Caleb Plant targeting David Benavidez for September
By Dan Ambrose: IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Plant (20-0, 12 KOs) has bad blood with WBC champion David Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs), and he wants to meet him in September when he’ll be back in action.
Benavidez, 23, has said a lot of stuff about Plant in the past, and it’s gotten to the point where he wants to beat him. Plant says he wants nothing to do with shaking Benavidez’s hand after he hands his first defeat.
The next target for the talented 27-year-old Tennessean Plant is WBA ‘regular’ 168-pound champion Canelo Alvarez or Callum Smith. Plant believes he’ll beat both guys, as well as WBO super middleweight belt holder Billy Joe Saunders.
Plant is coming off of a 10th round knockout win over his IBF mandatory Vincent Feigenbutz (31-3, 28 KOs) on February 15 in Nashville, Tennessee. In beating the 24-year-old Feigenbutz, Plant used a different approach by choosing to slug with the heavy-handed German fighter.
By doing that, Plant made the fight hard. But that’s the way Plant will need to fight at times for him to win over newer boxing fans, who want to see action.
In his last fight, WBC 168-pound champion Benavidez defeated Anthony Dirrell by a 9th round knockout last September.
Plant to fight in September
“When he fought Ronald Gavril to win his world title fight, I was standing at the bottom of the steps saying, ‘Hey, when are we going to fight,'” said Plant to Fighthype. There are people out there who think I’m scared to fight him, but I was the one standing at the bottom of the steps.
“I was the one that put out the video of his promoter saying they don’t want to fight this year. They wanted to wait and make people pay more money. I’m the one that’s saying I want to get it going now, and I’ve been saying that.
“It looks like his fight in April is canceled. So if nobody is going to fight until September, then me and David can fight in September too,” said Plant on his desire to fight Benavidez in September.
“I can assure you that I don’t care who I fight in September. I will fight anybody, Callum Smith. Yildirim is injured. He’s [Benavidez] fighting Roamer Angulo because Yildirim got hurt. So as of now, he’s fighting Roamer Angulo, and I don’t know what’s happening after that.
“Hopefully, me and him can fight, or he may mess around and fight Roamer Angulo, and I don’t know,” said Plant.
It doesn’t look like Plant will be fighting Benavidez in September. If Benavidez is going to defend against #15 WBC fringe contender Roamer Angulo next, then Plant will need to look in a different direction.
WBA Super World 168-pound champion Callum Smith (27-0, 19 KOs) would be a good opponent, but the network issues might make it difficult to put the fight together. Callum fights on DAZN, whereas Plant competes on FOX.
Plant not worried about Benavidez
“So many people don’t know what’s going on. One way. I just got to be myself, that’s it,” said Plant when asked how he can beat Benavidez. “And I don’t have to do anything crazy; I don’t have to do anything special. I just got to go in there and be myself. Everybody else I fought, they’ve been bigger than me too.
“No, Jose [Uzcategui] has got better boxing skills [than Benavidez],” said Plant when asked if Uzcategui helped prepare him for Benavidez. “There’s pros and cons of everything.
“There are things that David does better than Jose, and there are things that Jose does better than David. They’re not the same fighters. They’ve both got their strengths and weaknesses.
“In my last fight, I averaged 600 punches, I think, which is more than a lot of super middleweights,” said Plant. “I let off a lot of combinations in my last fight, and I walked Mike Lee down and knocked him out. Earlier in my career, I came in and was knocking everybody out. I started developing some hand injuries, and I changed up my style to cater to that.
“I kind of got stuck there for a second, hoping I wouldn’t hurt my hands. My punching power is there, my output is there, and I’ve just been trying to get my hand issues under control. For over a year, I’ve been doing punching well,” said Plant.
Benavidez and Plant have been talking trash back and forth for well over a year, and they still haven’t fought. In 2021, Benavidez could wind up signing with Top Rank Boxing after his current promotional contract expires. If/when that happens, Benavidez will be fighting on ESPN, which will make it difficult to put a fight together with Plant.
Plant confident of beating Benavidez and Canelo
“I don’t know. He’s not a scrub, but I know for a fact that I get my hand raised,” said Plant when asked if he’ll stop Benavidez. “Just like when I fight Canelo, I’ll get my hand raised. David Benavidez is fighting Ronald Gavril for a world title. They tossed it to him to knock it out of the park, and it was still a tough fight. Callum Smith had a tough fight against a 5’9” John Ryder.
“Before that fight, they were saying, ‘He should probably kill him. This is just to stay busy. He lost against him. Saunders had a tough battle in his American debut.
“All these guys have had tough fights against guys that they were supposed to kill, and I have yet to do that. I put myself as the baddest super middleweight on God’s green earth. If they don’t believe that, then they need to show it.
“I feel his mental fortitude wasn’t that good against Anthony Dirrell,” said Plant about Benavidez. “He was getting distracted easily. He [Dirrell] was older and over the hill, and on his way out,” said Plant.
Recently, Plant was criticized when he said he didn’t want to be considered for Canelo Alvarez’s next fight because he wanted to rest up after his victory over Vincent Feigenbutz. At the time, Canelo was supposed to be fighting in May, which meant Plant would have had to start training camp immediately after the Feigenbutz fight.
As it turns out, Canelo won’t be fighting in May or June due to the global pandemic. But the boxing public won’t easily forget that Plant wasn’t showing an eagerness to face Canelo.
Benavidez’s lack of discipline will catch up to him – Plant
“Discipline plays a part as well,” said Plant. “So who do you think is more disciplined [between Plant and Benavidez]. I didn’t lose my world title to cocaine. And I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, and I didn’t blow up to 230 pounds. I don’t start training when camp time starts.
“So you know who’s more disciplined. Who stays 10 to 12 pounds away from weight all year round? All I care about fighting. I’m telling you. That s*** is going to catch up [to Benavidez]. It already has. You got to stay disciplined, man. I don’t give a s*** what he’s got going on,” said Plant on Benavidez.
If Plant wants to take on Canelo or Callum Smith, he needs to start calling them out now rather than waiting until September. It’ll be too late by then to get either guy to fight Plant.
With Plant being a PBC fighter competing on FOX, the conflicting network issues may make it impossible for him to face Benavidez. If the two of them were huge stars, then it would be a doable fight. There would be enough boxing fans that would tune in to both networks to watch the fight. That’s not the case, though.
Benavidez is going to need to keep his weight under control if he doesn’t want to eat himself out of the 168lb division. In the light-heavyweight division, Benavidez’s power won’t be as impressive. There are bigger punchers than Benavidez with more talent like Artur Beterbiev, and he’ll have problems those type of fighters.
“They’ve had some things to say about my daughter, who’s not here anymore; about how I use here and talk about my daughter to try and gain clout. And I don’t need to talk about here, and how I need to let her rest, and I don’t need to say her name anymore,” said Plant. “The thing is, energy don’t die. It’s only transferred.
“She may not be here anymore, but her energy still exists in me. So when you talk about my daughter and myself as a father, and how I wasn’t a good dad. ‘You don’t need to talk about her anymore. You’re just using her.’ You don’t play with that. Do you know what I’m saying? They have no right to speak on the dead, especially my daughter.
“That’s not a manly thing to do. My father raised me better than that, you know? I don’t respect that. It’s OK. I’m going to get a hold of him at some point. I’m going to win the fight, I’m going to get my hand raised, and then I’m going to keep pushing. Don’t reach for my hand because I’m going to leave them hanging,” said Plant.
“Or anyone else that has anything to say about my daughter or anything else that has to do with that. After you beat them, you don’t shake their hand. That’s beyond that. It’s passed that. When you go off to war, they leave the women and the children at home,” said Plant.
It looks like Plant is taking things personally, and hopefully, he doesn’t lose his head in his next fight. He needs to stay focused and not let things get to him.
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