David Benavidez and Caleb Plant showed that when two fighters are at the top of their game, it makes for high drama tv.
We are hours removed from the super middleweight showdown between David Benavidez and Caleb Plant, which saw the arrival of ‘The Mexican Monster’ to the next level. All week, the buzz kept rising for this one, and while the verbal jabs were flying in both directions, one theme was consistent, we would see an entertaining fight. Although it did not seem that way at first, we all enjoyed what we watched in the end.
THE STORY OF TWO HALVES
As the first three rounds unfolded, one thing was clear: Plant read my preview article for Big Fight Weekend. I’m kidding, but his game plan followed what I wrote almost to the “T” as Plant was holding in spots, jabbing from outside mid-range, and using every bit of that 22’ x 22’ sized ring. It was the right game plan, but I wondered if Plant could sustain that throughout the fight. Although the holding was part of the plan, Plant did it excessively, and referee Kenny Bayless, who made himself part of this fight, did not warn or take any points from ‘Sweet Hands.’ Bayless’ lack of warnings frustrated even the Showtime broadcast crew as he did keep warning Benavidez for things that seemed to be minimal. It was safe to say that after six rounds, Plant had a comfortable lead, and he had Benavidez playing right into his hand, which was to follow him around the ring to tire Benavidez out.
AFTER SETTLING DOWN, DAVID BENAVIDEZ SHOWED HIS TRUE TALENT LEVEL
David Benavidez seemed frustrated by round six, but the light switch turned on when the seventh began. Although Benavidez gave Plant a little too much respect early on, he threw caution to the wind and decided it was his time to take over the fight; and he did. As Plant’s legs started to slow down and he stayed in the pocket longer, Benavidez began to do a real number on him. This is where Benavidez’s reach came into play as Plant couldn’t move far enough back to avoid them as he was earlier in the fight. Those hard hooks to the body and arms of Plant were coming at a rapid rate from Benavidez. There was a cut towards the middle of Plant’s face from a headbutt, and the blood we were promised started to run down his face quickly.
Although Plant desperately tried to hold as much as possible, he was getting busted up by Benavidez, and it seemed as if the end was near. After the tenth round, Plant’s trainer Stephen ‘Breadman’ Edwards, told him he didn’t like what he was seeing and that if it continued, he would stop the fight. This is where Plant bravely stayed in the fight, showed his warrior mentality, as most would have called it quits and live to see another day, but he didn’t. I have to believe that Plant showing guts those last two rounds won over Benavidez as far as respect, even though he was clear that there would be no post-fight hug before the fight. Benavidez tried his best to get Plant out of there but, in the end, had to settle for a unanimous decision victory.
After the fight, Benavidez and Plant did hug and give each other respect. Jose Benavidez Sr. also apologized to Plant for his remarks about his deceased daughter. After twelve rounds with the former IBF super middleweight champion, Benavidez had this to say “I knew I had to take it step by step and round by round. Caleb is a tough fighter. He’s not going to give you everything in the first few rounds so you have to find him. But I feel like I didn’t just show that I was a power puncher tonight. I showed that I had defense and head movement, and I was able to move around the ring and cut the ring off really good. Benavidez continued, “I hit him with a lot of hard shots. I would talk sh*t, but I like this guy now, and I don’t want to keep it going. We were never going to settle it before we got into the ring, but we got into the ring and settled it like men. I took his hardest shots, and he took my hardest shots, and the good thing is that we’re still standing at the end of the day, and we can go back to our families.”
WHERE DO BOTH DAVID BENAVIDEZ & CALEB PLANT GO FROM HERE?
After watching Saturday night, it’s clear that Benavidez is ready for the Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez fight. Although that would be an excellent way to close out this year, ‘Canelo’ will more than likely face Dmitry Bivol in September if he gets by John Ryder in May. So where does that leave Benavidez? If he wants to stay active and face another former champion, a name that comes to mind is Demetrius ‘BooBoo’ Andrade. Although stylistically, that matchup may not look good on paper, it’s the fight to make if you are Showtime, as enough time has been wasted with Andrade’s career.
Where does that leave Plant? I think the current middleweight champion Jermall Charlo (who was in attendance), looked at last night’s fight and saw a fighter in Plant that he could move up to challenge to test the waters at super middleweight later this year. I don’t see a scenario where Plant becomes a ‘jobber’ for a young fighter, so he should continue seeing big-name opponents for at least the next twelve to eighteen months.
My Three Cents
Last night’s PPV was enjoyable, and it shows that you can have good matchups on a PPV and keep the audience engaged throughout the event without having huge names on the lineup. The general consensus from Twitter and on PPV.com, where I was hosting with Michael Woods, was that everyone felt like they got their money’s worth which is all fight fans ask for when they shell out $74.99 for an event. Boxing is on a good roll; let’s keep that momentum going.