Caleb Plant wants big fights, big victories, not good reviews
Caleb Plant doesn’t care what people think of him as a fighter.
That includes the oddsmakers, who have made arch rival David Benavidez around a 3-1 favorite in their 168-pound pay-per-view fight March 25 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Plant’s focus, he said, is to continue to make and win big fights. The rest will take care of itself.
“If I was caught up in what people think of me, how they perceive me, whether they think I can or I can’t, being a white kid from Tennessee, I might not have made it very far,” he told Boxing Junkie.
“I’m focused on what [manager] Al [Haymon] thinks of it, what my team thinks of it, the type of position it will put me in to get other big fights. I can’t focus on or worry about what other people think.”
Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) is no stranger to big fights.
The matchup with Benavidez will be his third consecutive meeting with a current or former world titleholder. He was stopped by Canelo Alvarez in 11 rounds in November 2021, which cost him his IBF belt. And he delivered the 2022 Knockout of the Year in the ninth round against Anthony Dirrell last October.
Now comes another significant risk, which is exactly how Plant wants it.
“After the Canelo Alvarez fight I didn’t want some sparring-session fight,” he said. “I wanted the biggest fight I could get. It wasn’t the biggest fight out there but, coming off a loss, it was the biggest fight that could be made.
“… With Dirrell being ranked as high as he was by the WBC, it made it a title eliminator. I knew with David as the ‘interim’ champ, it put me in position to fight him. And, obviously, after winning this fight, it will put me in position to become Canelo’s mandatory.”
See the pattern? Only important fights against quality opposition.
Plant and Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) don’t have a lot of good things to say about each other but Plant respects him.
“He’s a good fighter,” Plant said. “I never said he was a bad fighter. I’m not interested in fighting bad fighters. I’m interested in fighting good fighters. There are a lot of things he does well. There are just more things I do well.”
Plant is perceived by some to be quicker, more athletic and more skillful than Benavidez. And he demonstrated that he can hurt anyone with the right shot against Dirrell, who Benavidez stopped with an accumulation of punches in 2019.
The 30-year-old native of Nashville also will bring a less-tangible commodity into the ring against Benavidez: experience on the biggest stage. Nothing is more intimidating than an Alvarez fight.
“It’s going to be hard to find an environment as hostile as it was against Canelo Alvarez,” he said. “I might’ve had 50 people in the building out of 18,000 rooting for me [at the MGM Grand]. This is a big moment, as well. It’s not one I take for granted. The great thing about the Canelo fight is the experience I get to take into these other big fights. And experience is important.
“It’s the small things that separate you at the highest level. … Experiences isn’t something you by. You have to go through the fire to get it. And I’ve done that.”
Plant is clearly drawn to the fire.
David Benavidez, Caleb Plant officially begin war of words leading to March 25
David Benavidez vs. Caleb Plant set for March 25 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas
Caleb Plant ends Anthony Dirrell's night with a perfect left hook in Round 9