Talk Sport said ‘This is undoubtedly a step up in quality for the American and many consider him the vast underdog in this encounter.’ King Canelo Àlvarez?
‘He might be a better pure boxer. But Àlvarez has plenty of other advantages that have made him a huge favorite entering Saturday night’s undisputed super middleweight champion fight’ said Forbes. Ah, King Àlvarez is perhaps about to be crowned.
King Canelo will achieve his coronation on Saturday, it was thought.
Been There, Done That?
At least Talk Sport said Plant might give Canelo Àlvarez some problems. The general feel was that this was the last hurdle for Canelo to become the King at 168 and perhaps move up in weight.
There was a little feeling of looking past the fight. That may be why they had to have the shenanigans at the press conference. When a fight needs hype, that often happens.
Àlvarez is a brilliant fighter. He has the trinity, techincal skills, power and self belief. Nothing phases him. Usually.
This time the comments from Plant about his mother got to him. And that added extra sauce.
The fight needed it. It needed to be more than just another example of Canelo’s greatness.
Not The Fight Many Expected
Canelo starts slowly. We know that. Mauro Ranallo on commentary talked of him stepping up at the start of the 4th.
Except that here he started to do that in the first.
Plant established his good foot speed and jab early on, Canelo went after him, to the body. It was a good 3 minutes which continued with some spirited trading in the next.
Àlzarez seemed to be whipping up flurries of punches whilst Plant kept to his good movement and claimed the centre of the ring.
Although the Mexican fighter was picking the head and body, alternating well, his opponent fired back.
Whilst Plant’s jab was keeping Àlvarez at bay, it was clear this was a brittle truce, in the 4th he shipped a beautifully accurate left hook.
Canelo ground it out and ground him down. Not that his work was moribund or attritional, It’s just that the coming forward, the power in the punches takes its toll.
But Caleb Plant wasn’t downhearted, he even tried a fast combo of his own.
They mainly landed on gloves in the 6th as Canelo feinted and picked his shots. Caleb saw that and tried himself at the head of the 7th.
By this time Àlvarez was pushing the pressure, but Plant was game, connecting with a nice right hand counter then feeling a hook.
Canelo even did his rope a dope type manoeuvre, talking to Plant, the commentary team keen to see what he was setting him up for.
Nothing. And I thought it looked like a bit of frustration. After all, Àlvarez had apparently called for a KO by the 8th.
That round showed Plant wasn’t lacking the movement but he was forgetting the jab with which he’d had some success earlier on.
Àlvarez was pushing the fight now, picking his punches nicely inside too, cutting off the ring and going after his opponent.
The 9th was probably the round where Àlvarez let his hands go. That sounds strange, but he seemed to have been boxing well within himself up till now.
And then a lovely, fast Plant combo backed him up; the slo mo showed he took most of them on this gloves, but he backed away with a face which said ‘how dare you?’
The constant pressure and regular power punches were having their effect though and set up the Àlvarez win in the 11th.
It came first from a body punch, it seemed, but Plant was down and discombobulated, in survival mode immediately.
Then down a second time from a couple of shots which landed. He seemed to be done from the damage those punches had done rather than one shot.
Was It A Good Fight?
It wasn’t a spectacle. But Plant believed in his hand speed and footwork.
That made him bring it. Canelo Àlvarez is seldom flashy, in fact some regard him as a little robotic, but here he had to work.
Good job that’s what he likes to do. The tactics seemed simple. Ease your way in. Your shot selection and power are better. You have too much for him.
That was right.
This was a fight for those who like boxing, not razzmatazz. Hopefully there are still some of us out there.
Where Does Plant Go Next?
Yeah. Let’s not forget him. He didn’t allow the hooplah and attempts to write him off. He believed in himself.
And then he brought it. It wasn’t one sided. It was clear as the fight progressed that Àlvarez was going through the gears and Plant couldn’t, but he hung with him.
He has nothing to be ashamed of. Nor did he look badly beat up. Caleb Plant’s record is burnished with this loss.
Sounds odd, but to take it to such a boxing machine as Canelo Àlvarez and to make him think twice is more than so many have done.
No one is saying ‘Caleb who?’ now.
He’s the king at 168. So will he move uo to 175? To fight Bivol or Beterbiev?
Some say he is ducking David Benavidez at 168, who could give him a tricky fight.
But what does Canelo Àlvarez have to prove now at that weight? Yes, some say recent opponents, who he has fought in short periods, have been below his skill.
But you can only fight who is in front of you and another fight at 168 may be a step back.
So, moving up to 175. Oh, before we do, just one thing.
Jermall Charlo. Currently ranked behind Golovkin (I’ll wait whilst people tell me another Canelo/Gennady fight would be tasty), this fighter has a long reach and a jab which could trouble the Mexican.
Bivol or Beterbiev? At light heavy, Bivol has the patchier recent record and Beterbiev has KO’d all his opponents; the latter fight is by far the tastiest, power with power.
If Àlvarez keeps his power when he moves up. Or if he can keep it when men his size are pulling him into gruelling fights?
It’s intriguing and presents a real challenge. Canelo had better smell the roses whilst he may. Things are going to get a lot tougher.