ARLINGTON, Texas – Canelo Alvarez and promoter Eddie Hearn agree that Caleb Plant is the only opponent that makes sense for the Mexican superstar to fight next.
The undefeated Plant holds the only super middleweight world title Alvarez needs to be crowned boxing’s fully unified 168-pound champion. Alvarez, who already held the WBA and WBC belts, won the WBO championship from Billy Joe Saunders on Saturday night at AT&T Stadium.
Plant (21-0, 12 KOs), the IBF champion, has expressed interest in facing Alvarez next.
“It’s the only fight, Chris,” Hearn told DAZN’s Chris Mannix in the ring following his technical-knockout victory over Saunders. “And hopefully Caleb Plant feels the same way. I know you saw an interview the other day [with Plant], didn’t mention too much about Canelo. But listen, if we wanna keep the great times coming in boxing, it’s the undisputed, the first Mexican undisputed champion at 168 pounds. It’s the one to make in September.”
September 18 is believed to be the target date for Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) to return to the ring. His stoppage of the previously unbeaten Saunders (31-1, 14 KOs) following the eighth round was Alvarez’s third super middleweight title fight within the past 4½ months.
Making a fight with Plant will be more complicated, though, than his last three wins against England’s Saunders, WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim and another Brit, Callum Smith. Saunders and Smith are promoted by Hearn, whose co-promotional agreement with Alvarez ended after the Saunders fight.
The 30-year-old Alvarez and Hearn intend to work together moving forward. Assuming they extend their partnership, they’ll have to negotiate with Al Haymon to make the Plant fight a reality.
Haymon is Plant’s adviser and his company, Premier Boxing Champions, has network deals with FOX and Showtime. Alvarez’s past six fights have been funded by DAZN, the streaming service with which Hearn works exclusively in the United States.
Hearn noted during a post-fight press conference early Sunday morning that Alvarez is a network/streaming service free agent, which affords the four-division champion the necessary flexibility to fight Plant next on any platform. Hearn added that he expects DAZN and FOX to make strong offers for the Alvarez-Plant fight.
FOX would offer Alvarez-Plant as a pay-per-view event, which would make it more expensive for consumers than if DAZN streams it. Regardless, Alvarez wants it next.
“I hope so,” Alvarez said. “I hope that fight is made easy, and then give the fans that fight.”
Alvarez also delivered a message to Plant.
“That’s the plan, to go for the belt,” Alvarez said. “And I’m coming, man. I’m coming, my friend.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.