LOS ANGELES • Saul "Canelo" Alvarez and rival Caleb Plant came to blows on Tuesday as a press conference to hype up their Nov 6 showdown for the undisputed world super middleweight crown erupted into violence.
Unbeaten American Plant was left with a cut under his right eye following the fiery exchange at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles.
Alvarez, widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound fighter in boxing, triggered the melee after coming face-to-face with Plant.
With both men trading expletives, the 31-year-old Mexican shoved his 29-year-old opponent forcefully in the chest, sending him staggering across the stage.
Plant responded with a wild left hook - which Alvarez ducked comfortably before landing two counter-punches, causing a cut under the right eye of the younger man.
Security and members of both fighters' entourage both scrambled onto the stage to break up the fight.
The following press conference also threatened to erupt after Plant again addressed Alvarez with an expletive-laden tirade before accusing him of being a "drug cheat".
Alvarez tested positive for a banned steroid in 2018, forcing the postponement of his fight with Kazakh Gennady Golovkin.
"You're a drug cheat... you're a cheater," Plant (21 wins, 12 knockouts) snapped.
"Don't make excuses before the fight," Alvarez responded angrily.
"Say whatever you say. I'm gonna see you on November 6. You're gonna see something special, and feel something special."
The future Hall of Famer (56-1-2, 38 KOs) later said the face-off turned violent after Plant insulted his mother.
"He can say whatever he wants to me, but not to my mum," Alvarez said. "He swung, I just pushed him."
But Plant insisted his rival triggered the brawl.
"All we were doing was staring at each other. He had something to say, I had something to say. He's gonna beat me, I'm gonna beat him," he said. "And then he did what he did."
Alvarez will defend his World Boxing Association, World Boxing Council and World Boxing Organisation crowns against Plant, the International Boxing Federation champion, and is seeking his eighth win in a row.
Having already won world titles in four weight classes and held unified belts as a junior middleweight and middleweight, Alvarez is aiming to become the first undisputed super middleweight world champion.