Las Vegas, Nevada
Ron Harris – Boxing fans wondered if fighting a pound for pound great like Canelo Alvarez would be too big of a stage for Caleb Plant. The stage proved to be just right. The opponent was the one too big for Plant. Saul Canelo Alvarez improved his record to 57-1-2 to become the first undisputed Super Middleweight champion of the world in the four-belt era. He is champion of the World Boxing Council, World Boxing Organization, International Boxing Federation, and World Boxing Association at 168 pounds. He is only the 6th fighter in the 4-belt era to accomplish this feat.
Plant (21-1) was the taller fighter, with the longer reach and he jabbed magnificently in the early rounds. Nothing hurt Alvarez and he went about his business of throwing extremely hard punches to Plant’s body, arms, head, and mid-section, until fans could see Plant slowing down as the fight went on. Plant, from a small town near Nashville, Tennessee, showed no fear of Alvarez, but nothing he did moved the great champion what-so-ever. Canelo kept coming with in-your-face pressure all night. The sellout crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas was shouting “Mexico” over and over.
“Caleb is a good fighter,” said Canelo. “I have a lot of respect for Caleb Plant. He was a difficult opponent with a lot of ability, and I do respect him. We are both men at the end of the day. He wanted to fight me and continue the fight. I told him there is no shame. We had a good fight today.”
Canelo starts slow in most of his fights, with the strategy of wearing his opponents down as he did in this fight. Plant, 29, started with a stiff jab as if he watched the GGG vs Canelo fight, where GGG jabbed Canelo all night. Plant landed his jab throughout the first few rounds of the fight. Plant showed more defense than most fans knew he had. It was like he watched the Mayweather vs Canelo fight when Floyd rolled his shoulder and turned his head avoiding hard right hands. Mayweather beat Canelo using that style, but Plant tried to keep Canelo off him, but nothing worked. Plants punches lost the sting in the middle rounds and Canelo kept stalking, hitting Plant with tremendously hard body shots.
In the 11th round, Canelo started the end with a sweeping left hook that rocked Plant. With Plant reeling, he threw a right hand to Plants head, and another left to the body and Plant was on his knees for the first time in his career. The second knock down didn’t take much as Plant was finished at that point. Referee, Russell Mora, who just had the Wilder vs Fury fight last month, waived the fight over with 1:05 left in the round.
Plant left the ring after he regained his strength and did not speak. He was taken to a local hospital for observations. Canelo joins the 5 other undisputed champions and becomes the first Mexican fighter to do so. “This means so much for the history of Mexico to become an undisputed champion,” said Alvarez. “There are only 6 undisputed champions in history. It keeps me happy and very motivated to be one of six.” Listening to those words from Alvarez was perhaps the greatest Mexican fighter of all time, Julio Cesar Chavez, who worked the Mexican telecast at ringside. Canelo, 31, will fight again in May, his normal month to fight. No opponent has been mentioned.
Photos courtesy: Amanda Westcott
About Ron Harris
Ron Harris, retired college administrator, coach, broadcaster, Internet and TV sports producer and host. Former radio host of a live call-in show. Extremely close to the sports landscape in the Washington, DC metro area. Former radio sports reporter, covering MLB, college sports, major boxing events and much more.