Dougie’s Monday Mailbag (Canelo-Plant feedback. Is Canelo an ATG?)
IS CANELO AN ATG?
Congratulations for your induction to the West Coast Boxing Hall of Fame. Surely, there are many others to come!
Well, I always had my doubts about Canelo. To me, he clearly lost the first GGG fight (saw him winning the second by one point) and deserved not more than draws against Lara and Trout. And there’s the tainted meat thing, the fact he refused to take GGG when the Kazakh was in his prime, etc.
But I’m still a rational guy, and I really love boxing. I can’t deny facts. And the fact is that, with the retirement of Manny Pacquiao, Canelo has now the best resume (by FAR) amongst the active fighters. Despite my point of view about the fights I mentioned above (GGG 1, Lara and Trout), Canelo was very competitive in all of them. The only fighter capable of outclass Canelo was Mayweather (an ATG on my eyes). Canelo beat a lot of good names, including Cotto and the great Mosley (they were fading, but the fact is Canelo beat both), Golovkin, Jacobs, Callum Smith, Kovalev, Saunders, and now Plant. What a run he had since 2017, huh?
Canelo is amazing, and it seems he’s still improving. I truly believe this version of Canelo would beat the GGG who fought him in the first fight. He has an ATG chin, and I believe he would give hell to any other middleweight or super middleweight in history (though I believe the greats Robinson, Greb, Monzón, Hagler and Leonard would beat him).
Well, let me tell you, Canelo is on the path to greatness, and he still has 4 or 5 years to add a LOT of scalps to his collection.
And I think it’s about time for us to include the name of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez in the all-time great conversation. – Andre, Brasil
Thanks for the kind words on my WCBHOF induction. Canelo is still forging his legacy, which is already hall of fame worthy (and I’m, of course, talking about the INTERNATIONAL BHOF). I think it’s still too soon to consider him an all-time great (although I admit that my criteria for that lofty status is a lot tougher than other fans/media/pundits/historians), but as you stated, he’s in the conversation. He’s headed in the ATG direction, as long as he keeps doing what he’s doing now, which is keep an active schedule vs. quality opposition and continue to make history (this time it was becoming the first undisputed champion in the 168-pound division). Anyway, let’s not worry about his ATG status right now, let’s just be satisfied with calling him the pound-for-pound king and the undisputed super middleweight champ.
I can’t deny facts. Why would you want to?
And the fact is that, with the retirement of Manny Pacquiao, Canelo has now the best resume (by FAR) amongst the active fighters. I agree.
Despite my point of view about the fights I mentioned above (GGG 1, Lara and Trout), Canelo was very competitive in all of them. Indeed, and he gained invaluable experience in those fights, knowledge he now uses to break down difficult stylists like Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant.
The only fighter capable of outclassing Canelo was Mayweather (an ATG on my eyes). No shame in that, and The Ginger King had just turned 23 shortly after barely proving himself to be a legit 154-pound champ (by outpointing Trout, which I thought he did legitimately).
Canelo beat a lot of good names, including Cotto and the great Mosley (they were fading, but the fact is Canelo beat both), Golovkin, Jacobs, Callum Smith, Kovalev, Saunders, and now Plant. What a run he had since 2017, huh? In that time, Canelo evolved from a world-class fighter into an elite-level boxer, a legit champion worthy of the top three of the pound-for-pound rankings. During the same time frame, Plant was graduating from prospect to world titleholder to top-three-rated super middleweight vs. Porky Medina, Jose Uzcategui, Mike Lee (a total “gimme”), Vincent Feigenbutz and Caleb Truax. The difference in their experience and the level of their competition was ultimately what separated Canelo from Plant during the fight.
Canelo is amazing, and it seems he’s still improving. He hasn’t plateaued yet, although I wonder if he’s close to hitting his ceiling if he isn’t challenged by a fellow-elite fighter or at least a different kind of style. We might see more of Canelo’s style range and toolbox if and when we see him in with a fighter strong enough (in body and mind) to take the fight to him and stay in his grill.
I truly believe this version of Canelo would beat the GGG who fought him in the first fight. Probably, but I think the educated ram-rod jab of even the 2017/2018 version of Golovkin troubles the super middleweight version of Canelo.
He has an ATG chin, and I believe he would give hell to any other middleweight or super middleweight in history (though I believe the greats Robinson, Greb, Monzón, Hagler and Leonard would beat him). Bruh, you don’t have to go back that far to find elite-level middleweights/super middleweights that could beat Canelo. Roy Jones Jr., James Toney, Mike McCallum, Bernard Hopkins, Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank Sr., Julian Jackson, Gerald McClellan, Joe Calzaghe, Carl Froch, Andre Ward, Jermain Taylor, Kelly Pavlik, Sergio Martinez and Mikkell Kessler would all give “The Great Cinnamon” hell (some would absolutely send him to hell). I’m not saying Canelo couldn’t beat some of these former champs, but none of them would be intimidated by him.
PLANT’S PERFORMANCE, CANELO’S PLACEMENT
What are your thoughts on the fight between Canelo and Caleb Plant? Do you believe Canelo is an ATG? ATG Mexican warrior? Both?
And what did you think of Caleb Plant’s showing? Most folks say he did his best, but he was in over his head… agree? – Gregory
I agree, and that was to be expected given Plant’s experience, quality of opposition and relative inactivity. Having said that, I thought he boxed his ass off. That was the best performance I’ve seen from Plant, who wasn’t as slick as he looked against lesser opponents but was very crafty and incredibly tough. I knew he’d last into the late rounds. Apart from having world-class lateral movement, which slows down the amount of punishment Canelo dishes out per round, Plant is a fiercely proud man. It would take Canelo most of the fight to break his body, but the Mexican star was never going to break his will.
What are your thoughts on the fight between Canelo and Caleb Plant? I thought it was compelling and entertaining, but not as competitive as some observers believed it to be. I thought Canelo was in command from the opening bell. It pretty much went the way I thought it would.
Do you believe Canelo is an ATG? No, not yet, but that’s the current trajectory of his career.
ATG Mexican warrior? He’s hands-down one of the most accomplished boxers ever from Mexico, and I think most fans and media would include him among Mexico’s all-time top 10 or top five.
I watched the UK coverage of this fight at silly o’clock this morning. The commentators, pundits, ex-fighters, sports writers, all had Plant up by a round or two at the time of the stoppage. Over here, the post-fight studio talk was how Alvarez did the champion thing and ‘pulled it out of the bag’, in a fight he was losing on points. I personally scored it even; I thought Plant made Alvarez miss most of the time, despite the crowd cheering every time Canelo put one foot in front or behind the other.
This morning, the US post fight reviews imply Alvarez used Plant like a heavy bag for 10 rounds before deciding to put an end to it. The judges’ scores suggest a one-sided fight. How can fights be viewed so differently on opposite sides of the pond? I remember the same thing with the Alvarez-Saunders fight: That was described by as a total shutdown/beatdown. Although my recollection was an uneventful and boring walkabout until Saunders’ freak injury.
If you publish this email, I imagine I will get slagged off in the comments by Canelo’s countless nut-huggers but hey-ho. Cheers. – Alfred, UK.
Canelo’s got almost as many haters as he does nut-huggers, so you might wind up with more than a few #salty supporters in the comment section.
Anyway, any time Canelo faces a stick-and-move boxer with a busy jab, we’ll have a wide disparity in the official scorecards of the judges and certainly among the unofficial scores of the fans and media. Canelo is a stalking, low-volume puncher who’s got great leverage, timing and accuracy but often neglects his jab and doesn’t cut the ring off. So, while he’s very good at applying mental pressure on his opponents as he gradually inflicts physical damage, he can be outworked and outmaneuvered (at least until his punishment takes its toll) by world-class boxers who employ constant lateral movement and who work their jabs overtime.
Versus Plant, the folks who scored the first three or four rounds for Plant thought the American underdog made Canelo miss most of his punches while peppering him with jabs. Those who scored those rounds (or most of those rounds) for Canelo thought the Mexican star inflicted more damage with the few body shots he landed while blocking or parrying most of Plant’s jabs. Which fighter was “controlling” the pace/tempo/distance of the fight was a matter of opinion. I thought Canelo was in command, so my scorecard looked a lot more like Showtime’s unofficial judge Steve Farhood’s than my Ring colleague Tom Gray’s.
For the record, I thought Canelo’s pressure and body attack was enough to legitimately (but narrowly) outpoint Erislandy Lara back in 2014, and I had him comfortably ahead at the time of his stoppages of Kovalev, Saunders and Plant. However, I thought Amir Khan was ahead on points before Canelo put him to sleep in 2016. So, there ya go. I had no problem with those who thought Canelo was in command and ahead on points after five rounds with the undersized former 140-pound titleholder.
As for the difference in how the UK “commentators, pundits, ex-fighters, sports writers” viewed/scored the fight from their U.S. counterparts, I don’t really have an answer other than maybe we’re a little more blood thirsty over here in good-ole ’Merica. We’ll take gut-busting, bone-breaking physical damage over the finer points of the Sweet Science.
But can I ask you (and anyone else making a big deal about the scorecards at the time of the stoppage) a serious question? Why do the scorecards – official or unofficial – matter? Plant got knocked out. Canelo scored that KO. That means whatever Plant did – regardless of how well or effectively you thought he was doing it – ultimately did not work. Whatever Canelo was doing ultimately prevailed. Two runners compete in a one-mile (1600-meter) race on a 400-meter track. Runner A blasts out of the blocks practically sprinting at a 4-minute mile pace but hits the wall and collapses after three laps. Runner B takes a more measured 5-minute mile pace maybe accelerating into 4:30 pace after two laps and finishes the race. Does it really matter that Runner A had a huge lead at the halfway point and after three laps? He obviously ran at the wrong pace. Going out that hard was the wrong strategy for him and he couldn’t finish the race. Runner B ran had the right tactics and won the race. Do you think Runner B’s coach or teammates would be pounding their chests: “Our guy was winning handily before he nearly suffered that heart attack!”?No. They’d candidly tell him: “Hey, learn from this.”
Hope you the family and team are keeping well.
It was all but inevitable the result from Saturday night.
Was Plant more durable than expected, or do you think Canelo was more measured and patient for the TKO?
I felt that Canelo could have stepped on the gas a few rounds earlier and nothing Plant show me, to that point, suggested it wouldn’t work.
I thought Plant did better than expected. He seemed to use his longer reach to his advantage at times with success, but as said all too many times, nothing Canelo hasn’t seen before.
How do you rate Plant’s performance?
I think we need to step back and acknowledge what Canelo has achieved. Within a year fighting 4 times and beating three previously undefeated fighters in Smith, Saunders and now Plant is truly astonishing for an elite fighter in the modern age when we’ve had years of BS (not mentioning any names) of fighters picking and choosing and fighting once a year. He should be applauded.
So what next? Like with any undisputed champ at any weight it’s a nightmare to keep all the belts facing off all mandatory commitments and keeping sanctioning bodies happy. So as Canelo campaigns at Middleweight, Super-Middleweight and Light-Heavyweight it’s gonna be almost impossible for him to keep and defend all the titles. Although who’s left a Super-Middleweight to test himself against?
The fights I’d love to see him in are Beterbiev, Bivol and of course GGG.
My completely unbiased boxing fan view is to have Canelo Vs GGG in London to put to aside any questions about judging in the US. It would sell out Wembley stadium twice over! Wishful thinking but maybe Uncle Eddie can make it happen.
Why and where do you think he would aim at next?
On a serious note, do you think Canelo should test the waters at 200lb? Considering some of his fight weights, he isn’t far off. The height might be a concern, but again nothing he hasn’t had to deal with before. If I was a 200lb fighter I’d be nervous looking at the way Canelo dealt with Kovalev, even if it was down at 175lb.
Consider his age, number of fights, where he is in his carrier, and the talks of going down as one of the best ever. What do you think?
Canelo Vs Nigel Benn
Canelo Vs Eubank (Senior)
Canelo Vs SRL at 160
Blade Vs Wolverine
Keep up the good work! – Tabraze, London
I’ll go with Canelo over Benn by decision or late stoppage in a terrific fight, Canelo by controversial decision in a low-volume difficult-to-score MD over Eubank, Leonard by close UD in a great fight, and Wolvie by MD in a boxing match (especially a 15-rounder; I’ll go with Blade in a street fight if weapons are allowed).
Considering Canelo’s age (31), number of fights (60), and where he is in his career (four-division titleholder, undisputed super middleweight champ, P4P No. 1, biggest boxing star in North America, and maybe the 2021 Fighter of the Year), it’s safe to say that The Ginger King is a f__king marvel and the face of the sport. But talk of him going down as “The Best Ever” are premature. He’s got more mountains to climb before he can claim that status, and he’d be the first to tell you this.
It was all but inevitable the result from Saturday night. A late stoppage is what the majority of the media predicted.
Was Plant more durable than expected, or do you think Canelo was more measured and patient for the TKO? Plant was as tough as I thought he would be. Canelo was a little more one-dimensional than I expected. He didn’t move his head/upper body or jab as much as I thought he would. I don’t think he was overly concerned about what Plant was throwing at him.
I felt that Canelo could have stepped on the gas a few rounds earlier and nothing Plant show me, to that point, suggested it wouldn’t work. Maybe. But unless you were betting on the “under,” what’s the difference? What’s the difference between an eight or ninth round stoppage and an 11th-round stoppage? Canelo knew what to look for. He knew when he’d weakened Plant enough to buzz him with a head shot and when he saw that he hurt Plant, he knew how to close the show. A late stoppage is a late stoppage.
I though Plant did better than expected. He was craftier than I expected. He did a good job with the shoulder roll, but he wound up blocking too many hard shots on his shoulder, forearms, and hips. That takes a toll.
He seemed to use his longer reach to his advantage at times with success, but as said all too many times, nothing Canelo hasn’t seen before. I’m no longer interested in watching Canelo break down stick-and-movers. I want to see him face fellow hunters going forward.
How do you rate Plant’s performance? Highly. I think he’s raised his stature in the sport. Now we know how clever, skilled, and tough he truly is. I’d favor him to beat any other super middleweight with possible the exception of David Benavidez.
Within a year, fighting 4 times and beating three previously undefeated fighters in Smith, Saunders and now Plant is truly astonishing for an elite fighter in the modern age when we’ve had years of BS (not mentioning any names) of fighters picking and choosing and fighting once a year. He should be applauded. He should be and he is by all but the #SaltySociety.
So what next? Like with any undisputed champ at any weight it’s a nightmare to keep all the belts facing off all mandatory commitments and keeping sanctioning bodies happy. So as Canelo campaigns at Middleweight, Super-Middleweight and Light-Heavyweight it’s gonna be almost impossible for him to keep and defend all the titles. This may sound self-serving, but it’s not. I’d prefer that Canelo drop all of the alphabet world titles and just keep his Ring Magazine championship belt rather than waste our time and his time (and money) making meaningless mandatory defense slaughters against the undeserving likes of David Morell Jr. (WBA reggie-belt holder), Aidos Yerbossynuly (WBA No. 1), Zach Parker (WBO No. 1), and whoever the IBF pulls out of its ass. We all know he’s the real champ at 168 pounds.
Although who’s left a Super-Middleweight to test himself against? There’s The Ring’s No. 1 contender, David Benavidez. And there’s GGG and Jermall Charlo if they want to step up to 168 pounds to challenge him.
The fights I’d love to see him in are Beterbiev, Bivol and of course GGG. Of those three I’d like to see the Beterbiev showdown if the Russian tank can defend his WBC/IBF 175-pound belts against Marcus Browne. I’ve seen the Golovkin matchup. At GGG’s age, it’s not going to get any better than the 2018 rematch. And I’ve seen Canelo vs. the stick-and-movers, so I’m really not that into the Bivol showdown.
My completely unbiased boxing fan view is to have Canelo Vs GGG in London to put to aside any questions about judging in the US. Yeah, like s__t scorecard don’t pop up in the UK.
It would sell out Wembley stadium twice over! No doubt.
Wishful thinking but maybe Uncle Eddie can make it happen. In his (and yours) wet dreams.
Why and where do you think he would aim at next? It depends on which promoter/network is willing to offer him the best package. I don’t think Top Rank/ESPN are going to bend over backwards for him. That’s not Bob’s style. The PBC might roll the dice with Canelo again depending on how much revenue the Plant PPV ultimately brings in. But even if they lose money on the venture, they may try to do business with Canelo and Eddy Reynoso again because who else have they got to push as a PPV attraction? Deontay Wilder is going to be on the mend at least until next summer. Who knows when or if Errol Spence is going to be back? Should Shawn Porter prevail against Terence Crawford, a viable PPV event would exist with their rematch, but there’s a lot of “IFs” in that scenario. Gervonta Davis is a PPV fighter, but not anywhere near Canelo’s level, and there aren’t any marquee dance partners for Tank within the PBC universe. They could match Benavidez vs. Charlo and maybe that would be a PPV-worthy matchup, but would it really sell? I think it’s better to have Benavidez and/or Charlo challenge Canelo. Those are big events in Texas and would likely bring in significant PPV revenue. So, I think the PBC will go after Canelo’s services again, and I think Team Canelo will lean toward Charlo as the next PBC dance partner. Of course, Sir Eddie and DAZN will be prepared to make a huge offer to Canelo if GGG beats Murata in late December, and they’ll push a Bivol match as much as they can.
On a serious note, do you think Canelo should test the waters at 200lb? Hell no! Have you ever seen top cruiserweight like Mairis Briedis, Yuniel Dorticos and Ilunga Makbu fight? They are brutal. Do you know how much height and reach Canelo would be giving up facing Lawrence Okolie? It would look ridiculous.
Considering some of his fight weights, he isn’t far off. Yeah, he puts on weight after making 160 and 168. Maybe he goes up as high as 180 or even 185, but the cruiserweights put on weight after the weigh-in too. Most of them balloon up around the 215-220 range.
The height might be a concern, but again nothing he hasn’t had to deal with before. I think tall, rangy boxer-punchers like Dorticos and Okolie would be a reach to far (pardon the pun).
If I was a 200lb fighter I’d be nervous looking at the way Canelo dealt with Kovalev, even if it was down at 175lb. Trust me. They’re not worried about a Canelo challenge. They should be so lucky.
ACTIVITY + EXPERIENCE = HARD TO BEAT
Well, even though I didn’t watch the fight, I knew this was going to happen. For as much talent as Caleb Plant has (and you could see some glimpses of it from what I’ve seen) the lack of activity and experience cost him in the end. You can’t expect a guy who barely fights to compete against the most experienced and talented guy in the sport in his biggest fight. Plant is a good fighter and I just wonder how good he could be if he fought more. Sadly we’ll never know.
Most young fighters are following this footprint, fight two times a year and hope to be called the pound for pound king. We’ve had these conversations before over the years, and I’ll talk about it again, the main difference between fighters of the past and today is activity and experience. The more you practice your craft the better you get at it. The more fighters you face, the more styles you are exposed to and the more tools you gain to handle any particular scenario. That’s why a guy with 60-70 fights with equal talent, wear and tear and age, to a guy with 20 bouts, will beat him 10 out of 10 times.
Canelo has fought on the big stage at least 20 times. Caleb Plant was doing it for the first time and not only that, he needed to perform the best he could and hope that Canelo had a bad night in order to beat him. Even GGG, who was as talented as Canelo, was struck by the bright lights the first time they fought. It may seem easy, but once you’re in there, it’s not as you think it’s going to be.
Do you think there’s anybody out there that can actually compete with Canelo right now? I don’t think the three B’s (Benavidez, Bivol or Beterbiev) have the experience and activity to match Canelo. I think he would figure them out and beat all three of them handily. What do you think?
Hopefully young kids (yes, I’m talking to you Ryan) take a look at this and see what it means to be a real boxer and champion. Canelo is really the only fighter left in the sport that resembles fighters from 10 years ago. Cotto, GGG, Floyd, Manny, Bhop, Wlad, all those guys are the last of a generation. These new kids are talking pound for pound with 15 fights. Really? I’m still not sold on those records. Even guys like Usyk, Loma and Naoya need more to be able to call themselves that. See what happened when Inoue fought Nonito? A supposedly shot fighter gave him hell. What I’m saying is this, 15 fights and 3 division don’t mean anything, you’re still a novice. You’ve only faced 15 guys, and the 16th could be totally different and beat you (Ask Loma). A Canelo with 60 fights is going to have the advantage over any other guy until he actually slips. Don’t expect him to lose anytime soon.
Thanks Dougie. – Juan Valverde
I believe Loma’s got comparable experience to Canelo, it’s just that the bulk of his experience comes from his extensive (and elite-level) amateur career. Canelo turned professional at 15 (after maybe 30 regional-level bouts in Guadalajara), so his first 20-30 pro bouts was basically his amateur background. I also think that Inoue deserves to be in the pound-for-pound top five, and I won’t argue too much with boxing hipsters who place him at No. 1 (even though I firmly believe that Canelo deserves that spot). The 2019 Fight of the Year against Donaire did not diminish Inoue’s resume in any way in my view. It enhanced it. Donaire is a future hall of famer, perhaps the only active fighter who has a resume as deep as Canelo’s, and the Filipino Flash proved that he isn’t shot with his four-round KO of previously unbeaten WBC beltholder Nordine Oubaali. Donaire was decapitating bantamweights prior to his showdown with Inoue and after. Inoue took Donaire’s best shots for 12 rounds (and was arguably robbed of an 11th-round stoppage). I also think Usyk is deserving of his high P4P ranking. Sometimes quality is just as important as quantity, especially when a fighter has Usyk’s talent, skill and amateur experience.
(A)s much talent as Caleb Plant has (and you could see some glimpses of it from what I’ve seen) the lack of activity and experience cost him in the end. Indeed. He didn’t lack skills, tactics, toughness or heart.
You can’t expect a guy who barely fights to compete against the most experienced and talented guy in the sport in his biggest fight. True. When Sugar Ray Leonard took on a 38-0-1 Wilfred Benitez for the welterweight title in November 1979 it was his NINTH fight of that calendar year. He faced five Ring-rated contenders, including Pete Ranzany and Andy Price, during that 11-month run to the championship and that’s why he was ready to seize the crown from a great boxer. When James Toney challenged a 36-0 Michael Nunn for the IBF middleweight title in May 1991, he entered the bout with 26 bouts under his belt despite having turned pro in October 1988. Toney fought 12 times in 1989, 10 times in 1990, twice in ’88, twice before facing Nunn, and then three more times in ’91 ending the year with his epic showdown with Mike McCallum. He was ready for a pound-for-pound talent like Nunn because of that activity, and he was ready for a future hall of famer like McCallum because he faced his share of hard-asses, such as Ron Amundsen, Sanderline Williams and Merqui Sosa, on his quick rise to the top.
Plant is a good fighter and I just wonder how good he could be if he fought more. Sadly we’ll never know. If he doesn’t fight more often (and let’s face it, the way the sport is currently organized, it may not be possible for him or any world-class boxer not named Canelo to fight more than twice a year), I’d like to see the PBC dramatically step up the level of his competition. He’s ready for the world.
Do you think there’s anybody out there that can actually compete with Canelo right now? I don’t think the three B’s (Benavidez, Bivol or Beterbiev) have the experience and activity to match Canelo. I think they’ve got the size, talent and will to compete with Canelo. Can they beat him? It’s possible, but my pick will be Canelo, and he may break down Benavidez and Beterbiev.
GGG VS. PLANT
Could Plant decision the current version of Golovkin? – Kevin Key, Duluth, MN
It’s very possible that Plant could outpoint the current version of Golovkin with his size, speed, defense, and movement. He could basically do a little more than Daniel Jabobs did during his close fight with GGG back in 2017, plus Plant would have the benefit of Golovkin pushing 40. However, unlike Canelo, GGG knows how to cut the ring off. And unlike Canelo, GGG has a world-class jab that he actually uses (imagine that!). So, I can see GGG giving Plant a lot of trouble with his piledrive left stick, ring cutting footwork, and heavy right hands and hooks. Do you think Plant cracks hard enough to earn even a near-40-year-old GGG’s respect? If not, you gotta figure that win, lose or draw, Plant would be in for a long night.
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