Caleb Plant, age 27, likely at the pinnacle right now of his athletic prime, currently holds the IBF super middleweight crown, and he defended the strap against Mike Lee on the Manny Pacquiao-Keith Thurman undercard back in July.
Lee proved to be an easy out. And, some are saying on social media the next tango will also be easy work, after seeing Mike Coppinger report that Plant’s next defense will come in February against Alfredo Angulo.
You know Angulo — or, actually, you might be more likely to know of him if you were more so a heavy duty fan in like 2010. That was “El Perro’s” heyday, and he snagged wins over Joel Julio, Joachim Alcine, Joe Martinez, and then snagged a winner gets big buzz tango against James Kirkland.
The Texan Kirkland got the W there, and Angulo solidiered on. Those bred for this, born to this, usually do, even after some Ls pile up. Because optimism is easier to marshal earlier in a career, more diffucult when you hit the 30s, and becomes conflated with stubbornness for many practitioners.
Angulo, now 37, won his last fight against Peter Quillin, who turns 37 in June. They scrapped Sept. 21, and Angulo was able to catch Quillin often enough, and buzz him enough, to get that judge love.
Two of three judges saw the California boxer the victor after 10. And the victor is getting some spoils in the form of a title shot against Plant, age 27 (I repeat that for age disparity effect), holder of a 19-0 mark.
Abel Sanchez will train and corner Angulo, now two divisions north of his heyday tenure, as he did for his return to the big stage glory versus Quillin. I asked Sanchez, the Cali-based tutor, his thoughts on Angulo’s chance to topple a young gun from a perch.
“He earned the fight by beating number one Quillin. It’s a tough task, but nobody gave us a chance against Quillin,” Sanchez said. “I think it was 20-1 odds against. Now the realism, Plant is one of the young champions at that weight, probably one of the top three, but fighters train and struggle for the opportunity, albeit a difficult one. But we have it, so now we start preparing to give our best. Every title challenge should be a tough one, there is a reason why they are champion!”
So is Plant beatable for Angulo, 3-5 in his last eight before the Quillin test?
“Sure as hell going to try,” said Sanchez, ”because history tells us everybody is beatable at any given time.”