LAS VEGAS – Steadfast self-belief has carried Caleb Plant a long way.
The 29-year-old Plant comes from a small town in a state not known for producing prominent prizefighters. Yet here he is, an unbeaten world champion with an opportunity to knock off a Mexican legend considered by most experts to be the best boxer, pound-for-pound, in the sport.
Plant is unapologetically cocky, so confident that the Ashland City, Tennessee, native can’t envision any scenario in which even Alvarez could beat him November 6 in Las Vegas. The IBF super middleweight champion complimented Alvarez, but he also predicted what would be considered by odds-makers and most others a significant upset.
“I mean, he’s a great fighter,” Plant said. “He’s been around for a long time and he’s accomplished a lot. But, you know, within his first 30 fights I was probably fighting better competition than he was in the amateurs. I’m a Golden Gloves national champion, I’m an Olympic alternate. But, you know, I know he’s got experience on me, but everybody that I’ve ever fought had more fights than me. So, experience is a factor, but it’s not the determining factor. So, he’s a good fighter, but there’s no way that he’s better than me, and I truly believe that in my heart.”
His confidence notwithstanding, Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) has faced an ominously lower level of opposition than Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs). The 31-year-old Alvarez has won world titles in four weight classes and has boxed Floyd Mayweather, Gennadiy Golovkin twice, Miguel Cotto, Sergey Kovalev in a light heavyweight title fight, Erislandy Lara and numerous other former champions.
The toughest opponent Plant has fought is Jose Uzcategui (31-4, 26 KOs), who Plant out-pointed to win the IBF super middleweight title in January 2019. Plant has been matched modestly in his three title defenses.
The Las Vegas resident dominated Mike Lee (21-1, 11 KOs) on his way to a third-round technical knockout before he made two mandated defenses against Vincent Feigenbutz (33-3, 29 KOs) and former IBF champ Caleb Truax (31-5-2, 19 KOs, 1 NC). Plant stopped Feigenbutz in the 10th round and easily out-boxed Truax in his most recent fight, a 12-rounder January 30.
Despite disparity in their resumes, Plant knows exactly how he’ll handle Alvarez in their FOX Sports Pay-Per-View main event at a venue to be announced.
“Be myself,” Plant said. “I don’t have to go in there and be anybody but myself. Being myself is what got me here. It’s what got all these cameras in my face right now, and that’s how I’m gonna see it out, is being myself. And when that bell rings, you’ll see what I’m talking about.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.