Updated: Feb 7, 2021
My seventeen-year-old nephew “Bug” recently sent me a link to the movie trailer for “Godzilla vs. Kong,” scheduled to premiere this year. Even as a grown man in his 30’s I must admit seeing those two mythical creatures fight was exciting. The anticipation my nephew Bug has waiting for the release of a big-budget action flick is the same feeling I’ll have whenever Caleb Plant vs. Canelo Alvarez is announced. Each man performed admirably in his most recent bout; Alvarez is scheduled to fight again later this month. His very next opponent should be Caleb Plant. This is the match the public wants to see and a fight that makes perfect sense for each fighter. It is time for the powers that be to turn this fantasy match-up into a reality.
Each fighter is in his prime
The debate about when an athlete is actually in his prime is a long-standing one. Some have argued that a fighter’s best years are his late 20’s. Others say that a fighter’s prime actually extends into the first few years of his 30’s. No matter how you define it, Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant are both undoubtedly at the peak of their boxing prowess.
After a year-long layoff, Alvarez put on a masterful performance in December against Callum Smith. Smith wasn’t just a worthy opponent; he’s undoubtedly one of the best super middleweights in the world. The smart money says he’ll move up to light heavyweight and become a world titleholder in that division. Yet he was no match for Alvarez when the two of them met in the ring. Canelo’s display of skill, speed and power reminded fight fans why he’s near the top of every pound-for-pound list in the world.
For his part, Caleb Plant showed the world that his eleven-month layoff did nothing to diminish his skills inside the ring. Last month’s unanimous decision over Caleb Truax confirmed that only the very best super middleweights in the world should be climbing into the ring with Plant. The fight was never in doubt and Plant’s IBF super-middleweight belt was never in jeopardy.
Canelo Alvarez is only 30 years old. Caleb Plant is 28 years old. Both fighters are young and performing at an elite level. The boxing world wants to see this fight happen now, while both man is in his prime.
Major pay-day for both fighters
Excluding the pandemic-interrupted campaign of 2020, Canelo Alvarez has fought twice a year every year since 2012. That year started off with a bout against the legendary Shane Mosley, on the undercard of the Floyd Mayweather vs. Miguel Cotto main event. The $1.2 million USD Canelo earned that night was his largest payday to date. Since then, his earnings have exploded. Alvarez has become a household name, so much so that sports fans who don’t closely follow boxing are familiar with him. They may not know who his last opponent was or which belt he’s currently holding, but they know he’s the latest in a long line of great Mexican fighters and one of the best boxers in the world.
Caleb Plant on the other hand is not known by casual sports fans. Those of us who follow the sport have been hearing his name with increased regularity over the last few years. While he’s carved out a niche for himself as one of the best super middleweights in the world, a fight against Alvarez could catapult him into another stratosphere. He’s certain to have the biggest payday of his career, and if he emerges victorious his future earnings will benefit exponentially.
Unification bout for the super middleweight title
Canelo Alvarez is the reigning WBA and WBC super-middleweight champion. Caleb Plant is the IBF super-middleweight champion. More than anything else, these two proud champions should be motivated to face one another to unify their division. For decades, fight fans have bemoaned the fact that there are too many champions in each division. Alvarez and Plant can get one step closer to crowning an undisputed champion when they climb into the ring together.
The WBO super middleweight champion is Billy Joe Saunders. Canelo’s fight later this month is a part of a two-fight deal he signed with Eddie Hearn in January. After his expected win over Avni Yildirim, he’s expected to fight Saunders in an effort to further unify the division. While Saunders is a consummate professional and would serve as a worthy opponent, he is not the fighter fans want Alvarez to face next. Virtually every publication in the sport has Plant ranked higher than Saunders among the best super middleweights in the world. After Alvarez and Plant duke it out, the winner should then face Saunders; he deserves a shot but he shouldn’t be next in line.
Good for the sport of boxing
Canelo Alvarez vs. Caleb Plant is just one of several fights that boxing fans want to see in 2021. Just like any other profession, there’s often a copycat scenario in the sport. If Alvarez and Plant do their part to unify the super middleweight division, other divisions may feel the pressure to duplicate the excitement and follow suit. Fight fans everywhere have been clamoring for Errol Spence Jr. and Bud Crawford to climb in the ring and determine who’s the best welterweight in the world. A bout between AJ and The Gypsy King could be the most highly viewed fight in the history of the sport.
Unification bouts and dream match-ups are what keeps the sport of boxing exciting. Alvarez vs. Plant may not be Leonard vs. Hagler or Mayweather vs. Pacquiao, but it could be one of the most exciting fights of the year. Each fighter is a respected champion in his prime who’s among the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport. Lovers of the sweet science should have this match-up on their wish list for 2021. If and when it does take place, these two warriors will step into the ring prepared to give fight fans a treat they won’t soon forget.
Let’s all hope it happens sooner rather than later.