The build up has been a hostile one, but Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas will see the undisputed super middleweight title contested for, as Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez puts his WBC, WBA ‘super’, and WBO belts on the line against IBF ruler, Caleb Plant.
Canelo and Plant met at a press conference, where fists flew, and they have made no secret of their dislike for each other. The intriguing clash can be seen on BT Sport Box Office in the UK, while SHOWTIME have the USA rights on pay-per-view.
Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs) needs little introduction, and is building an impressive legacy that is already Hall of Fame worthy.
A four-weight world champion, the Mexican has settled at 168 pounds after a brief foray into light heavyweight waters in November 2019, where he halted Sergey Kovalev in eleven to win the WBO title.
Since then, he dominated Callum Smith on the cards to take the WBA ‘super’ title and vacant WBC super middleweight crown.
After the Smith win, he retained his titles in a simple third round retirement win over the overwhelmed Avni Yildirim, and in his last fight, he was pressed by Billy Joe Saunders before finding the spiteful punches to force the Brit to surrender after eight, along with his WBO title.
The 31-year-old now goes after the one remaining belt at the weight, but Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) will be in the mood to cause a monumental upset.
Born in Tennessee, ‘Sweethands’ became world champion in January 2019, dropping Jose Uzcategui twice on the way to a points win, and he followed that win up with stoppage wins against Mike Lee (TKO3) and Vincent Feigenbutz (TKO10).
The 29-year-old was last seen in January, winning every round against former champion, Caleb Truax.
Prediction: Plant is certainly a decent test for Alvarez, but the Mexican is a special force, and I can’t see him not adding to his world title haul.
Plant will start brightly, as many before him have, but Canelo can break him down and break his spirit in the championship rounds, where he should get the job done in around ten rounds.
Vargas tackles Baez
Rey Vargas gave up his WBC super bantamweight title in 2019, and hasn’t fought since.
The Mexican was touted to take on Gary Russell Jr for the WBC belt at featherweight, but he instead returns at super bantamweight here against Leonardo Baez over ten.
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Vargas (34-0, 22 KOs) became world champion in 2017 against Gavin McDonnell, and defended five times, the most recent a July 2019 decision win against Tomoki Kameda.
Baez (21-4, 12 KOs) is on a run of three straight wins against modest opposition.
Prediction: Vargas should win inside schedule.
Former WBC super middleweight champion, Anthony Dirrell looks to get back on track against Marcos Hernandez (15-4-2, KO3) over a scheduled ten.
Dirrell (33-2-2, 24 KOs) has lost his way in recent times, after dropping his title to David Benavidez by ninth round knockout in September 2019, and his comeback was a disappointing one, held to a split draw by Kyrone Davis over twelve in February.
Prediction: Hernandez is 2-3-1 in his last six, and Dirrell should take a wide win on the scorecards.
At super lightweight, Elvis Rodriguez (11-1-1, 10 KOs) returns after defeat last time out, and he can end the unbeaten run of Mexico’s Juan Pablo Romero (14-0, 9 KOs) on points over ten.
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In eight rounders, Jose Manuel Gomez (12-0, 5 KOs) should outscore Jose Antonio Meza (7-6, 2 KOs) in their super featherweight clash, and at flyweight, Joselito Velazquez (13-0-1, 9 KOs) can halt Gilberto Mendoza (19-10-3, 10 KOs) inside the distance.
At super flyweight, unbeaten Jan Salvatierra (7-0, 3 KOs) takes on Fernando Diaz (9-1-1, 2 KOs) over six rounds and Salvatierra should remain undefeated with a points victory.