Enough was already said by the time Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez made his way to the podium.
That was fine with the four-division and reigning WBA/WBC/WBO super middleweight titlist, who was brief in his final comments in the direction of IBF super middleweight titlist Caleb Plant.
“I’m just gonna say something—you’re not on my level,” Alvarez insisted of Plant during their heated press conference Tuesday afternoon at The Wilshire Garden on Beverly Hilton grounds in Beverly Hills. “You will see November 6.”
The press event was designed to officially announce the upcoming undisputed super middleweight championship, which will headline a November 6 Showtime Pay-Per-View event from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Alvarez (56-1-2, 38KOs) and Plant (21-0, 12KOs) offered a sample of things to come when their initial staredown devolved into a mini-brawl, ending with Plant suffering a cut under his right eye as the two sides were separated.
No love has been lost between the top two super middleweights in the world. Negotiations have started and stopped since late 2020, though dragging out long enough this summer to miss out on an originally targeted September 18 fight date.
Terms were eventually reached August 19 for the historic matchup, where the winner—providing the fight is granted a definitive ending—will become the first-ever undisputed super middleweight champion in the three- or four-belt era. Guadalajara’s Alvarez has done his part by defeating unbeaten Callum Smith for the WBA and vacant WBC belt last December, followed by a third-round stoppage of Avni Yildirim in February and then stopping unbeaten Billy Joe Saunders after eight rounds this past May.
Plant has made three successful defenses of the IBF title he claimed in a twelve-round, unanimous decision win over Jose Uzcategui in January 2019. In his most recent start, the unbeaten Ashland City, Tennessee native—who now lives and trains in Las Vegas—defeated former titlist Caleb Truax via twelve-round shutout this past January.
While both are recognized as the top two fighters in the division, the oddsmakers don’t view this as a particularly competitive fight. Alvarez is already at -1200 according to FanDuel, while the same sportsbook has Plant listed as a +670 underdog.
Still, there was plenty of fight between the two on Tuesday, more than seven weeks ahead of their actual in-ring clash.
“You will see, November 6,” Alvarez repeated.
“You’re gonna find out,” Plant replied.
“YOU are gonna find out,” Alvarez emphasized. “I promise you. You know what I do.”
Plant took the opportunity to repeat a storyline he’s carried into the promotion.
“You’re a drug cheat. You’re a cheater, that’s what you do,” Plant insisted. “You’re a cheater.”
The claim was an extension of a weeks-long campaign drawing attention to Alvarez’s positive drug test in 2018 that forced a postponement of his middleweight championship rematch with Gennadiy Golvokin. Alvarez was able to prove contamination with the WBC after agreeing to submit a hair sample, but was dealt a six-month suspension by the Nevada State Athletic Commission.
The accusations resurfaced in recent weeks, amplified by the positive drug test produced by Alvarez’s training stablemate, two-division and reigning WBC junior lightweight titlist Oscar Valdez. A planned September 10 title defense versus Robson Conceicao was in jeopardy after it was learned that Valdez—who trains alongside Alvarez under 2019 Trainer of the Year Eddy Reynoso—tested positive for Phentermine. Valdez was eventually cleared and proceeded to claim a twelve-round decision win, though has yet to shake industry-wide accusations.
Plant has chosen to leverage that situation, insisting the entire gym is dirty which has intensified an already heated rivalry.
Alvarez is eager to fast forward to fight night, in his pursuit of becoming the first ever Latin boxer to claim undisputed championship status in the three- or four-belt era.
“You’ll find out November 6,” vowed Alvarez.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox