LAS VEGAS — Super middleweight world titleholder Caleb Plant may have hit the boxing lottery when unified champion Canelo Alvarez selected him as his next opponent, but to Plant, the job is far from done.
He will be there to win, not just to show up and get paid a career-high guaranteed purse reportedly of $10 million.
“It’s a big fight, it’s a big opportunity, and I’m happy I was able to land it, but the job’s not over,” Plant told a small group of reporters on press row during the Manny Pacquiao-Yordenis Ugas fight on Saturday night at T-Mobile Arena. “I’m not celebrating. I don’t want congratulations. I don’t want people to be happy for me. Give me that congratulations after the fight.”
Alvarez, who holds the three of the major 168-pound belts, and Plant, who has the fourth, finally came to terms last week and will meet in a Premier Boxing Champions pay-per-view headliner on Nov. 6 at a venue to be announced in Las Vegas.
The winner will become the first-ever undisputed super middleweight world champion in the three- or four-belt era, a goal Alvarez has chased for the past year.
Plant will be the heavy underdog, and know most are picking against him. He said he saw a video from one writer saying Alvarez was a slam dunk to win the fight.
“Specifically, I heard your prediction, and I heard who you got, and that’s a fair assessment,” Plant told the reporter. “But I just want to let you know personally that you’re wrong, and I look forward to you coming and telling me after the fight.”
That the fight would happen was touch and go. The sides were negotiating to hold the fight in Las Vegas on Sept. 18, during Mexican Independence Day weekend, a date that is important to Alvarez to fight on. But they could not get the deal done.
When they revisited it, they were able to reach an agreement with promotional and broadcast free agent Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KOs), 31, of Mexico, headed to PBC on a one-fight deal. But they had to move the fight to November because there was not enough time to put it on in September.
Plant said he kept the faith that it would get it done despite the difficulties.
“It was disappointing because we were so close, and it just seemed like – I was so sure it would get done (for September). I had my mouthpieces made that said undisputed on them,” Plant said. “I had already brought people out for camp and (was) training, so I was disappointed. This is an opportunity I’ve been wanting that I’ve been asking for. It was able to come through, and I’m happy about it, and I’m totally locked in and focused. I’m ready to become undisputed.”
While some blamed Plant when the deal appeared to fall apart, he had accepted the terms. The outstanding issues over what would happen to the fight if Plant got injured or sick were between Alvarez and PBC boss Al Haymon.
“Maybe a little frustrating, but you can’t control what people think,” Plant said. “You can’t control what people say, and you can’t always control the narrative either. I think people within the sport, you guys knew what it was. You all knew I wasn’t ducking or hiding. You know my mentality. Whether you believe I’m gonna win the fight or not, you know the type of mentality I have, and how badly I want this and how much work I put in and how much I sacrifice to get here, so I’m happy it was able to come back around.”
Plant (21-0, 12 KOs), 29, a Nashville native fighting out of Las Vegas, will be making his fourth title defense but taking a huge step up in competition. He won the belt by unanimous decision from Jose Uzcategui in January 2019, and his three defenses have been against utterly overmatched Mike Lee, whom he drilled in the third round; mandatory challenger Vincent Feigenbutz, whom he stopped in the 10th round; and a shutout decision over faded former titleholder and mandatory challenger Caleb Truax on Jan. 30. His resume pales compared to the deep one Alvarez has.
Still, Plant is supremely confident that he can hang a second career loss on Alvarez, whose only defeat came by decision to Floyd Mayweather in a junior middleweight mega title fight in 2013.
“I like my chances in any fight. If I didn’t believe I could win, you wouldn’t have these cameras in front of my face right now,” Plant said. “You guys have made plenty of fight predictions before, and you’ve been wrong. But you know how many times I’ve been wrong? None and ever since I started boxing since the first tournament I went to, people have been telling me what I can be, what I can’t be, I don’t belong in this sport, I’m never gonna become a world champion.
“It seems as the more people tell me I couldn’t, the more I believed in myself. And at this point, every comment or every time somebody says you can’t do it, I feel like I’m just even more right, so I’m just ready for the fight.”
CALEB PLANT SPOTLIGHT
Plant said he is also ready for the overwhelming media spotlight that will shine on him as he prepares for the fight. Alvarez, with experience in numerous mega fights, is used to it. Caleb Plant has never had anything remotely close for what he is about to endure.
“The cameras, the media, I know a lot of you guys have been following my career for a long time closely, we’ve done a lot of stories together, and it’s just part of the sport,” Plant said. “I didn’t sign up to be in the fine print. I signed up to be on the cover of this thing, and I know what comes along with that, and part of that is talking to some of you all.
“At the end of the day, this is a blessed position to be in, and it comes with the territory.”