By: Hans Themistode
The footsteps of Caleb Plant are noticeable when he walks into an gym to get started on his workouts. He screams when he hits the heavy bag and hollers when he works on his defensive movement. Even the sweat that falls from his body can be heard. Yet, that isn’t the only thing that he hears.
With the IBF super-middleweight titleholder roughly two months away from taking on unified 168-pound titlist Canelo Alvarez for a chance to become the division’s first undisputed world champion, Plant hears the doubters in the background.
Whether it’s media pundits, diehard fans, or simply casuals, the overwhelming majority believe that Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) simply has no chance come November 6th. Although he believes no one is in his corner, Plant is comforted when he takes a look at the track record of the so-called “experts.”
“You guys have made plenty of fight predictions before and you guys have been wrong,” said Plant during an interview with several reporters. “You know how many times I’ve been wrong? None.”
Plant, 29, is in the midst of a two and a half year title reign. Heading into what was the biggest fight of his career thus far, the Nashville, Tennessee native heard similar talk. Jose Uzcategui, the heavy-handed former titlist hit the canvas a total of two times before Plant ultimately ran away with the unanimous decision victory in January of 2019. Since then, he’s gone on to stop two of his past three opponents.
But while Plant still sports an undefeated record, Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) is considered by most to be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. The Mexican star has made it his mission to rid the division of the other 168 pound titleholders.
In December of 2019, Alvarez easily defeated former WBA champion, Callum Smith. He then followed that up with back-to-back stoppages against mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim, and former WBO belt holder, Billy Joe Saunders, forcing him to remain on his stool for the beginning of the ninth round and placing his boxing future in doubt.
Considering that Alvarez is a four-division world champion and has consistently faced some of boxing’s very best, the 31-year-old is viewed as having little to no trouble in handling the IBF titlist.
Plant though, has heard it all before. From naysayers doubting his chances to win against Uzcategui, to others believing he has no future in the sport at all. The more they continue to overlook him, the more his own self-belief grows.
“Ever since I started boxing from the first tournament that I went to, people telling me what I can be or can’t be. I don’t belong in this sport, I’m never going to become a world champion. It seemed as though the more people told me I couldn’t do, the more that I believed in myself. At this point, I feel like I’m even more right. I’m just ready to fight.”
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