The fight itself wasn’t at all competitive, although Caleb Plant was able to get all of the information he needed about Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez’s latest title defense.
Guadalajara’s Alvarez had his way with Istanbul’s Avni Yildirim (21-3, 12KOs), scoring a one-side stoppage after three rounds Saturday evening at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Florida. Yildirim barely put up a fight, not throwing many punches and suffering a 3rd round knockdown before his corner decided to end the fight prior to the start of round four.
“Not to take anything away from Canelo, he went in and did what he had to do,” Plant told BoxingScene.com in assessing Alvarez’s latest performance. “He had someone in front of him who was just giving him too much respect, just going into the ring without that winner’s mentality.
“With Canelo you have to go in the ring with he mentality that ‘I’m here to win, no matter what.’ Again, Canelo did what he had to do.”
The mismatch—which marked Alvarez’s first defense of his unified WBC/WBA super middleweight titles—was more of an event than a fight, coming complete with a mini concert from reggaeton superstar J Balvín who accompanied the pound-for-pound king and reigning unified super middleweight titlist to the ring.
The show took place in front of roughly 15,000 socially distanced fans in attendance, among the larger U.S. boxing crowds since the pandemic and providing an electric atmosphere. More so than the uncompetitive fight itself, the magnitude of the event gave Plant (21-0, 12KOs)—a Tennessee-bred champ now based out of Las Vegas—a sense of what to expect once he and Alvarez collide later this year.
Before then, Alvarez (55-1-2, 37KOs) will have to get past England’s Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14KOs). Their WBA/WBC/WBO unification bout will take place May 8 at a venue to be determined. Should Alvarez prevail, it will set up a showdown with Plant to crown the first-ever undisputed super middleweight championship in the division’s 37-year history. By that point, the optimistic outlook is that we are further along in the battle against the coronavirus and with a return to big time events taking place in truly sold-out venues.
“By the time I get to him, it will be even bigger,” believes Plant, who is coming off of a 12-round shutout of Caleb Truax to defend his IBF super middleweight title this past January in Los Angeles. “We can do it out here in Vegas. We can have a full crowd and give the fans an historic fight.
“In the end, I will give everyone the first ever undisputed super middleweight champion.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox