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Canelo fever strikes Las Vegas as Alvarez and Plant hit the scales

Canelo weigh in
Al Bello/Getty Images
Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant make weight for their super-middleweight championship fight. John Dennen reports

OF course Canelo Alvarez was going to weigh in exactly on the super-middleweight limit. Every move of his career over the last year has been expertly plotted and precisely executed. For his crucial championship fight with Caleb Plant on Saturday he wasn’t just going to make weight, he hit 168lbs dead on.

Plant looked in fine shape himself at Friday’s weigh in. He stood placidly on the scales at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. He made 167lbs and raised both fists above his head pointing a finger on each hand up, looking skywards he had a moment with his own thoughts before the raucous crowd captured his attention once again.

There can be no doubting who has won the hearts of the supporters in Las Vegas. Well before the arena had even opened great crowds clustered round the casino floor, waiting for the opportunity to get inside and see their favourite in person.

Canelo Alvarez took to the stage, in a glimmering bright pyjama suit, sunglasses off but looking every inch the star and his fans cheered wildly for him. They booed Plant, the enemy in this fight and the American registered it. He shook his head, thumped a fist to his chest and declared, “It’s easy to sit in those seats… Remember that. I was born for this, this is my destiny.”

Canelo made Plant wait for him as he scooped up his array of different belts. The two had been prevented from facing off earlier this week but went head-to-head on the weigh in stage. Security stood between them, everybody else assembled on the stage massed close around them, on either side the groups pressed round the back of each man. Even the former ‘baddest man on the planet’ Mike Tyson stood between the two fighters. But Alvarez and Plant locked on to each other, talking to one another solely, neither man turning away to acknowledge the crowd now. Their focus was on each other, on their opponent in tomorrow’s fight. Plant pointed at Canelo now, unwilling to be prised away. Canelo’s head and his solid chin jutted forward as he continued to speak to Plant, his shirt stripped off and every inch the prizefighter once again.

“You will see tomorrow,” Canelo said to him. “It’s time.”

Separated finally, Alvarez buttoned his pyjama top back on and the aggression cleared from his face. But he warned, “He will feel something different, believe me.”

At present it’s hard to doubt Alvarez. Mike Tyson doesn’t. “He proved himself to be the best fighter of a generation,” the heavyweight great said of Alvarez. To have Tyson there with him, Canelo said, “It means a lot.” Perhaps only fellow superstars understand what it’s really like to be at the centre of this kind of frenzy. Alvarez’s family, his team, ranks of security guards enveloped him like a phalanx, marching him through the arena floor. The crowd stayed in their seats, cheering still. Canelo at the heart of it all, waved back to them. He smiled, walked on and the procession around him moved to his pace.

All that’s left to do now is fight.

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