By Sam Volz: Terence Crawford expects former two-time WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez to walk down and impose his will on former IBF 168-lb champion Caleb ‘Sweethands’ Plant in their match in March.
The World Boxing Council has ordered the Plant vs. Benavidez fight as a final 168-lb eliminator to determine a mandatory challenger for champion Canelo Alvarez.
Interestingly, Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) is already the mandatory and interim WBC super middleweight champion, but that hasn’t been enough to get the sanctioning body to order Canelo to fight him.
Now that the WBC has ordered Benavidez and Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) to battle in a final eliminator, it would appear to be a move to let Canelo know that he’s going to be expected to defend against the winner or give up the belt.
“That’s going to be a tough fight for both. Benavidez is the bigger, stronger fighter in that fight,” Terence Crawford to Fighthype about his view of the Caleb Plant vs. David Benavidez fight.
“He’s [Benavidez] got great hand speed, and he’s not going to be able to box on the outside with Plant, so I feel like he will try to impose his will and make it a fight, a dog fight, and walk him down.
“Plant, his boxing skills are great, and he’s always in shape; he’s always prepared. And him being smart, he can get the job done as well. So I got that as a 50/50 fight,” said Crawford.
The average boxing fan doesn’t see the Plant vs. Benavidez fight as a “50-50” match-up as Crawford does. They think it’s a clear victory for Benavidez, as he’s the younger, bigger, stronger, tougher, and better-conditioned fighter of the two.
It’s questionable whether Canelo will choose to defend against the Plant-Benavidez winner if it’s Benavidez that comes out on top.
Canelo already has his 2023 schedule filled, with him expected to take a soft tune-up against John Ryder in May and then a rematch with Dmitry Bivol in September. It’s anyone’s guess what Canelo will do if he loses to Bivol a second time.
One can’t imagine he’ll be eager to get it on with Benavidez in December next year or in May 2024. In that case, Canelo will probably give up the WBC belt and swerve Benavidez.
If Plant beats Benavidez, Canelo takes that fight because he’s already proven he can beat him.