By: Kirk Jackson
“Take up one idea. Make that one idea your life, think of it, dream of it, live on that idea. Let the brain, muscles, nerves, every part of your body, be full of that idea, and just leave every other idea alone. This is the way to success.” – Swami Vivekananda
This process of thinking and life philosophy applies to many people. Two of which, happen to be facing one another for undisputed status this weekend.
The two combatants, dueling in a potentially epic showdown, in which will showcase the culmination of hopes, dreams, hard work, dedication, sacrifice, pain, blood, guts, and glory.
This showcase is the battle between the ruling WBA, WBO, and WBC super-middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KO’s), as he confronts IBF titleholder Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (21-0, 12 KO’s).
Alvarez vs. Plant is significant and historic because the winner will walk away as the unified, undisputed champion at super-middleweight. A rare accomplishment in this era of alphabet belts.
The winner will etch his name in the history books and can start conversations of consideration for the best of all time, specifically as it pertains to this weight class. That distinction, of course, is based on the merit of this accomplishment of unification and undisputed status.
Further expansion of the distinction, of course, depends on other variables; as time pushes forward and actions unfold. Perhaps this will be a discussion reserved for a later time. While at present, we can review how each fighter arrived at this moment.
Alvarez is regarded as the favorite, mainly due to his resume of opposition and familiarity with the public and boxing audiences.
Heading into the weekend, Alvarez defeated 16 opponents (9 by KO’s) in world title fights and is 15-1-1 (6 KO’s) against former, current, and future world champions. We won’t discuss the full context of each fight and fighter for now, but the list includes:
Wins against Miguel Vazquez (twice), Carlos Manuel Baldomir, Lovemore N’dou, Kermit Cintron, Shane Mosley, Erislandy Lara, Miguel Angel Cotto, Amir Khan, Liam Smith, Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, Gennady Golovkin, Daniel Jacobs, Sergey Kovalev, Callum Smith & Billy Joe Saunders.
The sole defeat for Alvarez was against lost against Floyd Mayweather and Alvarez drew against Gennady Golovkin in their first bout.
Just off names and appearance alone, that’s a gaudy resume, right? Albeit context matters.
Also, in terms of accomplishment, Alvarez is a champion across four different weight classes and is listed as the second boxer to hold world titles in three different weight divisions simultaneously.
He was the Lineal Champion at middleweight after defeating Golovkin in September of 2018, The Ring Magazine/WBA Champion at super-middleweight after defeating Rocky Fielding in December of 2018, and he acquired the WBO title at light-heavyweight after defeating Kovalev in November of 2019.
Also, in aiming to knock off another undefeated fighter as he prepares for Plant this weekend, Alvarez to this point, previously defeated seven undefeated opponents with ten or more bouts.
That list includes Gabriel Martinez, Euri Gonzalez, Austin Trout, Liam Smith, Gennady Golovkin, Callum Smith & Billy Joe Saunders.
He punches with power and precision, possessing cat-like reflexes regarding his upper body fluidity and dexterity. Alvarez operates with such expertise, garnering respect from his friendly peers and competitors alike, with regard to his skill level inside the ring. Simply put, he’s an exceptional fighter.
While Plant is regarded as a huge underdog, this may not truly be an accurate reflection of his skill and assessment of his talents. While he has not collected the same accolades as Alvarez or faced the same level of opposition, he is an elite fighter, a world champion, and worthy of that distinction and respect.
As an amateur fighter, Plant was a National Champion, Golden Gloves at 165 lbs., in addition to being a 2012 US Olympic Boxing Team-Alternate.
As a professional, he is 2-0 (0 KO’s) against former, current, and future world titlists, in addition to being 3-0 (1 KO’s) in world title fights.
If you take the time to look into Plant’s life, regarding the trials and tribulations he had to endure and ultimately overcome, it would be easy to see why to root for him. One of the common traits with boxing, which makes the sport so compelling, is the backstory of the fighter.
The piles of pain they go through, which in some cases, pushes them to a point of overcoming their situations despite the struggle. As viewers, we can all relate to that. That’s one of the humanizing elements of the sport transcending beyond business.
It’s understood fights are not won-off emotions. How do you use the emotional distress and harness that into becoming the best fighter possible?
Alvarez is known for his mantra, “No boxing, no life.” It’s self-explanatory.
Reviewing Alvarez’s body of work and acquiring a glimpse at his day-to-day work ethic and routines – courtesy of YouTube and other media outlets, it’s clear to see the passion and dedication Alvarez has for boxing.
“Even harder than getting to the top is staying there,” Alvarez said in recent weeks. “That’s why I try to get better each and every day. That’s what I’ve been trying to do from my first fight up until now.”
This is the same vigor, greats such as Floyd Mayweather, Manny Pacquiao, and others have displayed to catapult themselves to the top position of the sport. And to maintain it for the longest time possible for that matter. Not just being the champion, but being one of the best, if not the best to ever do it. That’s the proclamation.
However, Plant has his own assertions of prominence and what it takes to reach the highest level and where he sees himself. The native from Tennessee is no stranger to the rigors of constant training and perfection of his craft inside the ring.
“I have conquered things way bigger than boxing, things that would chew Alvarez up and spit him out and I’ve come out of it with my chin up,” Plant told Showtime’s “All Access” cameras ahead of the fight.
“He (Alvarez) knows what he has got in front of him. He’s just another guy to me. He’s used to people coming in and just bowing down to him and handing over their belt and being happy for their check or whatever. I don’t give a shit about none of that. That’s not why I am here or why I fight.”
As they battle for supremacy this weekend, who’s ideology will reign true?
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