Canelo Mows Down Plant
By Robert Ecksel on November 10, 2021
Canelo is a fighter in his prime at the pinnacle of the sport. (Photo: Al Bello/Getty Images)
Saturday night at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs), the WBA/WBC/WBO super middleweight champion from Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico, unified the titles at 168 by stopping Caleb Plant (21-1, 12 KOs), his IBF counterpart from Ashland City, Tennessee, at 1:05 of the 11th round. With the victory, his fourth in 11 months, Canelo has become the world’s first undisputed champion at super middleweight, as well as the first undisputed champion in Mexican history.
At 31 and still the midst of an illustrious career, each fight at this point simply reaffirms his greatness.
Despite facing 12:1 odds, Plant gave a good account of himself. He is skilled. He knows his way around the ring. Several rounds were close. It wasn’t a blowout. Plant kept it interesting while it lasted. But his lack of power, no less than his inexperience against upper echelon fighters, was his undoing.
“I’ve bent most the world to my will and done it with nothing but passion and skill,” Plant said. “I’ll be back I showed I belong on the top level and I’ll be champion of the world again. I’ve never been scared to go big or go out on my shield.”
Canelo is now a 4-division world champion. He was focused, disciplined, and followed the game plan as if it was a roadmap to the stars. Working behind a high guard and continually pressing forward, he softened up Plant early with body shots before turning his attention to the head. As the rounds progressed, a sense of inevitability set in. Canelo took charge early and brought the fight to a close by dropping Plant twice in the 11th with a right and left uppercut. He beat the count after the first knockdown. He was allowed to continue. The second knockdown, preceded by a left uppercut, a few rights to the head, and a parting liver shot, convinced the ref to wave it off.
The scores at the time of the stoppage were 96–94, 97–93 and 98–92 for Canelo.
“Caleb is a good fighter. I have a lot of respect for Caleb Plant. He was a difficult opponent with a lot of ability, and I do respect him,” said Canelo after the fight. “In the end, I got him. That’s the way it had to finish. He was already hurt, and I went for the kill. He wanted to fight me and still continue. I told him there’s no shame. We are both men at the end of the day.”
Numbers don’t lie, except in boxing and polling, but the post-fight stats say it all. Canelo landed more punches (117 of 361) at a higher percentage (32%) than Plant (101 of 441 at 23%). Plant landed more jabs (42 of 232) than Canelo (15 of 110), also at a higher percentage (18% to 14%); as though a jab, or 42 jabs, could deter the Red Menace. The imbalance between the two men was power and lack thereof. Canelo landed 102 of 251 of his power shots (41%) compared to 59 of 209 (28%) for the loser Caleb Plant.
Canelo now breathes the rarified air Floyd Mayweather brought to the sport. He’s a promotional free agent. He calls his own shots. He’s the boss of his destiny, he’s the face of boxing (with a nod and a wink to Tyson Fury), and will likely remain so for many years. There’s no more shame losing to Canelo than there was losing to Mayweather. Both men are/were better boxer-punchers than everyone they faced. While Floyd has retired and parlayed his notoriety by turning dross into gold, Canelo is still a fighter in his prime at the pinnacle of the sport, and we’re all better off as a result.