Many of the elements of the most compelling fights will be present on Saturday night when David Benavidez vs Caleb Plant clash in a Showtime pay-per-view main event. The style matchup promises fun action, the two men have grown an increasingly strong dislike for each other and the opponent poses several interesting questions for both men.
Benavidez is facing by far the best opponent of his career in Plant, a slick boxer with higher-level skills than any of Benavidez’s previous foes. Benavidez will be forced to see if his pressure-first style can get to — and break down — a fighter who has made his living by not often being there to be hit.
To date, Benavidez has been perfect in his career, with 26 wins in 26 trips to the ring, 23 of those coming by knockout. His worst opponent has been himself, twice losing world titles because of his own missteps. First, Benavidez was stripped of the WBC super middleweight championship in 2018 after testing positive for cocaine. After regaining the title, he was stripped again after failing to make weight for his August 2020 fight with Roamer Alexis Angulo.
He now holds the WBC interim super middleweight title, which he will put on the line on Saturday.
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The plant has been in with one truly great fighter in his professional campaign, giving a good effort in November 2021 against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez before being stopped in the 11th round. Benavidez and Alvarez are not carbon copies of each other, but like Alvarez, Benavidez will force Plant to try and navigate the space between defensive slickness and planting his feet to exchange punches.
The loss to Alvarez is Plant’s lone career defeat and he rebounded this past October with a stunningly brutal knockout of Anthony Dirrell, which was the single biggest display of power Plant has ever shown.
The fight comes withinvolving insults, scuffles and deep personal wounds. In the days before the fight, tensions between the two men have not cooled in the slightest and both men still seem totally focused on not only winning but dominating a man they detest.
“I wouldn’t [be satisfied with a decision],” Benavidez said at the pre-fight press conference. “He’s talking about blown-up [opponents]. When you fought [Vincent] Feigenbutz, he was a blown-up 160 and you couldn’t do shit with him. Then when he fights a true super middleweight like [Jose] Uzcategui, his fight eye gets split open.
“[Uzcategui] almost knocked you the f— out, and you got knocked the f— out by Canelo. Every time he fights a real, true super middleweight, he gets hurt or he gets knocked out. He’s gonna be in there with the hardest, most accurate super middleweight. We’re gonna see what’s up.”
🚨 TWO MORE SLEEPS 🚨@Benavidez300 and @SweetHandsPlant exchange some fiery words during their post final presser face off 😳#BenavidezPlant is LIVE Saturday 9PM ET/6PM PT 👉 https://t.co/BYO7umAuMy#Showtime #PPV #Boxing pic.twitter.com/2pEzo60blF
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) March 23, 2023
Plant, seemingly already under Benavidez’s skin, made sure to take a few more digs at the interim champion for any pride of already being on weight or having trained hard for the impending clash.
“I worked extremely hard for this fight,” Plant said. “I’m ready. And somebody you know let me know [you’re] already on weight. Right? But that don’t mean shit to me. I don’t care if you’re already on weight. That’s not bragging rights. I brought my mouthpiece and my cup this week, but I don’t need a pat on the back for it. That’s what you’re supposed to do.
“You’re supposed to be on weight. So welcome to the club. And you’ve got your newfound muscles you’ve been showing off all week. Welcome to the club. That’s what happens when you work hard.”
The undercard fills out with some fun matchups hardcore fans will be excited about. Jesus Ramos is set to return against Joey Spencer in a super welterweight contest. Former interim titleholder Chris Colbert is back in his first bout at lightweight when he takes on Jose Valenzuela. And rising prospect Cody Crowley is set to take on veteran Abel Ramos in a welterweight contest.
Let’s take a closer look at the rest of the undercard for Saturday night in Las Vegas with the latest odds from Caesars Sportsbook before getting to a prediction and expert pick on the main event.
Benavidez vs. Plant fight card, odds
|David Benavidez (c) -360
|Caleb Plant +280
|Interim WBC super middleweight title
|Jesus Ramos -230
|Joey Spencer +190
|Chris Colbert -130
|Jose Valenzuela +110
|Cody Crowley -800
|Abel Ramos +550
There’s no real mystery on either man’s path to victory. Benavidez is a pressure fighter who wants to walk his opponents down while utilizing his hand speed to crack with jabs and crisp lead right hands while also letting combinations go when he’s in range, and he has the power to hurt anyone in the division. For Plant, it’s about using his footwork to not allow Benavidez to cut off the ring, landing his own shots and resetting the chase once again.
The plant showed off his power against Dirrell, but that’s not a true part of his offense, and engaging in a toe-to-toe firefight with Benavidez is a recipe for a very short night for Plant. If Plant can instead move consistently and keep Benavidez off of him, he has solid potential to score the upset and derail hopes of a long-awaited clash between Benavidez and Alvarez.
Plant likely takes several early rounds, managing to use his quick feet to force Benavidez to overextend while trying to get in range. But Benavidez is a fighter who can break Plant down even as he loses some rounds. As punches start to add up for Benavidez, Plant will slow and become an easier target, at which point things could quickly snowball toward a late rounds finish. Pick: Benavidez via TKO10
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