WBA/WBC/WBO titleholder predicts knockout before round eight in fight billed as “Road to Undisputed” on Nov. 6 in Las Vegas.
Canelo Alvarez Vows To Become Mexico’s First Undisputed 168-Pound Champ With KO Of Caleb Plant
Canelo Alvarez rose two weight classes in November 2019 to challenge then-WBO 175-pound titleholder Sergey Kovalev, vowing to become a four-division champion.
The Mexican superstar did so sensationally, knocking the “Crusher” literally to his knees, senseless, out cold and sagging against ring ropes that held him up. It was a bitter end to a match for a highly unpopular fighter.
“It was nice to see Canelo do us all a favor and hit Kovalev so hard that he banished him from the stratosphere of being a world-class fighter at the elite level,” said boxing analyst Ray Flores of Premier Boxing Champions, TGB Promotions and Triller.
“That was a vicious and apropos clock cleaning of Kovalev, who, in my opinion, is a bad guy based on his track record. At some point, someone may test Canelo, but on that night, it was like, ‘This guy is done being an elite fighter’ because Canelo’s blowing everybody out of the water.”
It has been nearly two years since Kovalev was pummeled by Alvarez, who is predicting an early knockout of undefeated Caleb Plant during their unification bout on Nov. 6 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Alvarez, 31, is determined to become the first undisputed 168-pound champion from Mexico by adding Plant’s IBF crown to his WBA/WBC/WBO versions.
“I’m sticking with my prediction of a knockout before round eight,” said Alvarez, also a winner of titles at 154, 160 and 175 pounds. “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.”
Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs), whose bout against Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) will be his fourth fight in 11 months, is hoping to vanquish an undefeated rival for the eighth time in his career at the MGM Grand. Plant, 29, will battle Alvarez, 31, on Showtime Pay Per View (9 p.m. ET).
“This is the most important fight in Canelo’s career. As a prizefighter there is nothing bigger than unifying a division,” said Alvarez’s manager and trainer, Eddy Reynoso.
“That’s why we’re training so hard. Our focus is to make sure we show everyone that Mexican boxing is No. 1. If we’re able to get this victory and unify the division, we will really be making a big mark in the sport.”
Alvarez is 14-0-1 (8 KOs) since a majority decision loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in September 2013, a bout that dethroned the then-23-year-old as WBA/WBC junior middleweight champion.
“Canelo” (Cinnamon for his red hair) is rocketing toward the legendary status of countrymen such as three-division champions Julio Cesar Chavez and Marco Antonio Barrera, four-division title winners Juan Manuel Marquez and Erik Morales and long-reigning Salvador Sanchez and Ruben Olivares.
“Canelo’s speed and power against Kovalev was impressive, further showing his progression since the fight with Mayweather. I rank him top five behind Chavez, Olivares and Salvador Sanchez, maybe right there with Marquez, Barrera, Morales and Carlos Zarate,” said Showtime boxing commentator Raul Marquez, a former junior middleweight champion.
“Canelo has matured, developing into a much better fighter. He’s stocky, strong, has a big back, legs, and that’s where his natural power comes from. His balance allows him to leverage his punches, maximize his power, particularly on his body shots, by transferring his weight back and forth from one side to the other.”
That cerebral prowess and two-fisted punching power teams with an impressive resume, which makes Alvarez the sport’s best pound-for-pound boxer, according to Flores.
“Canelo is precise, economical and we’re starting to see more wrinkles in his game as he grows exponentially in the footwork, head movement, feints and the way he parries shots,” Flores said. “Oh, and by the way, he hits like a Mack truck, which makes him the most complete fighter we’ve seen in a long time. Canelo’s the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the world, and it’s not even close.”
At a pre-bout press conference last month, Alvarez and Plant wound up trading blows during their staredown. Goaded by a push from Alvarez, Plant swung and missed. Alvarez landed on Plant. A brief scuffle ensued before the men were separated, with Plant being cut over one of his eyes.
“I’ve never been involved in anything like what happened at the first press conference between me and Caleb,” Alvarez said. “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 Nov. 6.”
Alvarez earned his first crown in March 2011 by unanimous decision over Matthew Hatton, dominating nearly every minute for the WBC’s vacant 154-pound title and improving to 36-0-1 (26 KOs).
Alvarez made six title defenses before falling to Mayweather, capped by a unanimous decision unification victory over southpaw Austin Trout in April 2013. The victory added Trout’s WBA crown to Alvarez’s WBC title. Alvarez earned his second crown in as many divisions via unanimous decision that dethroned Puerto Rican four-division title winner Miguel Cotto (November 2015) as WBC middleweight champion.
Alvarez earned his third crown in as many divisions in December 2018, his four-knockdown, third-round TKO of WBA “regular” 168-pound champion Rocky Fielding coming against a fighter who entered at 27-1, 15 KOs).
“I don’t want to compare myself to great Mexican champions of the past, but this [Caleb Plant] fight is very important for my country of Mexico. This is one of the most important fights of my life,” Alvarez said. “I’m taking it very seriously, and a win means a lot to me. I just want to go out and make my own history. In the end, I want to be considered one of the best along with the legends who came before me.”
Another major triumph was Alvarez’s majority decision unification victory over then-undefeated WBA/WBC titleholder Gennady Golovkin (September 2018) in a rematch of their draw in September 2017.
“Canelo” also owns unanimous decisions over three-division champion and two-time Oscar De La Hoya-conqueror “Sugar” Shane Mosley (May 2012), former champion Chavez (May 2017), ex-titleholders Daniel Jacobs (May 2019) and Callum Smith (December 2020), and a split-decision over left-handed Cuban two-division champion Erislandy Lara (July 2014).
Alvarez’s knockouts of former champions include a sixth-round stoppage of Carlos Baldomir (September 2010), a one-knockdown, fifth-round TKO of Kermit Cintron (November 2011), a 10th-round TKO of Alfredo Angulo (March 2014), a sixth-round knockout of Amir Khan (May 2016) and a three-knockdown, ninth-round KO of Liam Smith (September 2016).
The Smith siblings were unbeaten before falling to Alvarez, Liam, 33, at 23-0-1 (13 KOs), and Callum, 31, at 27-0 (19 KOs).
Alvarez last fought in May, winning by eighth-round stoppage of southpaw Billy Joe Saunders, who entered at 30-0 (14 KOs). Alvarez added Saunders’ WBO title to the WBA and WBC belts he already owned.
“It’s unreal when you look at his resume and consider the guys that he’s beaten, which is unreal,” said Flores, also mentioning a third-round TKO of left-handed title challenger James Kirkland in May 2015.
“I never thought that anyone could mean what Chavez has meant to Mexican fight fans, but Canelo is so young and has a desire to really claim his legacy, being so adamant about being undisputed.”
Canelo Alvarez’s Top 15 victories
1) Gennady Golovkin (MD 12, Sept. 15, 2018)
2) Sergey Kovalev (KO 11, Nov. 2, 2019)
3) Miguel Cotto (UD 12, Nov. 21, 2015)
4) Shane Mosley (UD 12, May 5, 2012)
5) Erislandy Lara (SD 12, July 12, 2014)
6) Daniel Jacobs (UD 12, May 4, 2019)
7) Austin Trout (UD 12, April 20, 2013))
8) Rocky Fielding (TKO 3, Dec. 15, 2018)
9) Julio Cesar Chavez Jr (UD 12, May 6, 2017)
10) Billy Joe Saunders (RTD 8, May 8, 2021)
11) Amir Khan (KO 6, May 7, 2016)
12) Callum Smith (UD 12, Dec. 19, 2020)
13) Liam Smith (KO 9, Sept. 17, 2016)
14) Matthew Hilton (UD 12, March 5, 2011)
15) Carlos Baldomir (KO 6 Sept. 18, 2010)
Canelo Alvarez’s Top 10 Knockouts
1) Sergey Kovalev (KO 11, Nov. 2, 2019)
2) Rocky Fielding (TKO 3, Dec. 15, 2018)
3) Billy Joe Saunders (RTD 8, May 8, 2021)
4) Amir Khan (KO 6, May 7, 2016)
5) Liam Smith (KO 9, Sept. 17, 2016)
6) Carlos Baldomir (KO 6 Sept. 18, 2010)
7) Alfredo Angulo (TKO 10, March 8, 2014)
8) James Kirkland (KO 3, May 9, 2015)
9) Kermit Cintron (TKO 5, Nov. 26, 2011)
10) Josesito Lopez (KO 5, Sept. 15, 2012)
Edited by Stan Chrapowicki and Matthew B. Hall