By Huck Allen: Trainer Kenny Porter believes Caleb ‘Sweethands’ Plant will learn from his loss to Canelo Alvarez and come back from the defeat.
Many boxing fans feel that the former IBF super middleweight champion Plant (21-1, 12 KOs) won’t be able to ever capture another world title at 168 after his crushing eleventh round knockout defeat.
The fans note that Plant showed weakness during the ninth round when he started a conversation with Canelo, asking for approval and seemingly fishing for compliments to bolster his shaky self-confidence.
Having seen the 29-year-old Plant display weakness during the heat of a battle in a unification fight at the highest levels at 168, fans believe that he will do the same thing when he faces someone good later on in his career.
During the championship rounds against Canelo, the Tennesse native Plant looked unfit mentally for battle.
Like a war-weary soldier, Plant had been kept near the front lines for too long during the fight with Canelo, and he looked like he’d experienced too much for him to take.
The running conversation that Plant had with Canelo during the round was a sign of psychological distress. He was falling apart.
Plant had basically given up and was retreating around the ring, no longer willing to fight as he had in the first half of the contest.
Plant must learn from ‘L’ says Kenny
“We sparred with him early in his camp, and I felt that Caleb had an opportunity in the early rounds to take the early rounds; I felt in those early rounds, he was in the fight,” said trainer Kenny Porter to Fight Hub TV on ‘Sweethands’ Plant’s loss to Canelo Alvarez.
“But I knew he had to hold on real tight going down the stretch because that’s when Canelo would come on strong. He [Canelo] kept chopping at him, chopping at him, and chopping at him. He was patient until he got to him.
“This situation right here for Caleb, take the ‘L,’ learn from it, it’s not a loss. Take it in your mind and learn from it and elevate your game.
“He will elevate his game; I know he will because I know him as a person,” said Kenny in expressing his belief that Plant can learn from the defeat.
You’d be inclined to agree with Kenny about his belief that Plant will learn from his defeat to Canelo and come back a better fighter in the future.
This writer doubts that Plant can ever come back improved, as what we saw in his loss to Canelo was a repeat of the same mental & physical breakdown that he displayed in the championship rounds of his fight with Jose Uzcategui in 2019.
There was virtually no difference in how Plant fell apart against Uzcategui and the way he crumbled against Canelo.
The only reason Plant didn’t lose to Uzcategui is because he was facing a limited fighter who lacked the talent to be a true championship-level fighter.
Had Plant been in there with one of the talented 168-pound fighters like David Benavidez, David Morrell Jr, Zach Parker, or Edgar Berlanga, he would have lost on the night.
“He’s going to be a better fighter from this just as you seen from other guys,” said continued Kenny about Plant.
“Canelo, for example, when he took that loss to Mayweather. He’s elevated everything he’s done since then.
“Caleb will do the same thing. I’m not comparing the two. I’m just simply saying that Caleb has the ability to raise his level and be even better than he was that night.
“Hopefully, he makes the right decisions. I’m sure that he will because I know Caleb as a person, and he’s got a great support person behind him in his wife,” said Porter about Plant’s wife.
“I knew her for a couple of years, even before they met. Also, his dad and his coach Larry Wade and his head coach as well. He’s got a great support system.
“They’ll pull together and figure out which way to go, and like I said, he’ll be better than he was before,” said Kenny about Plant.
The best chance that Plant has of winning another world title at 168 is when Canelo begins vacating his belts.
If Canelo gives up a strap, Plant is capable of beating many of the top fighters, but not one that has power and is mentally tough.
Plant will likely collapse mentally again if he’s put in a situation where he’s facing adversity against a fighter with power and the ability to put continuous pressure on him for 12 rounds.
Caleb’s loss was a learning experience
“There are no losers. Think about who he fought,” said Barry Hunter on Plant not being a loser just because he got beaten by Canelo. “It was a learning [experience]. In other words, he went to college.
“Now he’s got to go back to get his Masters. Canelo is Canelo. In my opinion, right now, he might be the best fighter on the planet. He’s one of three for sure.
“You got to give him credit,” said Hunter about Canelo. “He was patient enough and kept chop, chop, and chopping until he got Caleb. We know what the results were.
“You got to give Caleb a lot of respect for going in there with this guy and fighting as long as he did and putting it on as long as he did,” said Hunter.
The loss for Plant affirmed the same things that were known about him going into the contest with Canelo. Plant falls apart when pressured, and he lacks the stamina & power to compete against talented opposition.
Moving forward, the only way Plant will have success is if his management at PBC skillfully maneuvers him around the talented opposition to put him in a position to fight for a vacate belt against a flawed fighter.
The way Plant was put in a position to fight the weakest link at 168 against Uzcategui was the perfect situation for him.
Plant can win if he’s matched carefully, but he’s not talented or tough enough mentally to hold onto a belt for an extended period.