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Inside Caleb Plant still lies a bonafide bad-ass—let’s go to the tape

Caleb Plant suffered a cut on his right cheek from his sunglasses, he said, during the melee (Amanda Westcott/SHOWTIME®).
03
Nov

LAS VEGAS – You get the sense that Caleb Plant would like it to go away—far, far away. It’s from another place, in another time for the IBF super middleweight titlist.

A time before the bright lights, and jutting microphones filled his personal space. A time before any thought of making history entered his mind.

On Saturday, “Sweethands” Plant (21-0, 12 knockouts) is fighting to make history when he takes on defending Ring/WBC/WBO/WBA super middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez (56-2-1, 38 KOs) for the undisputed 168-pound championship from the MGM Grand Garden Arena, in Las Vegas, Nevada, on SHOWTIME PPV (9PM ET/6PM PT).

But before any of this happens to Plant, he was a poor kid from Ashland City, Tennessee, one day looking to play a game of hoops with some friends.

Before any of this, Plant was a bonafide bad-ass who wasn’t afraid of anyone or anything, and not afraid to go anywhere.

He was around 19, when the skinny-assed Plant got into a confrontation with a pretty large guy that someone caught on tape.

Here’s the video:

YOUNG CALEB PLANT beats up Wannabe Thug. – YouTube

Plant spoke about it for the first time.

“It was probably around 2010, 2011 when that happened,” Plant recalled. “I was staying with a friend in Ashland City, and it was almost like a camp, getting ready for USA Nationals. Me and my little buddy when to go shoot basketball right down the street from their house, and there was an unfortunate situation that there was a bully there.

“You see what happens when someone stands up to bullies. I honestly don’t remember what section of Ashland City, and I was 19 around then. I was in a handful of fights like that. There are millions of people that have been in a ton of fights.

“By no means will I let anyone bully me, or step to me in a negative way. Someone steps to me incorrectly, once you cross that line, there will be a scuffle. That’s way I was raised. That’s the way my father is and my grandfather is. There is a line there—don’t cross it.”

Plant will have the biggest test of his career this Saturday night. And where someone may not know the deep history of Plant, they can often be confused by what he looks like and the relaxed way he carries himself.

No one, however, Plant stresses, ever confuses him as someone from “the suburbs.”

“I’m from the country, and I tried to mind my business and go about my way, but again, I was raised with when someone crosses that line, and never let anyone run over you,” Plant said. “I don’t really remember what started that fight. That guy stepped into my personal space and that’s what happens.”

Plant said the fight with Alvarez is something that is personal. Anyone in the way of what his goals are and what he wants to achieve, he will make personal.

“Anytime someone puts their hands on you, it’s going to be personal and it’s happened many times in boxing before and many times afterward,” Plant said. “I expect new things from myself (against Alvarez). I’ve been working on my craft. I’ve added new things to my arsenal and sharpened things up. The Caleb Plant you see in one fight is not the same Caleb Plant you’ll see in another fight.”

This fight has not only rekindled Plant’s bad-ass past, it’s forged a new attitude in Alvarez.

“It’s new for me to have this much bad blood with an opponent,” Alvarez said. “It’s very different from normal and it’s definitely the most animosity I’ve had with an opponent heading into a big fight.

“I’m sticking with my prediction of a knockout before round eight. The first couple of rounds will be difficult, but as the fight progresses, I am going to be able to get him out of there.

“I delivered the message I had to at our press conference. I don’t have to say anything else to Plant. I’m just going to prepare to face him in the ring on November 6.”

Plant just smirked.

“He can talk all he wants,” Plant said. “I can’t wait for that bell to ring and get this thing going.”

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.

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