By Sean Jones: Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant are close to having their undisputed 168-lb championship fight set up for September 18th at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The negotiations are close to being done in a fight that would crown the winner a four-belt champion at super middleweight.
For Plant to beat Canelo, he would likely need to take advantage of him suffering an injury during the fight. If Canelo doesn’t get injured, Plant will likely lose badly.
Canelo’s popularity has helped him
Much has been made about the speed with which Canelo has accumulated titles at 168. Some casual boxing fans look at how Canelo has won the WBA, WBC, and WBO 168-lb titles and say, ‘Why can’t the other fighters do that in the division?’
The reason fighters like David Benavidez can’t do what Canelo has done is because he’s not popular enough to get all the champions to fight him.
The champions that Canelo beat to win his WBA, WBC, and WBO belts readily agreed to fight him because they knew they would get a career-high payday. When you have Canelo’s popularity, he can fight ANYONE from 147 to 175.
While it’s impressive that Canelo has rapidly collected three titles at 168, but he’s also been able to take advantage of his popularity and ability to get other fighters to face him.
You can argue that Benavidez would never in a million years have been able to get these three ex-168-lb champions to fight him: Billy Joe Saunders, Callum Smith, and Rocky Fielding.
They wouldn’t fight Benavidez because the money wouldn’t be life-changing like it would be against Canelo. Also, they would lose to Benavidez. Those titles were the golden ticket for Saunders, Callum, and Fielding to get a fight against Canelo.
Caleb Plant = six round fighter
Plant holds the IBF 168-lb title that Canelo wants/needs, but this is a mismatch. Caleb is basically a six-round fighter in terms of stamina, and he’ll be easy work for Canelo to destroys after the midway point of the fight.
The only way Plant wins against Canelo is if he builds up a big lead in the first half of the fight by using his Mayweather-esque style of fighting to get in front. If Plant builds up a big lead after six rounds, he could, in theory, coast down the stretch to edge Canelo.
It’s going to be hard for Plant to do that, though, because he gasses out after six rounds, and Canelo will be all over him.
In a perfect world, the winner of the Canelo-Plant undisputed championship would be the #1 fighter in the 168-lb weight class, but not in this case.
The only thing this fight will prove is that the winner will hold the super middleweight belts that Canelo took from the following weak, badly flawed paper champions:
- Rocky Fielding
- Callum Smith
- Billy Joe Saunders
The value-add of Canelo’s WBA, WBC & WBO belts is greatly diminished because of who picked up belts from. Junk in junk out. Canelo has three belts, yeah, but he won them off godawful champions; fighters had no business holding titles in the first place.
The REAL uncrowned champions at 168
Okay, so in real-life terms, for the winner of the Canelo vs. Plant fight to be viewed as #1 in the 168-lb division, they need to beat talented fighters:
- Davis Benavidez
- David Morrell Jr
- Carlos Gongora
- Gabe Rosado
These guys are the fighters that Canelo should have fought if he wants to prove that he’s the best in the 168-kb division. Any one of those four talents likely would have swept through the belt-holders Saunders, Fielding, and Callum to get to where Canelo is sitting right now about to fight another weak belt-holder.
If you disagree with this writer, do your research and watch Saunders, Callum, Fielding, and Plant’s past fights. If you do, you’ll discover how they won their belts, and you’ll see how bad they looked in many of their fights against lesser opposition.
It’s good for boxing that Canelo is finally about to become the undisputed champion by beating Plant because now he’ll have no more excuses for why he can’t fight the talented fighters like Benavidez, Dimitry Bivol, Artur Beterbiev, Gennadiy Golovkin, Demetrius Andrade, Morrell, Gongora, and Rosado.
Historians won’t care
Canelo becoming the undisputed champion at 168 will look good on paper to the boxing fans that are into looking at stats, but this accomplishment will be forgotten. When you look past greats like Sugar Ray Leonard, Robert Duran, and Muhammad Ali, you don’t focus on how many division titles they won.
That’s not how fans work. When they remember fighters from the past, they’re more interested in the number of huge fights they were involved with. For example, Sugar Ray Leonard had great fights against Duran, Hagler, Tommy Hearns, and Wilfried Benitez.
Fans focus on all the division titles that Leonard and Hearns won. They’re more interested in their important fights. So for Canelo to be focusing on trying to become the undisputed champion at 168 by beating the paper champions, it’s not going to become something that he’ll be remembered for. However, maybe Canelo is going this route for another reason other than legacy purposes. I
t’s quite possible that Canelo is using the excuse of trying to become an undisputed 168-lb champion as a foxhole to hide in so that he doesn’t fight the opposition that the fans want to see him fight.
Canelo using unification as a FOXHOLE to hide
The reality, Canelo has been playing it safe in his foxhole by fighting Rocky Fielding, Saunders, Avni Yildirim, and Callum Smith. Now Canelo is about to fight safe opponent Plant. It’s smart for Canelo to have taken this route because he’s made a lot of money without risking his health and his record.
Plant has better boxing skills than the 168-lb champions Canelo beat to win his three belts. But what Plant doesn’t possess is stamina and a chin. He gets fatigued after six rounds, and what little power that he has disappears completely.
If you put Plant in with Saunders, Fielding, and Callum, he’d lose to some of them. Saunders and Callum would beat Plant based on power and overall talent.
Plant is a good mover, and he’s going to make it tough for Canelo to get to him. The way that Plant moves are how Saunders used to fight before he got old.
Plant a runner/spoiler
The hardest part for Canelo to beat Plant is trying to catch up to the guy because he will be running around the ring all night. Plant isn’t going to want to have his orbital bone fractured the way Saunders was against Canelo.
Plant gets nervous when he’s pressured and becomes flustered, using up a lot of energy. Go back and watch Plant against Jose Uzcategui. He fought well early on, but only because he was moving all around the ring, avoiding Uzcategui at all costs.
When Plant finally got tired from running, Uzcategui caught up with him in the second half of the fight and repeatedly hurt him. Plant ended up getting beaten up by Uzcategui in the championship rounds, and the only reason he was because of the big lead he built up early.
Plant’s lack of punching power will be his undoing in this fight because he’s not going to be able to hold Canelo off.