So much for the staged showdown between boxers used to promote an upcoming fight.
Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant appeared to exchange real punches Tuesday as things turned ugly at the outset of a press conference to promote their fight Nov. 6 for the undisputed super middleweight championship.
After the event, Plant had a bandage on the right side of the face and said he got scratched by his sunglasses during the altercation. It started after the fighters were introduced and standing face-to-face for the traditional photo opp. As is customary, the boxers wore stern expressions while exchanging words. Then the script gave way to something clearly unplanned.
Alvarez shoved Plant and barked profanities.
Plant marched back at Alvarez and swung with a left hand that missed.
Alvarez responded, landing a right hand with a closed fist near Plant’s neck.
Moments after a verbal exchange escalated into fisticuffs, the fighters were separated. It took several minutes to restore order and to resume the event at The Beverly Hilton hotel in Beverly Hills, California.
While Plant dabbed at his right cheek with what looked like a cloth, Alvarez was tending to his left forearm. It was unclear if Alvarez had injured himself during the altercation.
Plant indicated he was unclear why the verbal exchange led to punches being thrown.
Explained Alvarez, “He can say whatever he wants to me, but not to my Mom.’’
The source of Alvarez’s anger became clearer later in the press conference when Plant said, “So mark my words, November sixth, you will hear the words, ‘The new undisputed middleweight (champion).’ The only difference is right after that you’ll hear the words, ‘and still undefeated.’”
Plant, who is 21-0, would remain undefeated with a victory. Alvarez, who is 56-1-2, laughed at Plant’s remark.
Plant: “That’s funny? You think that’s funny?’’
Alvarez: “A little bit.’’
Plant: “Yeah? Well, keep laughing. You keep laughing mother (expletive), because you know when you’re going to find out? Real soon.’’
Alvarez: “Don’t say mother (expletive). Don’t say mother (expletive).’’
Instead, Plant repeatedly called Alvarez a “drug cheat.’’
In 2018, Alvarez was suspended for six months by Nevada Athletic Commission after he tested positive for the banned performance-enhancing drug clenbuterol.
“Don’t make excuses,’’ Alvarez told Plant. “Don’t make excuses before the fight.’’
The fight, the one to be held inside an actual boxing ring, is no less than seven weeks away.