Caleb Plant aims to get under skin and defences of the great Canelo Alvarez in undisputed showdown

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·3-min read
Caleb Plant aims to get under skin and defences of the great Canelo Alvarez in undisputed showdown
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Try as they might, few if any boxers have got under the skin of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.

Billy Joe Saunders was arguably the most vocal in trying to rattle the Mexican ahead of a fight in which the Briton ended up in hospital being treated for fractures to his eye socket.

Callum Smith was more reserved in his own pre-fight build-up but, like Saunders, genuinely believed he was the one to finally dethrone arguably boxing’s biggest name.

Where Saunders and others tried and failed, Canelo’s latest opponent, Caleb Plant, appears to have unearthed something in his Las Vegas opponent on Saturday night.

Plant is not one lacking in self-confidence and has talked up his chances of unifying the super-middleweight division – he has the IBF belt while his rival has all the rest – and he appears to have got under his skin.

At a press conference to publicise the fight in September, American Plant made barbs about Canelo’s mother and his trainer, and called him a cheat – a nod to a positive test for clenbuterol back in 2018. The two came to blows, with Plant left with a cut under his right eye.

Of that clash, Canelo said: “You can see in his body language, Plant is an insecure person and that’s why he tried to do something different and land that hook. I don’t know what he was thinking.

“Of course, Plant is a good fighter, a skilled fighter, a smart fighter. But it is nothing new to me. I am always totally switched on when these guys like Saunders and Plant make it personal.”

Remarkably, it is a 60th professional fight for Canelo during which time he has lost just once, against Floyd Mayweather, but some eight years ago. This week, Ricky Hatton argued that Plant is his toughest challenge since Mayweather - Gennady Golovkin included.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

Plant’s own journey to get to this point does not lack for adversity from childhood poverty to the death of his daughter, Alia, just before her second birthday, and then his mother in a shooting with police not long after he had won his IBF belt.

But the boxing has given him an outlet through it all. “I feel like I’m able to express myself through my boxing,” he said. “I’m able to express my pain.

“When I get to the gym or go to a fight…it’s like a sanctuary. If you look over my life, there’s been a lot of things that have happened that I really haven’t had any control over from my childhood where I grew up to what went on in the household to stuff with my mother, to my daughter, the list goes on and on.”

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

As for his September fracas with Canelo, Plant insists it is neither a pre-fight ploy nor anything personal.

“It has nothing to do with him,” said the American. “He’s in the way of what I want to accomplish. He’s in the way of everything I’ve worked for and dreamed of.

“This isn’t like a show. I don’t do things for promotion. I don’t have a persona or anything that I’m trying to live up to. Clearly something about me bothers him. I’m not sure what it is.”

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