Is the Alvarez versus Plant bout on the verge of exploding?!
In the final days before Saul “Canelo” Alvarez (56-1-2, 38 KO’s) fought Billy Joe Saunders, IBF World middleweight champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant (21-0, 12 KO’s) let it be known he wasn’t going to be cheap. Alvarez, the WBA Super, WBO and WBC 168-pound champ, needed Plant’s IBF title to complete his mission of unifying the division. Realizing his pivotal position, Sweethands openly demanded no less than ten million dollars. There were those that scoffed at this, thinking that he was overpricing himself and simultaneously endangering the fight.
Ultimately, the money doesn’t appear to be an issue. Although, that is not to say that there is not an issue. Plant was not the only person to see the value in the undisputed prizefight. Sweethands is a Premier Boxing Champions fighter which is an organization helmed by the mysterious Al Haymon. Apparently Haymon wants to hold Alvarez up for a three-fight deal. At least this is the story that Eddie Hearn, who negotiates for Alvarez, told on the AK and Barak Show.
“The whole point of Canelo’s free network agency status is to be able to make fights like this, yet still it’s like ‘here’s a three-fight deal!’ Like, no, no we can make a fight but just give us an offer for that fight…that’s what they would prefer. They would prefer to do a three-fight deal obviously with Canelo Alvarez. This is their opportunity to try to allure him to the network via a Caleb Plant fight. I feel like Caleb Plant shouldn’t be a pawn in this. Caleb Plant is a guy that should just get the best deal and the best opportunity for this fight. Unfortunately that’s boxing.”
IT’S A GOOD LOOK THOUGH
So far, this has been too tall an order for Canelo Alvarez to fill and therefore negotiations have suffered greatly. This could only be expected being the industry big dog that Alvarez is. It is probably little more than a reflexive knee-jerk reaction to say ‘no’ when essentially being muscled around. Going a step beyond however, this is actually a good deal for Canelo if he wanted to prove he was truly king of the hill. In this hypothetical three-fight deal, it’s not outrageous to believe that Jermall Charlo and David Benavidez are the two other fighters being suggested.
Obviously if he beats Caleb Plant, he becomes undisputed and makes history, so that’s why that is relevant. In some folks’ eyes however, there would still remain an asterisk by his claim of undisputed. That is due to the backhanded way that the WBC all but handed it to Canelo. Since he never lost the title in the ring but rather on the scales, many feel that Benavidez, who is also a legitimate threat, deserves a fight. That’s why that bout makes sense.
A great number of boxing fans have been calling for the Charlo bout since well before Canelo made his exodus from middleweight to the 168-pound division. So tying up that long unattended loose end is why the Charlo fight makes sense. Each and every one of those bouts are huge events against great competition, all-action fights and are all pay-per-view worthy. Not to mention if Canelo triumphs over this gauntlet, there would be no credible way to deny his supremacy at super middleweight.
BUSINESS OVER LEGACY?
Given the politics of boxing and stubbornness of egos, this three-fight deal will likely not come to pass. If it truly doesn’t, it will be a shame because these really do represent three of Canelo’s stiffest opposition. Signing up to take them on one after another is its own level of badass, win, lose or draw. That’s why it’d be a shame if nothing more than pride gets in the way. Yet, at the moment, nothing is written in stone, so let’s wait and see how the whole situation plays out.
“This week is the crunch week. We have to make a decision this week…and have two or three other fights ready to go. You know we can abort Caleb Plant and we could announce tomorrow. But we want to give that every opportunity to succeed because he does want to become undisputed.”
By: Bakari Simpson