Billy Joe Saunders believes Caleb Plant is capable of causing Canelo Alvarez problems, but expects the Mexican to prevail on points in their undisputed super middleweight title clash in Las Vegas on Saturday.
WBA ‘super’, WBC and WBO titlist, Canelo set up a showdown with IBF champion, Plant by relieving Saunders of his WBO crown in May, after the Brit retired in his corner after eight rounds with an eye injury.
The 32-year-old managed to establish a rhythm as the fight progressed and some broadcasters at ringside even had him up on the scorecards heading into the eighth round, although all three judges had the Mexican winning at the time of the stoppage.
The former two-weight world champion has advised the undefeated American to keep the fight at distance when they meet at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.
“I think that Plant’s got a very good boxing brain, he just needs to maintain his distance,” Saunders told talkSPORT.
“Make sure you’re out of distance, don’t just think you’re out of distance because that’s the difference when you’re in with world level and elite [level].
“He’s gotta make sure to be on his game all the way, I think he’s gonna give Canelo a good fight.
“Even with it being Canelo, sometimes you can feel very comfortable.
“I think that’s the time where you’ve gotta realise you’re in there with an elite fighter, not a world class fighter and Canelo is an elite fighter.
“But Plant’s got all the tools to cause him problems.
“He’s obviously gotta keep it at long distance.
“Keep it very busy for the first six rounds and finish strong. He’s gotta certainly maintain that jab.”
Canelo is undefeated since a sole defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr in 2013 and has claimed three of the four major belts at 168lbs within almost 11 months, since beating Callum Smith for the WBA ‘super’ and WBC crowns in December.
Saunders, who has been linked with a fight against Chris Eubank Jr expects his former rival to become the first undisputed super middleweight champion with a victory over the distance.
“I’m gonna go with Canelo on points because of the reason of being Canelo,” he added.
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“I know how hard it is to get a decision and what tricks they might play leading up.
“He can’t let any of that get to him, completely brush it over his shoulder and hopefully let his boxing do the talking.”