Canelo vs. Plant and U.F.C. 268 Live Updates: Titles on the Line

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Nov. 6, 2021, 7:09 p.m. ET

Nov. 6, 2021, 7:09 p.m. ETImageCanelo Álvarez, left, and Caleb Plant booked their fight before U.F.C. 268 was scheduled.Credit…Joe Camporeale/USA Today Sports, via Reuters

Two big fights being staged on the same night is a rare occurrence, and for good reason. It is difficult enough to convince potential viewers to shell out $70 or $80 for a pay-per-view fight, and it is even more difficult when you have competition for those dollars.

Canelo Álvarez and Caleb Plant publicly booked this date first, settling on it on Aug. 19. Nine days later, the U.F.C. announced that U.F.C. 268 would also take place on Nov. 6. But the U.F.C. has historically held a big event in New York City on the first weekend in November, and the Álvarez-Plant organizers had to know the U.F.C. would be back this year.

“We’re completely unconcerned with the timing of any other competing event,” Stephen Espinoza, the president of Showtime Sports, told ESPN about going up against the U.F.C.

The last time big boxing and U.F.C. events clashed was the first weekend in November two years ago, when Jorge Masvidal defeated Nate Diaz in front of President Trump in New York City and Álvarez knocked out Sergey Kovalev in Las Vegas.

Executives at the streaming service DAZN, which showed the Álvarez-Kovalev fight, made the controversial decision to delay the start of the fight for 90 minutes until after 1 a.m. ET, when Masvidal and Diaz finished up. The telecast captured images of Álvarez and Kovalev practically asleep in their dressing rooms during the long delay before their fight.

Read moreOskar Garcia

Nov. 6, 2021, 7:05 p.m. ET

Nov. 6, 2021, 7:05 p.m. ET

Reporting from U.F.C. 268 at Madison Square Garden.

Good little early crowd at the U.F.C. fights, and let’s just say that plenty of fans are well lubricated already. Emmanuel and I have seen a ref get booed, the stands filling up and extra attention usually not afforded the early prelims.

Kevin Draper

Nov. 6, 2021, 6:53 p.m. ET

Nov. 6, 2021, 6:53 p.m. ETCredit…Frank Franklin II/Associated Press

U.F.C. 268 is an all-ESPN affair in the United States.

The only place to watch the main card, which begins at 10 p.m. Eastern time, is on ESPN+, ESPN’s streaming service. The pay-per-view will set you back $69.99. If you do not yet subscribe to ESPN+, which normally costs $69.99 annually, you can buy it together with U.F.C. 268 for $89.98, saving $50.

The prelims, starting at 8 p.m. Eastern, will air on ESPN+, ESPNews and ESPN Deportes. The early prelims started at 6 p.m. Eastern on ESPN+.

If that sounds like a lot of ESPN+, well that’s the point. ESPN pays the U.F.C. hundreds of millions of dollars annually for the exclusive right to show the sport in the United States. If you are a U.F.C. fan, or becoming one, you all but have to subscribe to ESPN+.

Canelo Álvarez vs. Caleb Plant

Watching Canelo Álvarez defend all of his belts is a pricey affair. Showtime is selling the pay-per-view for $79.99, and it can be bought through its website, but also many other outlets such as pay television providers like DirecTV, Xfinity and AT&T U-verse, and streaming services like YouTube and Sling. If it is a service you watch television on, it is probably selling the fight.

The main card of four fights begins at 9 p.m. ET, and Álvarez and Plant are expected to enter the ring around midnight Eastern time. The four card preliminary card will not be aired.

Read moreEmmanuel Morgan

Nov. 6, 2021, 6:31 p.m. ET

Nov. 6, 2021, 6:31 p.m. ET

U.F.C. 268

Credit…John Locher/Associated Press

Kamaru Usman became the welterweight champion in 2019 after defeating the former champion, Tyron Woodley, via decision. Since then, he has defended the belt four times, finishing three fights by knockout.

His first title defense came against Colby Covington in 2019, a competitive five-round battle that ended in the last round when Usman landed shots to Covington on the ground that compelled the referee, Marc Goddard, to end the bout. Covington contends that the stoppage was early because he claims he was defending himself, and he also accused Usman of exaggerating his reactions to a kick close to the groin and an eye poke that caused Goddard to pause the fight twice.

The two men genuinely dislike each other, as evidenced by the insults they have hurled at each other and heated broadcast interviews they participated in. Covington in particular has been brash, latching himself onto the former President Donald J. Trump, wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and promoting Donald Trump Jr.’ s book.

In the cage, Usman is the more muscular man, but Covington absorbed most of his punches well during their last fight. To win, Covington will need to use his cardio advantage and set an aggressive pace while also varying his attacks between striking and wrestling. Usman is a more well-rounded fighter and is a -300 betting favorite. His light, straight jabs hold enough power to send a person to the ground. He could win in a variety of ways, but will likely attempt to use his reach advantage to keep Covington at a distance.

Read moreMorgan Campbell

Nov. 6, 2021, 6:31 p.m. ET

Nov. 6, 2021, 6:31 p.m. ET

Álvarez-Plant FIGHT

Credit…Gregory Bull/Associated Press

Canelo Álvarez, who is Mexico’s highest-profile active boxing star, would have preferred to fight Caleb Plant on Sept. 18, which would have lined up near Mexican Independence Day and made the title bout part of a broader celebration. His record features five Independence weekend title fights, and six more on Cinco de Mayo weekend.

Álvarez, 31, owns the World Boxing Association, World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organization titles; Plant, 29, has been the International Boxing Federation champion since 2019.

By midsummer, a deal for a September bout was nearly finalized — and then it fell apart.

Álvarez and Plant agreed to terms by August for the fight on Saturday. The new contract satisfied both fighters, but the Nov. 6 date placed it in direct competition with U.F.C. 268 for sports fans’ attention and pay-per-view dollars.

Álvarez is guaranteed a reported $40 million for the bout, and the payday is a nod to his status as one of the top draws in boxing. His most recent fight, a knockout win over Billy Joe Saunders, attracted more than 73,000 spectators to AT&T Stadium. The money also acknowledges Álvarez’s status as the sport’s top pound-for-pound fighter, unless Plant upsets him.

Read moreEmmanuel Morgan

Nov. 6, 2021, 6:30 p.m. ET

Nov. 6, 2021, 6:30 p.m. ET

U.F.C. 268

Credit…Gary Mccullough/Associated Press

Rose Namajunas stripped Joanna Jedrzejczyk, who at the time had dominated the women’s strawweight division, of the title in 2017 via technical knockout. She lost the belt in 2019 but regained it in April, when she head-kicked Zhang Weili, her left foot tapping Zhang’s chin and sending her to the ground. Zhang, once up, contested the stoppage.

Zhang became the first Chinese champion in U.F.C. history in 2019, and her defeat to Namajunas was viewed as a quick end to what should have been a competitive, fast-paced fight between the world’s best 115-pounders. Since the loss, Zhang began training with Henry Cejudo, the former U.F.C. flyweight and bantamweight double champion. Namajunas will most likely use her reach advantage and superior striking, while Zhang will look to grapple in the clinch.