An in-depth breakdown of Saturday night's scorching main event as Benavidez and Plant settle their bitter rivalry live on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View.
This Saturday, March 25, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, one of boxing’s most heated rivalries hits the ring when former super middleweight world champions David Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) meets Caleb Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) atop a SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Lots of fights are hyped as grudge matches, but few are really marinated in as much bad blood as Benavidez-Plant. These top super middleweight contenders truly dislike one another and have not been shy about expressing the hate in public.
Benavidez, a child prodigy of sorts and the younger brother of welterweight contender Jose Benavidez Jr., battled his way to respect and recognition in a pro career that began in Mexico at the age of 16. He fine-tuned his all-action style as a teenager in sparring sessions with the likes of Gennadiy Golovkin, Kelly Pavlik, and Peter Quillin.
In 2017, the 20-year-old Benavidez became the youngest fighter to ever win a super middleweight world title when he beat Ronald Gavril for the vacant WBC belt. He would lose that title without losing a fight, though, stripped after testing positive for the banned substance benzoylecgonine, the primary ingredient in cocaine. After recapturing that title in a stoppage of Anthony Dirrell eighteen months later, he would again be stripped when he failed to make weight for his first defense.
In recent outings, he has solidified his reputation as one of the most entertaining battlers in boxing with dominant stoppages of Ronald Ellis, Kyrone Davis, and former world champ David Lemieux.
The 30-year-old Plant is a boxing Cinderella story. Growing up in a trailer in Ashland City, Tennessee, “Sweethands” fought through adversity to get to his current standing as an elite-level pro. Enduring and persevering through the tragic death of his beautiful 19-month-old daughter and then the killing of his mother, shortly after winning his first world title in 2019, Plant fought his way to the top and has managed to stay there.
Plant’s two most recent performances were, arguably, the biggest of his career. In November of 2021, he handled himself well in a blockbuster bout with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez before getting stopped in the eleventh round. This past October, he garnered headlines with a KO of the Year ninth-round crushing of two-time former world champ Anthony Dirrell.
The Interim WBC Super Middleweight title is up for grabs in this 12-round battle, but there’s so much more at stake. The winner walks away with undisputed top contender status to superstar undisputed 168-pound champ Canelo Alvarez. Maybe just as important, though, the winner settles a long-standing grudge between the two proud warriors.
The 26-year-old Benavidez is widely regarded as one of the best offensive fighters in the sport. Working behind a stiff jab, he throws punches in bunches with supreme fluidity and accuracy. He also mixes velocity and placement of shots well, something which makes it hard for opponents to brace for impact. Although adept at working from the outside, he works the body effectively with strong, digging shots.
Mature and poised beyond his years, he's yet to look anything other than supremely confident and utterly unflappable as a pro.
Benavidez's defense is an underrated aspect of his game. He moves his head well, rolls with punches, and picks off incoming shots with his gloves and arms.
“ I guarantee that I’m knocking Caleb Plant out before round six. ” Undefeated Two-Time Super Middleweight World Champion - David Benavidez
Plant is a cool-headed boxer by nature who works angles and has demonstrated a high ring IQ. He throws quick, accurate, fluid combinations set up by a solid jab.
Although considered to be lacking in true one-punch power, his work with trainer Stephen "Breadman" Edwards has seemingly brought out more pop in his shots, as demonstrated by his scary one-punch KO of Anthony Dirrell in his last bout.
On defense, Plant has good reflexes and timing with solid head movement and the ring presence to pivot his way out of trouble.
“This is the most important fight of my career to this date. I don’t like Caleb at all, but I want to thank him for bringing the animal out of me. I’m more motivated than ever. On March 25, I guarantee that I’m knocking Caleb Plant out before round six.”
“I’m hungry for this. This is a big moment and a moment I’ve worked a long time to reach. I’m going to make the most of it. I’d love to right a wrong and get the rematch with Canelo Alvarez, but right now I’m just focused on the fight in front of me. Nothing happens until business is handled March 25.”
Although the bruiser vs. boxer dynamic will definitely be in play this Saturday, the truth is that Benavidez has more nuance in his game than acknowledged and Plant has a streak of defiance that goes beyond the typical ring stylist mindset. Add in a veritable ocean of bad blood propelling the rivalry and fans will be in for a truly compelling battle.
Benavidez will come in, aiming to do what he does best. He’ll try to walk Plant down, bust him up, and take him out. Raw physicality is his game and, thus far in his career, he’s been able to break the will of every man he’s faced.
Plant will need to play the nuance game, using angles and utilizing timing to frustrate his foe’s constant push forward. He’ll also need to earn Benavidez’s respect with some solid shots and a jab that stymies offensive advance.
With neither fighter sporting much of an edge in height or reach and both appearing to be in the shape of their careers, this battle will come down to execution and, of course, will to win. With so much personal and professional pride on the line, neither man will go down easy.
Plant will be looking to slow things down and pick Benavidez apart. Benavidez will be looking to crush Plant under the weight of his attack. Fierce skirmishes will flare up as the two former champions battle to establish their game plan.
Expect passion, fire, and tons of intrigue in this super middleweight grudge match.
For a closer look at Benavidez vs. Plant, check out our fight night page.
- Benavidez vs Plant