Caleb Plant relishes underdog role ahead of Canelo Alvarez bout

Caleb Plant relishes the underdog role going into the biggest fight of his career against Canelo Alvarez… but can he really beat boxing’s pound for pound king to become the undisputed super middleweight champion?

  • Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant square off in an historic clash on Saturday
  • The winner will become the first undisputed super middleweight champion 
  • Canelo, boxing’s pound for pound king, is the heavy favourite for the fight
  • Plant, who is unbeaten in 21 fights, has never faced a test as tough as this
  • The American though feels like it’s his ‘destiny’ to beat Canelo in Las Vegas

Canelo Alvarez is expected to be coronated as the first undisputed super middleweight champion when he squares off against the undefeated Caleb Plant on Saturday night.

It is a feat he has looked to accomplish in less than a year, taking titles off Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders, with Plant’s IBF title seen as the last piece of the jigsaw.

Plant knows that people are giving him little hope of walking out of the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas with all the gold, but he is relishing his role as underdog against boxing’s pound for pound king. 


Caleb Plant is the heavy underdog going into his undisputed title bout with Canelo Alvarez

It should be a fiery clash after the pair collided during their face-off back in September

The pair will take to the ring under the famous MGM lights on Saturday with genuine animosity between them, following their explosive press conference in September, where Plant ended up with a cut following a coming together.

Canelo has been operating at the highest level, fighting the biggest names in the sport and at 31-years-old seems to be getting even better. His resume is impressive with a 56-1-2 record and 38 knockouts, while he has squared off against some of the best including Gennady Golovkin, Floyd Mayweather and Sergey Kovalev.

Plant became IBF champion in January 2019 by defeating Venezuelan Jose Uzcategui by unanimous decision. He has defended it three times but the biggest name on that list is Caleb Truax who, even though he’s a former champion, was past his best.  

Despite easily winning the fight, Plant didn’t electrify boxing fans with his decision victory over Truax in January.

So even with his impressive 21-0 record, the American is a wildcard coming into the fight, as he’s never been tested in the ring against an A-level fighter. 

Canelo has the advantage in terms of experience and has boxed 303 more rounds than his opponent going into the fight. 

The 29-year-old from Tennessee has never fought on a stage near this level before but it could that unknown factor that he could use to his advantage.

Canelo has steamrolled through the competition in his recent fights over the last few years

His last opponent Billy Joe Saunders had his corner throw in the towel after he suffered a fractured orbital bone

During Tuesday’s Grand Arrivals in Las Vegas, the IBF champ said as per Fightsports: ‘The oddsmakers can have me as an underdog. I’ve been an underdog my whole life, and I’ve been proving them wrong my whole life. Those are just numbers. They’ve been wrong before and they’re wrong now.

‘I’m going to be right in his face. I’ve got a chip on my shoulder, but that’s something I’ve carried with me my whole life. That’s I’m here. I like being the underdog, I like being here. I like people booing and I like people rooting against me.’

Plant packs a punch with decent power, has got speedy footwork and has shown good in-ring IQ. To date, he has done what is expected of him in that he doesn’t let opponents get into fights when they aren’t expected to be competitive.

Compared to Canelo’s recent opponents, he is the better athlete than Saunders and is more technically skilled than Smith. But the Mexican is two steps up in terms of difficulty compared to anything Plant has faced before.  

The Mexican is an extremely intelligent fighter who has shown an increasing ability to break opponents down and bust them up as he’s become more experienced. His last opponent Saunders showed promise in their bout in May but his team threw in the towel after he suffered a broken eye socket. 

Plant became the IBF champion in January 2019 but has never faced an opponent like Canelo

Canelo’s combination of speed, power and his relentless offensive attack is expected to prove too much for Plant

Avni Yildirim’s corner also threw in the towel before that, while he wore Smith down over 12 rounds and took an unanimous decision victory – although the Brit suffered a detached left bicep injury during the bout.    

Plant came out firing when the pair came face-to-face in September, calling Canelo a drugs cheat – referring to his 2018 six-month ban after testing positive for clenbuterol, which the Mexican insists came from contaminated meat. 

Canelo subsequently pushed Plant as the pair squared off, with the latter swinging and missing with a punch. The Mexican, who slipped the attempted strike, then landed a counter, drawing blood from his soon-to-be opponent.  

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‘All the talk, all the s*** he says. That’s why (it’s so heated), Canelo said. ‘He crossed the line and maybe too much, that’s why it’s personal. At the same time, it’s one of the most important fights for me.’ 

If the goal was to get under Canelo’s skin it worked – though it could be a dangerous tactic against someone with the quality of the Mexican. 

Plant has relished the role as underdog as he says he aims to become the ‘top dog’ by beating the Mexican

On Saturday, the tall and rangy Plant has the toolset to trouble Canelo. 

With his height advantage,  sharp jab and speedy footwork, it could be crucial for him to make a positive start and keep the pound-for-pound king at bay for as long as possible.

Canelo however has often wiped out any physical advantages with a combination of speed, power and a relentless offensive attack, and the odds will be stacked against the American when they step foot in the squared-circle.

Under the brightest of lights though, Plant is confident in his abilities that he could spring a surprise on Saturday and walk out of Las Vegas – still yet to taste the disappointment of defeat.

Plant has the height and reach advantage over Canelo and is yet to taste defeat in his career

‘You haven’t seen the best Caleb Plant,’ he said. ‘You’ve seen some good performances out of me but you’ve yet to see the best of me. 

‘So that’s why I’m excited about this fight because like I said before, all great fighters have been in this position, where they are the underdog.

‘They’re expected to lose and they go in there, they do they job they are supposed to do and they become the big dog.

‘This is my moment. I feel like this is my destiny. I believe I’m supposed to win.’  




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