Canelo Alvarez is almost universally regarded as the best boxer on the planet right now. After going 14-0-1 in his last 15 fights and winning belts across four different divisions since the lone loss of his career to Floyd Mayweather back in 2013, the Mexican fighter has become the face of the sport.
Still, this Saturday night represents a chance to do something he’s never done: become an undisputed champion of a division by claiming all four of the major belts (WBC, WBO, WBA, IBF) at 168 pounds. To do so, he will need to take down Caleb Plant, an undefeated American who has quickly risen to the top of the division in recent years. There is no shortage of motivation for each fighter, helped by a scuffle at their first press conference that left Plant with a cut under his right eye, but for Canelo, this bout is just as much about continuing to take his place among the all-time greats of the sport as it is about taking out an opponent for whom he has a distaste.
On Wednesday, prior to their fight week presser in Las Vegas, Alvarez sat down with Uproxx over Zoom on behalf of Hennessy to talk about why this fight means so much to him, what he expects from Plant in the ring, and why it’s easy for him to stay motivated even though he’s reached the top of the mountain.
How are you feeling a few days out from fight night?
I feel great. I feel ready for Saturday night.
What’s been your focus in camp as you get ready for Caleb Plant and what he’s going to bring in the ring?
I always focus, focus on being ready 100 percent. You know, we obviously work on how he boxes, like how he moves with jabs, so we trained for that. But at the end of the day, I like to be in the ring the first round and then look how I need to do in the night.
What are you expecting to see from him? Obviously you’ll be ready to adapt, but what are the expectations coming into that first round?
I expect he’s gonna move, using his jab, moving, trying to make the fight difficult for me. So I expect that but I’m, like I say, it’s nothing new for me. I fight before with all the styles, with all the great fighters out there. So for me it’s just, I just need to be patient and do my job.
I know you’ve said you think you can get a knockout in the 7-9 round range. What are the things you think you can do exploit in his defense and wear him down to get to that point where you can finish him?
Like I say, I need to be patient the first rounds and do my job, go forward, moving, and start with the body punches. And then looking for the good combinations, and just like I say, be patient.
This will be your your fourth straight fight at 168. You had a few fights in a row where you were bouncing up and down from middleweight, light heavy, back to super middle. Does it help you to have some consistency in the weight that you’re fighting at and know how your body’s gonna respond in the build up to a fight to be at your best at a certain weight class?
It’s hard going down, going up, so it’s always hard. But I feel great in this weight class. So I feel great in 168. I feel my power is there, my speed, my abilities, I can do it better. So I feel ready in 168.
Why has it been so important to you to go after title fights and go after these unification fights that weren’t always what the top fighters have done in boxing — whether it’s contractual things and all of that. You seem to really pursue those fights.
I like [the] challenge. I always like being there, looking for the best fights out there. In this time, our short term goal is unify all the belts. So for us, it means a lot to be an undisputed fighter, because very few fighters in the history of boxing accomplish that. So for us this means a lot.
You’re partnered with with Hennessy and you’ve been with them for a while. Why is that a brand that you felt has has been aligned with you and your style?
Yeah, because they have the same dreams, the same vision like me. You know, never stop. Never settle. It is like I always thinking about that. I never stop. I never give up. So I feel so good we’re partnered with Hennessy.
When you go from being the guy who’s the young phenom trying to get to the top, to the guy at the top of the sport, how do you maintain that same hunger and drive when you’re the guy being chased?
It’s easy. I love this. I love boxing. I love what I do and for me it’s easy.
Finally, what comes next? Obviously you’re focused on Plant right now, but you said that unification is the short term goal. What’s next on the long term goals for you?
We don’t know yet. So we want to accomplish this fight first and then we will look forward.