Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez is chasing greatness, not Caleb Plant, in his quest for boxing immortality

Canelo Alvarez is chasing greatness, not Caleb Plant

In Canelo Alvarez's eyes, he is after something so much more than Caleb Plant's IBF super-middleweight title that will be standing across the ring from him on November 6. 

'Canelo', or to give him his full name Santos Saul Alvarez Barragan, is a couple of sleeps away from becoming Mexico's first undisputed world super-middleweight champion as he prepares to defend his titles against the American at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Plant's shiny IBF belt represents the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle, a quest which Canelo and coach Eddy Reynoso set out on during the early stages of the pandemic. Unifying the belts would undoubtedly be an amazing feat, but it goes so much deeper than that.

Legacy is a word that gets bandied about a lot, especially when it comes to boxing, but in his case it is entirely justifiable. What Canelo is fighting for is his legacy and his place amongst the greatest Mexican pugilists of all time. 

"What I would hope to do is make history in my career and that’s what we’re looking for in this fight," Canelo said, in an exclusive interview with Complex, ahead of his return to action this weekend.

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With a little over 24 hours to go before he looks to add another belt to his growing collection this weekend, the current pound-for-pound king has made it clear this is no longer simply about beating the American. In fact, it never has been, really, as he yearns for something far greater.

The 31-year-old lists the great Julio Cesar Chavez as his biggest inspiration but has previously said he'll never regard himself in the same class as the man he has idolised since he fought on the streets of his hometown Guadalajara.  

"I want to tell you up front that I do not want to be better than you, or to be your equal, because you are the greatest and you've been the best thing for me," Canelo said when addressing Chavez Sr

"I watched you in videos and learned from watching you. You have my deepest respects, but I want to make my own history and be one of the best, but my respects will always be to you."

Canelo Alvarez celebrates after beating Billy Joe Saunders

Alvarez is well on the way to doing that already. A four-weight world champion, Canelo is a shoo-in for fighter of the year - but that's not at all, either.  

Let's get it right, Plant didn't pick Canelo, Canelo picked Plant, and he did so not by biding his time and sitting on the sidelines, but by literally going out there and clearing out an entire division of all its former champions past and present. 

It was Canelo who took a risk by challenging Callum Smith. Not Plant, who was busy preparing for his fight with Caleb Truax. It was Canelo who accepted the challenge of the unfancied Avni Yıldırım. Not Plant, who later revealed he had injured two of the knuckles on his left hand during his fight with Truax. It was Canelo who proved the doubters wrong by outboxing Billy Joe Saunders. Not Plant, who was nowhere to be seen despite the opportunity seemingly presenting itself on a plate.

It seems Plant - and this is no disrespect - was simply content to rattle off a string of consecutive victories against the likes of Vincent Feigenbutz, Mike Lee and José Uzcátegui. All respectable opponents, sure, but hardly the stuff of legend.

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Canelo

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Despite being the underdog going into this fight, Plant is the one who is undefeated. But there is a reason why Canelo is the heavy favourite. Five of his past 15 opponents have been undefeated and he has dealt with all of them fairly convincingly, all except for Floyd Mayweather, who handed him the first loss of his career. Granted, Plant is no Mayweather, indeed very few are, but he is still expected to put up a good fight nonetheless.

But it is the occasion that matters the most, the opponent less so. Canelo, who will fight for the fourth time in the span of 11 months, has the chance to create history. In all honesty, so does Plant, but the likelihood of that happening are slim to none.

In Canelo's case, assuming all goes as planned and he emerges victorious on Saturday night, he will have achieved something that even the great Chavez Sr was unable to do. If he is successful, he will become the first undisputed super-middleweight champion in history. For context, that is something that no fighter - not Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank nor Joe Calzaghe - can lay claim to.

At this point in his career, Canelo continues to prove a point. And when it is all said and done, who's to say he won't go down in history as not just the greatest Mexican fighter of all time, but one of the greatest of them all?    

READ MORE: Floyd Mayweather’s masterclass against Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez taught him a lesson he’ll never forget

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