Caleb Plant to fight Anthony Dirrell next, NOT Benavidez

By Sean Jones: Caleb Plant will be fighting the grizzled ex-168-lb champion Anthony Dirrell next instead of the unbeaten rising star David Benavidez for his next fight.

Jake Donovan is reporting that Plant will likely be fighting Dirrell next.  The fact that Plant hasn’t denied the fight with Dirrell is happening next suggests that he’ll be his next opponent.

The plan is for Plant to fight Dirrell, and if he wins, he’ll face Benavidez in September.

There’s no word yet whether Plant vs. Dirrell will be televised on Showtime pay-per-view. Some boxing fans are already predicting that this fight will be sold on PPV rather than on regular Showtime.

Given that the former IBF super-middleweight champion Plant is coming off an 11th round knockout loss to Canelo Alvarez last November, it would be a colossal disappointment for boxing fans to pay to see him fight the fading Dirrell rather than an elite fighter like Benavidez.

The former two-time WBC super-middleweight champion Dirrell (34-2-1, 25 KOs), now 37-years-old and on the downside of his career, is 1-1-1 in his last three contests. Dirrell’s defeat came at the hands of Benavidez in 2019, losing by a ninth-round knockout.

Last Sunday night, Jose Benavidez Sr. revealed that former IBF super-middleweight champion Plant (21-1, 12 KOs) had declined a fight with Benavidez. As such, Benavidez will focus on his May 21st WBC 168-lb title eliminator against David Lemieux and then go from there.

Dirrell is coming off of a fourth-round knockout win over Marcos Hernandez (15-5-2, 3 KOs) last November. It was interesting to watch how much celebrating Dirrell did after his victory over the second-tier fighter Hernandez.

Image: Caleb Plant to fight Anthony Dirrell next, NOT Benavidez

The way that Dirrell was carrying on after having his hand raised, you’d think he just captured a world title rather than beating a fighter with a 15-5-2 record.

It showed this writer how desperate Dirrell is to find wins at this late stage in his career. A better indication of where Dirrell is at talent-wise at this point in his career was how he struggled to defeat Avni Yildirim by a narrow 10 round technical decision in February 2019.

The fight was halted because of a cut that Dirrell had sustained. At the time of the stoppage, Yildirim was coming on and looked like he was on his win.

In Yildirim’s next two fights against his narrow loss to Dirrell, he was blown out of the water in four rounds by Canelo Alvarez in February 2021 and then soundly beaten by British domestic-level super middleweight Jack Cullen last July.

“Team Benavidez has reached out to Team Plant, and unfortunately, Caleb Plant has declined to fight David Benavidez September 2022,” said Jose Benavidez Sr. on Instagram on Sunday.

“David is willing to make the best fights happen for the fans, but unfortunately, the fighters who the fans want to see do not want to fight @benavidez300.”

If you’re Benavidez, he would be better off focusing on lining up a fight with Demetrius Andrade for later this year rather than investing any more time in trying to set up a match against Plant.

With Andrade, it’s a doable fight that can be made, and Benavidez won’t wind up empty-handed again.  The last thing Benavidez needs is to waste time trying to fight someone that will pull the rug out from under the fight and come up with another excuse for why he can’t face him.

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