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Fight Picks: Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant

Photo by Ronald Martinez/ Getty Images
02
Nov

On Saturday, boxing’s biggest star Canelo Alvarez seeks to defend his Ring Magazine, WBA, WBC and WBO super middleweight titles in a unification bout with unbeaten IBF counterpart Caleb Plant at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

The super middleweight showdown will be broadcast on Showtime pay-per-view in the U.S., beginning at 9:00 p.m. ET/ 6:00 p.m. PT.

Canelo boasts a cache of standout wins over Shane Mosley (UD 12), Austin Trout (UD 12), Erislandy Lara (SD 12), Miguel Cotto (UD 12), Gennadiy Golovkin (MD 12), Daniel Jacobs (UD 12), Sergey Kovalev (KO 11), Callum Smith (UD 12) and Billy Joe Saunders (RTD 8). The 31-years-old is a modern day great, having captured world titles at junior middleweight, middleweight, super middleweight and light heavyweight. He is now one win away from becoming the undisputed super middleweight champion.

Plant, who is rated No. 2 by The Ring at 168 pounds, won the IBF super middleweight title by dropping and comprehensively outboxing Jose Uzcategui (UD 12) in January 2019. The 29-year-old Nashville-born fighter has since tallied three ordinary title defenses against Mike Lee (TKO 3), Vincent Feigenbutz (TKO 10) and former titleholder Caleb Truax (UD 12).

How will Canelo (56-1-2, 38 knockouts) offset Plant’s height and reach advantages? Does Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) have enough power to keep Canelo at the end of his jab? Will the cut that opened under Plant’s right eye during the press conference melee re-open during the fight? How will Plant handle the big occasion?

Online gambling group William Hill lists Canelo as an 1/12 (-1200) favorite, while Plant is priced at 13/2 (+650); the draw is 22/1 (+2200).

Here’s how the experts see it:

THE RING MAGAZINE/RINGTV.COM

Canelo’s timing and crunching power shots trumped Saunders’ slickness and finesse. Photo by Ed Mulholland/ Matchroom

TOM GRAY: CANELO TKO 10
“I like Plant; he’s got a lot of tools and he’s a passionate fighter. I just don’t think he has anything that Canelo hasn’t seen before. I foresee him presenting a mobile target early on, but Canelo is so good at threading home counters that Plant is likely to become discouraged when that style doesn’t work for him. When he comes off his toes, Canelo will find the target more often and the damage will start to mount. I think Plant will need saved from himself after a fairly one-sided fight. Canelo is brilliant and he’s only getting better.”

ANSON WAINWRIGHT: CANELO TKO 10
“Plant should pose Canelo with some trouble due to his educated jab, footwork, size and confidence. However, this represents a significant step up for him. Plant isn’t facing a top contender or rival champion, he’s facing pound-for-pound the best in the world. I thought Callum Smith’s size would pose Canelo trouble. It didn’t, he negated it and was much too good for the Brit. So, while I think Plant will have moments, as the fight goes into the second half Canelo will start to walk him backwards more and more and stop the American late. Canelo in 10 rounds.”

LEE GROVES: CANELO TKO 10
“Plant’s best hope is to impose a faster pace than the methodical Alvarez wants and keep him at the end of a busy and accurate jab from start to finish. But Alvarez has a terrific history against tall, rangy fighters like Plant, and while it may take him a few rounds to assess data and to warm up his engine, his heavy hands will eventually get the best of ‘Sweet Hands.’”

MICHAEL WOODS: CANELO TKO
“It’s a nice feeling and it helps build brand buzz when you pile up win after win and get to 20-0, then 21-0, like Caleb Plant did. But when the foes you are beating are not A-grade so much, that way of doing things does you no favors when you get a step-up fight. Canelo is a two-step up fight for Plant, and it will show on November 6. Expect Canelo to be slightly less methodical for as long as he usually is because Plant has pissed him off slightly. That means stoppage for Alvarez, Round 6 or earlier.”

MARTY MULCAHEY: CANELO UD
“Caleb Plant has the toolset to trouble Saul Alvarez early, but like most of Alvarez’s opponents he lacks the firepower to keep Alvarez at bay to prevent being walked down and bullied into submission. Yes, Plant has quality footwork but he won’t win a decision with his feet alone. Alvarez begins to shorten the distance, cutting off the ring, and land hooks to go along with his underrated jab at dramatically higher percentage from the fifth round on. I do think Plant has the wherewithal to go the distance, but he loses on the cards in the 116-112 range.”

MICHAEL MONTERO: CANELO UD
“Skills pay the bills, and experience matters. Plant is taller, longer and has never tasted defeat, but he is yet to face an elite-level fighter. The gap in experience here is immense. It would be a moral victory for Plant to hear the final bell. The Nashville native has been cut before, but as long as his skin holds up against Canelo, I believe he’s got enough moxy to go the distance. I like Canelo wide on points, although it wouldn’t surprise me to see one judge score it way too close.”

NORM FRAUENHEIM: CANELO TKO 10
“Canelo Alvarez’ last two opponents were left battered in punishing exhibitions that ended with each sitting on their stool in surrender. Call it the beginning of a trend, one that figures to continue. Caleb Plant is lot more skilled than an overmatched Avni Yildirim, who quit at the end of three. He’s tougher than Billy Joe Saunders, whose corner threw in the towel after eight. Like Yildirim and Saunders, however, he has no answer for Canelo’s patient, methodical way of breaking down anybody who doesn’t have enough power to make him wary. Once Canelo discovers Plant can’t hurt him, he’ll walk him down, wear him out and leave another challenger on the stool, beaten in a late round.”

RON BORGES: CANELO TKO 9
“Caleb is a nice fellow and a decent professional fighter but he is going to get planted by Canelo Alvarez, who is bigger, stronger, faster, more talented and more resilient. Plant can box and so it is likely it will take a few rounds for Alvarez to wear him down but like the sea constantly slapping into a seawall eventually he will crack the foundation and Plant will succumb. Alvarez by ninth round TKO.”

BOXING INSIDERS

Caleb Plant (left) takes it to Vincent Feigenbutz. Photo by Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions

Caleb Plant (left) takes it to Vincent Feigenbutz. Photo by Stephanie Trapp/ TGB Promotions

DAVID BENAVIDEZ (TWO-TIME SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT TITLEHOLDER): CANELO TKO
“At first, I thought it was going to be an easy fight for Canelo, but seeing the way Caleb Plant moves, he can probably give Canelo problems in the beginning. Overall, I feel Canelo is a better fighter, and I don’t think Caleb Plant has the punching power to keep him off. I think it’s going to be a good fight for the first couple of rounds but ultimately the experience, the bodyshots and the power of Canelo will take over. I think Canelo will get him out in the ninth or 10th round.”

RAUL MARQUEZ (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/COMMENTATOR): CANELO TKO
“Plant is a good technician – tall and rangy. His style will give Canelo some problems in the first half of the fight. Canelo needs to invest with a consistent body attack early on. He definitely needs to make the fight. I believe Canelo will close the gap in the later rounds and get the TKO win.”

FELIX STURM (FORMER SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT WORLD CHAMPION): CANELO
“Canelo is the king of boxing, he’s the face of boxing. He’s fought and beat the best of the best. He has big belief in himself and his skills. He has a great team and is always in great shape. It looks like he trains very, very hard every single training. Plant is a great fighter, he has great skills, I like his style because he’s fast, he’s smart, he moves around the opponent. I think his power is underrated; I think he has power because he is fast. It’s a big motivation to fight against the best and he has a chance to become an overnight, worldwide superstar. This was my motivation against Oscar [De La Hoya]. I think it will be an interesting fight. I think the power will be on the side of Canelo; he will pressure Plant, but I believe Plant has a realistic chance to beat him. I would say 60-40 Canelo.”

CAMILLE ESTEPHAN (PROMOTER, EYE OF THE TIGER PROMOTIONS): CANELO KO
“Plant has an excellent jab, is a very good boxer and can move well, but I think, ultimately, Canelo gets on the inside with his quick feet. Canelo has a great boxing IQ. I think he outsmarts Plant for a big win. I think Canelo wins via late knockout.”

KATHY DUVA (PROMOTER, MAIN EVENTS): CANELO TKO 7
“While Plant is a very good young fighter, Canelo is simply on a different level due to his experience. Canelo has learned to be patient and break his opponents down methodically. And I expect he will do the same to Plant, who does not seem to have the punching power that he would need to keep Canelo off of him. Canelo has promised that he will end the fight before Round 8. And because Plant has been taunting him, I expect that Canelo will take his time and extend the punishment. So, I pick Canelo by stoppage in Round 7.”

JOLENE MIZZONE (MATCHMAKER, MAIN EVENTS): CANELO TKO 7
“I think Plant can fight, but he has not fought the competition that Canelo fought – it doesn’t even compare. Canelo is one of the few fighters that go into every fight with a game plan and they will have the right plan to break Plant down. Some people think it is a closer fight than many of us think, but I just don’t see it. Canelo Alvarez by TKO 7.”

ROBERT DIAZ (MATCHMAKER, GOLDEN BOY): CANELO TKO 8
“This is a very important fight for Canelo for historical reasons. Much is always said that he has trouble with boxers and elusive fighters and they mention Floyd [Mayweather] and Lara. What is always forgotten is how long ago that was. Canelo improves in every fight and at this point in his career he is in his prime. You add experience to his prime and you add discipline to that and you have pound-for-pound the best fighter today. There is nothing Caleb brings to the table that Canelo hasn’t seen. He has faced punchers, taller opponents, boxers. Caleb will soon find out how strong Canelo is, how difficult it is to hit him clean and how good he cuts the ring. In the end he doesn’t have the fire power to gain respect. Canelo TKO 8.”

ALEX STEEDMAN (COMMENTATOR): CANELO KO
“Ever since this fight was announced I’ve felt it’s a great match up for Canelo. The angry spat between the pair at the initial presser will only intensify the motivation for Alvarez. Plant has the speed and skills to make Canelo work and think but for me, his feet don’t operate as quickly as his hands or head. That and Plant’s low hand style should present an open target for Canelo at some stage. I’m thinking something along the lines of Canelo versus Khan with Canelo winning spectacularly. In fact, I’m unusually confident about that.”

DAVID LEMIEUX (SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT CONTENDER):
“I think Plant is a good fighter who moves well and has decent punching power but Canelo is in another league. I don’t see a guy like Caleb Plant giving Canelo any kind of difficulty in the ring. Canelo has beaten better opposition than Caleb in the past. Canelo is too strong for Plant. My prediction for this fight is Canelo by KO around the fifth round.”

JOHN SCULLY (TRAINER):
“I really like Plant and love his attitude. He’s putting himself out there and I think he’s going to bring it 100 percent. I wouldn’t even mind seeing him win but if I was a betting man, I would have to go with the favorite. Canelo by a 12-round decision in a good fight.”

WAYNE MCCULLOUGH (FORMER WORLD CHAMPION/ TRAINER): CANELO TKO 10
“Plant will have to stand his ground if he wants to stand a chance of winning against Canelo. He is the bigger of the two, so he’ll need to use his extra height to back Canelo up and hit him with short, hard punches to his head and body, but Canelo will try to force him back. On the other hand, Canelo will have no problem if Plant goes backwards. He will hit Plant’s body hard with left and right hooks and then come over the top with overhand rights to his head. I think Canelo will break down Plant and maybe force a late stoppage around the 10th round.”

TONY TOLJ (MANAGER): CANELO TKO 8
“Firstly, full credit to both fighters. I love seeing the divisions unified from a fan’s perspective. Now down to the business of boxing: Caleb is the final chapter for Canelo in the super middleweight division. With 12 KOs from 21 starts, I believe Plant will be durable, but we will see the levels between a world champion and a pound-for-pound champion. I still find it crazy that Canelo is still only 31 years of age and still getting better and I believe November 6th, you will see him elevate himself to another level. Canelo TKO 8.”

FINAL TALLY: Canelo 20-0

 

Questions and/or comments can be sent to Anson at [email protected] and you can follow him on Twitter @AnsonWainwright

 

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