By: Sean Crose
Boxing’s most illustrious practitioner will return to the ring this Saturday night in search of more belts and prestige. For the main event of this weekend’s pay per view card at the MGM Grand Garden Resort and Casino will feature none other than future Hall of Famer Canelo Alvarez, 56-1-2. The red haired star’s opponent? The undefeated Caleb Plant, 21-0. The bout is a major one for each man, as the undisputed super middleweight champion of the world is at stake. Plant holds the division’s IBF strap while Canelo holds the WBA, WBC, and WBO title belts. Throw in the fact that these men don’t seem to like each other and things get interesting.
Make no mistake about it, though, Canelo is the heavy, the very heavy, favorite walking in here. And why wouldn’t he be? Here is a man who has bested Erislandy Lara, Miguel Cotto, Gennady Golovkin, Amir Khan, Sergey Kovalev, Daniel Jacobs, Billie Joe Saunders, and Callum Smith. The one blemish on Canelo’s resume is a 2013 loss to all time great Floyd Mayweather, and Canelo’s game has improved by leaps and bounds since that time. At 31 years of age, he now stands tall as both a power puncher and a boxer. Canelo is also extremely patient, willing to let opponents perform well until the time is right to strike.
As for the 29 year old plant, not all that long ago, the Tennessee native would have been referred to as a “Scientific Fighter.” He may not be a power shot dynamo, but Plant is skilled. He’s also extremely disciplined in the ring, allowing himself to land without being landed on. What’s more, Plant is DRIVEN. Just watching footage of the man in camp shows fans what kind of laser like focus he brings to his craft.
The question is, can Plant’s slippery skill set get him past Canelo? Saunders had a slippery skill set, yet in his last time in the ring, Canelo gave the man a beating. Floyd Mayweather was certainly smooth enough to frustrate Canelo, but he was an all time great – plus Canelo was far younger and less experienced than he is now. It seems Plant’s only chance of winning this weekend is to get and keep Canelo off whatever game plan Canelo trainer Eddie Reynoso is employing.
That will be hard to do. For Canelo is infinitely patient in the ring. What’s more, he’ll let rounds go by, only landing a few good shots, but knowing those few shots of his can really take their toll and set up an successful assault later. Perhaps more than anything else, Canelo is EXPERIENCED. He’s fought all kinds of fighters – and at the highest of levels. So no, Plant’s chances don’t look good on Saturday night.
But chances are not guarantees to success. If Plant can make the most of his own chances on Saturday, the night, and the upset, may belong to him.
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