Eddie Hearn critical of Caleb Plant opposition, never fought an elite fighter

By Jeff Sorby - 11/05/2021 - Comments

Promoter Eddie Hearn is highly critical of IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Plant’s opposition during his career, and he feels that he’s taking a huge step up by fighting WBA/WBC/WBO champion Canelo Alvarez this Saturday night for the undisputed 168-lb championship at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.

Hearn notes that Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) has risen to a champion level without fighting one elite-level opponent during his career. He feels that it’s going to be too much for him to deal with in taking on #1 pound-for-pound fighter Canelo (56-1-2, 38 KOs) this Saturday night on SHOWTIME PPV.

Plant is going into Saturday’s fight with just minimal preparation in terms of past opposition, and he’s going to have to deal with a fighter he’s never seen before inside the ring in Canelo.

Caleb Plant’s best opponents:

  • Jose Uzcategui
  • Caleb Truax
  • Rogelio Medina
  • Vincent Feigenbutz

Plant never fought at the elite level

“He’s [Canelo] a friend, I want him to win badly, and I’m here to help him celebrate hopefully on Saturday night, and I hope he makes history,” said Eddie Hearn to Fight Hub TV on Canelo’s fight against Caleb Plant.

Eddie Hearn critical of Caleb Plant opposition, never fought an elite fighter

“I was with him [Canelo] last night. He was very relaxed, and I think he’s the most relaxed fighter I’ve ever been around and the most confident fighter I’ve ever been around,” Hearn continued.

“It’s a real fight. Caleb Plant has never boxed at the elite level before, so we don’t know if he’s good enough. The same with Teo [Teofimo Lopez] was good enough, and he went in there [against Vasily Lomachenko] and showed he was.

“He [Plant] never fought an elite fighter in his whole career. Show me one. Caleb Truax, a great guy and a world-class fighter, but not an elite super middleweight,” said Hearn about Plant’s last opponent, 38-year-old Truax.

“[Jose] Uzcategui is good, but not an elite super middleweight. Is there anyone else that he [Plant] has fought? No, but he’s a talent; he’s a great fighter. I just don’t think he can beat Canelo Alvarez; I really don’t,” said Hearn.

The unfortunate thing about Caleb Plant is that he’s been matched so carefully by his promoters, which has prevented him from ever being tested against elite-level opposition.

Plant is an example of what promoters can do when carefully building a fighter to keep from losing. You get an untested champion, and it might not be able to hold up against quality opposition. It’s troubling because Plant should have already fought the likes of David Benavidez, David Morrell Jr., Carlos Gongora, and Callum Smith long ago.

Unfortunately, Plant’s management has been careful with him, only putting him in winnable fights, even after picking up the IBF 168-lb title in 2019.

They’ve still matched Plant weakly by having him defend against 38-year-old Caleb Truax, little-known light heavyweight Mike Lee, and Vincent Feigenbutz, a German fighter with marginal ability.

No comparing Canelo to Chavez

“I’ve promoted Canelo Alvarez; this guy is a God. I’m very proud of him because I respect great fighters, and he’s a great,” Hearn said.

“He takes on the biggest challenges. His last eight fights have been against champions or something like that?” said Hearn about Canelo.

“That’s unbelievable, and he deserves all the respect. I know there’s Julio Cesar Chavez, and that’s for the older generation. Canelo is a God of Mexican boxing, and he’s a real fighter, a real champion.

“You don’t even need to compare the two [Canelo and Chavez] because they’re from different eras, different generations. Appreciate and respect what we have now, which is an amazing fighter in Canelo Alvarez, who is very proud of his heritage,” said Hearn.

As Hearn says, Julio Cesar Chavez fought so long ago that no one is comparing Canelo to him, as they’re from different generations.

It’s unlikely that Canelo will ever approach the number of fights Chavez had during his career with his 115 bouts at the pro level. But Canelo will likely be fighting at a higher level than Chavez when the two were at similar stages in their respective careers.

By the time Chavez was 31, he was already beginning to show signs of being past his prime. With Canelo, he’s fading as well, but he can disguise it better by being selective of his opposition.

Chavez was still taking on dangerous opposition when he was Canelo’s age, facing the likes of Kostya Tszyu, Oscar De La Hoya, and Frankie Randall. We’re not seeing Canelo fight the best right now, as he’s sidestepping David Benavidez at 168 and hasn’t fought Jermall Charlo.

Hearn: Canelo may be unbeatable

“I’ve been there, and I’ve seen it. It’s an amazing thing what he’s doing for his country. I think the only way he [Canelo] gets beat is if he moves up to a weight class that he shouldn’t fight. I don’t see [David] Benavidez beating him, and I don’t see [Jermall] Charlo beating him.

“The [Gennadiy] Golovkin fight is a good fight as well, but I think he may be unbeatable. Of course, because the first two [Canelo vs. Golovkin fights] were amazing, weren’t they?

“So, I’d like to see that third one, but again, looking at those options and seeing which one he [Canelo] likes. He has no fear of fighting Gennadiy Golovkin again, but he will make the decision which one will be next,” said Hearn.

“I’m sure they will,” said Hearn about PBC likely to push for Canelo to face Jermall Charlo next. “After this fight, he’s [Canelo] go to everyone and say, ‘What have you got for me?’

“And he’ll look at it all and say, ‘Okay, that one.’ We’ll put three or four options in front of him. PBC will put options in front of him, but we’re here to support him [Canelo]. We’re not promoting the show [against Plant] obviously,” said Hearn.

It’s unlikely Canelo will ever choose to fight Gennadiy Golovkin again because there’s too much bad blood on his part, and it’s too late now for the trilogy clash. Golovkin will be turning 40 in April, and Canelo won’t receive any credit for beating him.

Fighting Jermall Charlo would be an excellent match-up for Canelo to create interest and make money in his next fight. It would play out huge in the U.S, where Jermall is well known.

However, Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) looked poor in his last title defense against little-known Juan Macias Montiel last June, getting rocked repeatedly by the Mexican slugger, and it’s not an excellent time for Canelo to fight him.

As for former two-time WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs), Canelo probably won’t agree to fight him because he’s a real handful and is the equivalent of a light heavyweight with power.

The youth, size, chin, and high work rate of Benavidez would make him a sheer nightmare for the smaller 31-year-old Canelo, especially at this point in his career with his punch output having taken a massive nosedive in the last two years.

Canelo doesn’t appear capable of throwing enough punches per round to beat a fighter like Benavidez; hence, Canelo probably won’t entertain the idea of fighting Benavidez because he knows his limitations.

If Canelo goes up to 175, he may get beaten by IBF/WBC light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev, a natural killer, or get outboxed by WBA champ Dmitry Bivol.

There’s also WBO champion Joe Smith Jr, a fighter with massive power in each hand. If Smith Jr. lands one of his big shots on Canelo flush, it could result in him tasting defeat for the second time.

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