LAS VEGAS – The Caleb Plant is gone, the 168-pound division was cleaned up, and for Canelo Álvarez the next challenge is clear.
Defeat Gennadiy Golovkin.
What is that, you say? Has Álvarez already beat Golovkin? That is true, of course. In 2018, the two traded hay for 12 rounds, and Alvarez made a close decision. But that victory was far from decisive, and for the past three years two of boxing’s biggest stars have been spinning each other, flirting with the prospect of completing their trilogy.
The time to dance around her is over.
It’s time for Canelo – Golovkin III.
Canelo’s knockout victory over Plant on Saturday highlighted the dearth of real challenges for boxing’s pound-for-pound king. Plant entered the ring with a shiny record and a box of physical tools, and for a few rounds he had Alvarez work. But in the middle rounds he was fighting exclusively with his back foot and after a couple of knockdowns at 11, it was over and Alvarez left as the undisputed super middleweight champion.
Plant’s 168-pound title earned him the fight, and a reported payday of $ 10 million, but not really. to win that. Plant beat official José Uzcátegui to claim the IBF super middleweight title in 2019 and proceeded to defend it against the rowdy killers of Mike Lee, Vincent Feigenbutz and Caleb Truax. He never smelled such a skilled opponent as Alvarez, and he showed, with Alvarez walking straight through Plant’s punches, his speed by keeping Plant’s right hand sheathed close to his chin.
Boxing fans, BoxingScene readers, Substack subscribers gobbling up podcasts and yelling hot comments at them will demand new challenges for Alvarez, but really, what is there? Jermall Charlo? The middleweight champion has evaded any real challenge in the last five years. David Benavidez? The former 168-pound champion has skills, but problems outside the ring have kept him out of the big fights. Dmitry Bivol? Talented, with the Q rating of a Volkswagen.
Critics will point to Golovkin’s résumé since dropping the rematch with Canelo, which is fair. Golovkin’s list of opponents over the past three years – Steve Rolls, Sergiy Derevyanchenko and Kamil Szeremeta, with a middleweight title unification fight against Ryota Murata in December – leaves much to be desired. But Golovkin has fought Alvarez in the way few fighters have, going through 24 grueling rounds, pushing Alvarez in a way that no fighter has done since Floyd Mayweather.
If Canelo – Golovkin doesn’t happen now, when will it happen? Golovkin will turn 40 next year. He will be a huge favorite against Murata, who was elevated to a full title after Alvarez vacated his 160-pound belt. A victory will give Golovkin two pieces of the middleweight title. He’ll have momentum moving up in weight, where a Canelo-Golovkin clash for the undisputed super middleweight championship will add a new layer of intrigue to one of the best rivalries of the last decade.
Golovkin has shown that he will stand his ground and exchange blows with Álvarez, something few, no, no fighter has been willing to do since then. Plant had some success when he came face to face with Alvarez, but those moments were few and far between. In the seventh round, Alvarez, who had spent the previous six stalking Plant, leaned against the ropes, inviting Plant to make contact with him. Plant declined, clearly understanding the consequences of that approach.
Hardcore fans know that Alvarez will be a huge favorite against Golovkin, they know that the 31-year-old has grown as a fighter since he beat Golovkin in 2018, while Golovkin has shown signs of slowing down, but really, who cares. ? More than two million fans, many of them casual, tuned in to the first two Canelo-Golovkin fights, the kind of numbers boxing has not seen since. The purist may prefer Canelo – Benavidez. The average fan doesn’t know who Benavidez is.
Álvarez plans to sit through May, to give his body, tired from four training camps in 11 months, time to recover. He says he will make a decision on his next fight in January. after Golovkin – Murata is settled. There will be tantalizing offers from PBC and Eddie Hearn, challenges at light heavyweight to explore. The bad blood between Álvarez and Golovkin is real, but so is the great deal the two would do in the ring.
Canelo will have time to polish his resume.
Now is the time to settle scores.
More boxing coverage:
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• Caleb Plant is taking on the underdog role in the title fight against Canelo Álvarez
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.