BOXING press conferences are rarely dramatic in their own right. Typically a few anodyne comments follow thanks to God, and Al Haymon, sometimes even the venue operator chimes in with a speech of their own. But when Canelo Alvarez met Caleb Plant Tuesday night to formally announce their November 6 super-middleweight championship fight, pandemonium broke loose.
The two fighters exchanged words during their face off, and Alvarez pushed Plant across the stage. The latter strode back towards him and swiped his hand across. Canelo swayed away instantly and slammed back open palms, knocking off Plant’s sunglasses and leaving the American scratched on his right cheek.
It was an extraordinary way to kick off the build up to one of the biggest American fights this year, which Showtime will screen on pay-per-view and the MGM Grand hosts. Alvarez, a global superstar, clearly has lost none of his reaction speed, but he rarely loses his composure. “You can say whatever to me, but not to my mom. I’m going to fight anyone who says something about my mom. And he swung first. I just pushed him. He swung first, and I do what I do. He crossed the line,” Canelo said. “It will be over in eight rounds or less. I’m going to knock out this guy. Easy.”
Plant was unsparing in his condemnation of Canelo. Noting Alvarez’s six-month suspension for failing a drug test in 2018, Plant condemned him as a cheat. “You’re a drug cheat,” Plant said at the podium. “Oscar Valdez [one of Canelo’s gym mates] can pop positive for something and not get suspended for six months but he can pop positive for something and get suspended for six months but somehow he isn’t a drug cheat? You’re a cheater… You got suspended for six months, you’re a cheater.”
Animated, Alvarez retorted, “Don’t make excuses before the fight. See you November 6. You’re going to see something special on you.”
“You are not on my level and you will find out November 6. You don’t want to fight now, I promise you,” Canelo continued. “We come from nothing and we worked hard to be here. For somebody to lie and talk trash about us, that upset Eddy [Reynoso, his trainer]. It is what it is though. We just have to show everyone who we are on November 6.
“Caleb might be on the same level as Billy Joe Saunders and Callum Smith, but he’s not on my level. I respect that he isn’t here to back down. You can see from today that this is definitely going to be a good fight.
“I know what I need to do and I know a lot about him. He’s a good fighter but I know my skills. My experience is going to give me the edge in the fight. I have faced similar styles to Caleb’s against Floyd Mayweather, Erislandy Lara, Austin Trout and Saunders.
“He’s an insecure person and that’s why he came with a lot of excuses about lots of things. I don’t care about it though.
“To be undisputed is history for Mexico and for everyone on my team. To be the undisputed champion is just a great thing for my career.”