This Saturday night, the first-ever 4-belt undisputed championship at super middleweight will take place in Las Vegas between Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant. The oddsmakers and pretty much everyone in the media aren’t giving Caleb Plant much of a chance, if any, to win on Saturday. As the saying goes, “that’s why they fight the fights,” so with that let’s break down some keys to the fight and what it will take for Caleb Plant to be competitive, especially in the second half. This bout will be broadcasted by Showtime PPV and features a non-descript undercard that could produce one or two entertaining fights, let’s hope anyway. Let us not forget that Fury/Wilder3 undercard looked stacked on paper but turned out so-so in the ring so we could get some fights that pop.
Thiers a few reasons why most folks that follow the sport of boxing closely believe Caleb Plant has no shot at beating Canelo. Up until this point of his career, let’s face it, Caleb hasn’t beaten or even faced a tippy-top level fighter to help him prepare for what’s in store. Another factor is power, and without that, it’s difficult to keep Canelo honest as he attempts to break down opponents. And to be fair, even if you put up a great performance and you’re considered to be right in the fight down the stretch, it’s nearly impossible to get the scorecards in your favor versus Alvarez. Case in point, Floyd Mayweather beat Canelo Alvarez pretty much from pillar to post, and yet somehow someway one of the judges scored the fight as a draw.
Speaking of his only loss as a professional, Canelo has shown great improvement in many ways since falling to Mayweather. Of late, he’s been walking guys down like Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders, whereas before, he would take more time to establish the jab before turning up the heat offensively. In May, Canelo was happy to take some punches and not pay much attention to winning the early rounds content to land big shots that eventually hurt and stopped Saunders. This boxing podcaster is interested to see if Canelo will take that same approach with Caleb. If so, Caleb’s height and reach, along with his hand/foot speed, will be on display early, assuming that he doesn’t stand his ground, similar to Saunders in the opening frames.
Let’s continue on that theme because even with Canelo’s overall improvements made, he still hasn’t really had to cut the ring off for a large portion of the rounds. Yes, Daniel Jacobs, Sergey Kovalev, and even BJS did operate on the outside behind a jab, but it was nothing to the point of say, an Erislandy Lara. Heck, even Floyd Mayweather pushed Canelo back to the ropes in the first part of the fight, something that many forget. The question in my mind is how much better has Canelo gotten at actually having to cut the ring off all the way. And with Plant’s ability on the outside, it’s worth a try to move more laterally, pivot, quick-clinch, whatever it takes to not allow Canelo to set his feet and throw in combination. Not to be mistaken with jumping on a ten-speed using just lateral movement and a pecking jab because that won’t get the job done.
Another item is the right hand of Caleb Plant, which I mentioned during my Rope-A-Dope-Radio Podcast on Wednesday. Also, a solid contributor to the sport Adam Abramowitz of saturdaynightboxing.com, pointed out in his preview piece that I read today. If anyone has watched Plant, you would know he has a fast and accurate left hand, whether it’s a jab and hook. A fighter and trainer like Canelo and Eddie Reynoso will likely position Alvarez to stay away from Plant’s best punches. That’s why actively throwing a lead, counter, behind the jab or potshots and move is so important coming from the ring hand. That being said and an uptick in general for output will be needed from Plant as well.
If it appears (regardless of the judge’s scorecards) that after, say, six rounds, the score could be 3-3, one would assume Plant is scoring points and using his legs/feet plus upper body movements to at least contain, if not frustrate Canelo. Without taking major risks, Plant has to find a way throughout the fight, not just early, to get respect from Canelo when he advances forward. And yes, Plant will have to stand his ground at times if not try to push Canelo back as Golovkin and Mayweather, among a few others. Plant must take advantage of any slower rounds or a round that it becomes clear Canelo is coasting to save energy.
Call me crazy, but I see Caleb Plant doing very well thru say, 4 to 6 rounds, and it may come down to how well he did to predict what the second half will look like. Canelo’s reaction time, jab, and fundamentals that he can always rely on will be the difference in the outcome regardless of how it starts for him. This fight will probably be very competitive if Canelo is looking to stop Plant before the final bell. How much can we make of this fight being personal to Canelo is hard to tell because that’s not usually the case. Could he fight with too much emotion in the beginning? Possible, but Canelo will snap out of it and get back to the basics, so to speak. Plant wearing down around the 9th or 10th round will be expected, but can he find his second wind. In the end, a second wind won’t really matter if he’s not just tired but faded and broken down from the body and head attacks from Canelo.
My Official Prediction is Canelo Alvarez by Unanimous Decision.
Written by Chris Carlson Host/Producer of The Rope A Dope Radio Podcast Available at www.blogtalkradio.com/ropeadoperadio & Follow on Twitter @RopeADopeRadio