In the early morning hours of Sunday, May 9, Caleb Plant put the remote down and went to bed with a smile on his face. The IBF super middleweight titlist is quick to remind you or anyone else that it’s a grin that’s been there for a while.
Ring Magazine super middleweight world champion, WBA/WBC titlist Canelo Alvarez just disposed of Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO belt.
It didn’t impress Plant (21-0, 12 knockouts). He’s had the mindset that he’ll beat anyone at 168 pounds, whether it’s Alvarez or not.
The talk is of sometime in September. That’s when Plant is supposed to take on Ring Magazine super middleweight world champion, WBA/WBC/WBO titlist Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs).
Alvarez was a complete set of super middleweight title belts and the IBF bauble Plant currently wears is missing.
Plant certainly wants the fight. Alvarez definitely wants the fight. Though to many in boxing, the fight has already taken place. Alvarez has the IBF belt, it’s a mere formality that the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter, by The Ring and BWAA, will run over Plant.
Not so fast Plant warns.
Plant saw Alvarez smash Saunders in the eighth round on May 8 before a record crowd of 73,126 at the Dallas Cowboys’ AT&T Stadium. Plant admits Alvarez did well; that he did what he had to do.
“By the end of it, I had it 5-3, which was not a bad spot to be in until (Saunders) got stopped, being one round away from being tied up,” Plant said. “(Saunders) was jumping in with big shots, and he got caught with a counter and he ran into a big one. I had Alvarez up, but I’m just as confident against Canelo as I’ve ever been.
“I’ve said it before, watching (Alvarez) was not like I was learning a bunch of new stuff. He did things I’ve known about. That fight did not change my mind either way. I’m not giving up my game plan. I do know that when we fight, I’m going to be the one who gets his hand raised.”
Plant said that there are talks going for the super middleweight unification showdown with Alvarez. He’s says it’s looking good.
“My goal is to be the undisputed super middleweight world champion, and he wants the same thing, so we have a conflict of interest,” Plant said. “There’s only one way for us to settle this.”
Plant also wants the world to know he’s not going anywhere—and he also wants the world to know just how dangerous he is. He grew up fighting on the streets of Ashland City, Tennessee. “Sweethands” didn’t back down from anyone. He was knocking out grown-ass men at 14.
I don’t feel like anyone at 168 pounds can beat me. I don’t care if you’re coming up, or coming down, if you’re 168 pounds on weigh-in day, you cannot f—k with me. You cannot beat me—and I don’t care who you are.
“It made me smarter, wiser, tougher and meaner,” Plant said. “I’m not one of these UK-level guys, I’m not just an ABC,1,2,3, fighter. I’m a fighter who can do it all. I can fight off my front foot, my back foot, I can punch in bunches, I can pot shot, I have a great jab, I have great footwork.
“I have a great defense. CompuBox stats says I get hit less than anyone else in the division. A lot of these guys already go into these fights intimidated (by Canelo). That’s not me. Before these guys step into the ring, they’ve already lost.
“I don’t know their mentality. I know mine. I’ve said this before. I respect Canelo as a man, but I do not respect his boxing skills. He’s going to have make me respect his boxing skills.
“I never get more than 15 pounds above weight, and that’s all year round. My hope is to start training camp eight weeks out, but even now, I’m doing conditioning. Texas, Vegas, Los Angeles, they’re all good places. I don’t feel like anyone at 168 pounds can beat me. I don’t care if you’re coming up, or coming down, if you’re 168 pounds on weigh-in day, you cannot f—k with me. You cannot beat me—and I don’t care who you are.
“I don’t care if it’s any of these guys moving up from middleweight. I don’t care if anybody moves down. I don’t care if Canelo is in my weight class. None of these dudes can f—k with me—period!”
Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter who has been working for Ring Magazine/RingTV.com since October 1997 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on twitter @JSantoliquito.
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