On Nov. 6, the entire world of boxing will stop to witness history in the making as Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez will try to achieve what no other prizefighter of Mexican descent has ever achieved before, to become an undisputed champion.
Alvarez, 31, who is considered boxing’s pound-for-pound king and who holds the WBC, WBA, WBO and The Ring Magazine super middleweight titles, will face the IBF title holder Caleb ‘Sweethands’ Plant, 29, at the MGM Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. Should Alvarez win, he would also become the first Latin American prizefighter to achieve the title of undisputed champion.
“It’s going to be one of the biggest achievements of my career without a doubt because no one has ever achieved that in Mexico or in Latin America,” Canelo told El Tecolote and other reporters during a Zoom conference call. “I would be the first and obviously in the world I would be one of a few because few have achieved this. This fight is going to be huge for my career and we’re very motivated for that. Eddy [Reynoso, Canelo’s trainer] proposed to become a unified champion and here we are, one fight away from becoming that.”
There have been many champions throughout history of boxing that have unified titles but only three boxers have become undisputed during the four sanctioning bodies era from 2007 until now. Oleskander Usyk of Ukraine, Josh Taylor of the United Kingdom and Terrence Crawford of the United States are the only boxers to have collected all the belts in their respective weight classes from all four sanctioning organizations that control boxing. With a win over Plant, Canelo would collect the IBF title and etch his name in boxing history by becoming the fourth to win it all at super-middleweight.
Back in 2010, Canelo made his MGM Grand Garden Arena debut as a youngster against Miguel Cotto’s older brother, Jose Miguel Cotto. Since then, the Tapatío superstar has won championship titles at light middleweight/super-welterweight (154 pounds), middleweight (160 pounds), super-middleweight (168 pounds) and light-heavyweight (175 pounds).
Canelo is returning to the iconic MGM Grand Garden Arena where he’s enjoyed historic wins over Sergey Kovalev, Erislandy Lara and Shane Mosley, but also where he suffered his only defeat to Floyd Mayweather Jr. in 2013.
“Since then I’ve kept on dreaming of being one of the best boxers in history,” said Canelo. “Obviously we started this 16-17 years ago with that same mentality and we keep believing that. We’re not retiring yet and we want to continue to be the best in this. Like they say: ‘The easiest part is not getting there but staying on top.’ Here we are and I still have many years left but with that same hope of being the best.”
However, prior to becoming one of the best in his profession, as a child, Canelo lived in poverty and sold ice cream on buses to earn some money back in Mexico. His love for boxing grew when he saw his older brother and former professional prizefighter Rigoberto Alvarez box. It would be Rigoberto Alvarez who would give Canelo his first pair of gloves and in 2005 at the age of 15, Canelo would make his debut as a professional prizefighter, beating Abraham Gonzalez by technical knockout.
Canelo’s quest for undisputed champion at super-middleweight began in 2018 when he fought Rocky Fielding at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Canelo ended the bout with a left hook to the body in the third round, winning the WBA title. Last year Canelo faced Callum Smith for the vacant WBC super-middleweight title in San Antonio, Texas, where he won a unanimous decision over the English fighter. Earlier this year, Canelo faced Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO title at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The fight was stopped in the eighth round after Canelo landed a brutal counter right uppercut, breaking Saunders’ orbital bone.
This set the stage for Nov 6, with Canelo seeking vengeance after an altercation took place between him and Plant during their first press conference in Los Angeles on Sept. 21.
“Because of all the talk, all the shit he said so that’s why. He crossed the line, maybe too much, that’s why it’s personal,” said Canelo. “But at the same time it’s one of the most important fights for me.”
As Canelo is looking to add more championship hardware to his collection, so is his trainer Reynoso, who was nominated for the National Sports Award in Mexico.
“It’s going to be a complicated fight in the first few rounds,” said Reynoso. “But experience will come into play, strength and the best boxing abilities that Canelo possesses. At the end of the day we’re going to win all the championships like we planned and we’re ready.”
As for Canelo, the Mexican says: “I hope he has a good chin because he’s going to need it.”