn in making it clear that Canelo and Plant have VERY different resumes in terms of quality opposition they’ve faced.
“No disrespect to some of the guys that Caleb has boxed, but he’s never boxed an elite middleweight or super middleweight. He’s boxed some solid world-class contenders, but he’s never boxed an elite fighter.
“It doesn’t mean he’s [Plant] not good to compete up there, but we haven’t seen it. It could be a demolishment, but I do rate him as a fighter. I just can’t see him beating Canelo,” Hearn said of Caleb.
Hearn is 100% correct about Plant never having fought an elite fighter, and that’s likely going to cost him big time tonight with Canelo wiping him out in the second half of the contest.
The only proper names on Plant’s resume are past his prime 38-year-old Caleb Truax and Jose Uzcategui. Those are not elite-level fighters, and they’re more like bottom fringe-level fighters who fall apart when matched against good opposition.
With Truax, we saw him lose to a badly past his prime James DeGale in 2018. Two years earlier, Truax was knocked out in the first round by Anthony Dirrell in 2016.
As for Uzcategui, he was beaten by Matt Korobov, Lionell Thompson, and Andre Dirrell. It’s excellent that Plant beat Uzcategui to capture the IBF 168-lb title in 2019, but he didn’t prove anything by beating this guy.
As the IBF champion, Plant has taken zero risks in defending his title against these lesser fighters:
- Caleb Truax
- Mike Lee
- Vincent Feigenbutz
You can give Plant a pass for fighting Feigenbutz because he was his IBF mandatory, but there was no reason for him to face Truax or Lee.
Plant won’t lay down
“Slightly different styles,” said Hearn when asked if he sees Plant as a better fighter than Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith.
“Both are really intelligent fighters. I believe Billy moves better than Caleb. Maybe Caleb has a little more pop than Billy Joe. Both are good champions. It’s just that when you get in there sometimes, it’s just a whole another level.
“I thought Billy did well against Canelo, and I think Caleb will be competitive. He’s a winner, and he’s come through a lot of disappointment in his career and life to get to this point.
“He’s not going to lay down. I just don’t think he’s as good as Canelo, but we don’t really know because he’s never boxed at that level before. If he’s got those levels, then he’s going to give a great fight,” Hearn said.
No one is expecting Plant, 28, to lay down tonight against Canelo, as he’s got a lot of pride that will keep him in there fighting as hard as possible until the bitter end. But with that said, Plant hasn’t fought the type of competition in the past to prepare him for what’s in store for him tonight against Alvarez, and that’s the problem.
One gets the sense that Plant is a manufactured champion at 168, a fighter that his promoters have carefully matched in chess-like moves to get him to this point where he’s 21-0, holding the IBF strap, and about to make over $10 million+ against Canelo.
The problem with boxing is clever promoters can build fighters to make them look invincible by matching them against mediocre opposition, as we’ve seen with Plant, and then get him a big-money fight against a star like Canel that they’re in no way prepared for.
This isn’t like the NFL or the NBA, where teams are forced to play other quality teams to get to the playoffs, championships, or Super Bowl.
In boxing, you can have a fighter matched against fluff to get them big money fights, and they end up being complete mismatches. As a result, the boxing public is disappointed by the mismatches and feels they wasted their money.
It wouldn’t be like this if the fighters were forced to face quality opposition rather than being manufactured and made to look good by their promoters matching them against a lesser opponent.
Plant won’t lay down, but he’s underqualified for the task at hand tonight against Canelo that it’s impossible to see a win for him.
Who does Canelo fight next?
“You got John Ryder pottering around as his [Canelo] mandatory in that weight class,” said Hearn when asked if Canelo could fight in the U.K. in 2022.
“I think Chris Eubank Jr. is also a great fight. We don’t work with him, so it’s obviously more difficult to make that fight. But I know Canelo Alvarez wants to fight in the U.K., and the Ryder fight is one we could make very easily for him, but he’s got plans to fight internationally around the world.
“There’s a number of big fights out there for him with Matchroom, PBC, with Top Rank, whoever it could be.
“That’s the beauty of the position he’s in where he could take his fight next week or the week after and just look at the options and say, ‘Okay, that one next for me.’ But first things first, he’s got to get through Saturday,” said Hearn of Canelo.
John Ryder and Chris Eubank Jr. will be terrible choices for Canelo if he wants to attract interest in his next fight from the U.S. boxing fans, as that would be a step down from Plant.
If Canelo chooses Ryder or Eubank Jr. as his next opponent, it would be the fourth fight against a U.K. fighter in his last eight matches, and that’s not going to help increase his popularity in the U.S.
American boxing fans are getting tired of watching Canelo take easy fights against over-matched U.K. opposition. They want to see him step up to the elite-level fighters in the sport against David Benavidez, Jermall Charlo, Gennadiy Golovkin, Dmitry Bivol, or Artur Beterbiev.
Ryder or Eubank Jr. would be fine as tune-up fights for Canelo if he’d just gone through a series of grueling fights against the fighters mentioned above, but that’s not the case. Canelo has arguably been taking it easy on himself for the last three years since his war with Golovkin in 2018.
Let’s face it; Canelo hadn’t fought an elite-level fighter since his rematch with GGG three years ago in 2018, and a lot of the fans are getting tired of the Mexican star’s cherry-picking.
If Canelo fights Ryder or Eubank Jr. next, it would be interpreted by many fans as more weak opposition for him to avoid while avoiding Benavidez, Charlo, Bivol, Golovkin, and Beterbiev.
Canelo’s opposition since 2018:
- Rocky Fielding
- Danny Jacobs
- Sergey Kovalev
- Billy Joe Saunders
- Callum Smith
- Avni Yildirim
- Caleb Plant
If you know anything about boxing, you’ll realize from looking at Canelo’s opposition in the last three years that he’s wholly stopped fighting elite-level opposition and is padding his resume against flawed guys.
Kovalev and Jacobs were good fighters in their primes, but they were old and past it when Canelo fought them.
Kovalev had already been between twice by Andre Ward, and he was close to being stopped against novice fighter Anthony Yarde in his fight with Canelo.
As for Jacobs, he’d already been beaten by Golovkin and Dmitry Pirog when Canelo fought him. If you want an indication of where Jacobs is at this point in his 14-year career, take a look at his recent controversial 12 round split decision over Gab Rosado last year in November.
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