It’s been six months since we have seen Nashville,Tennessee native 🇺🇸Caleb Plant in action. That night, the man who goes by “Sweet Hands”, put them and his grit on full display as he took apart Venezuela’s power puncher Jose Uzcategui en route to leaving the ring with the vacant IBF Super Middleweight title.
Saturday night in Las Vegas, on the undercard to Pacquiao vs Thurman , Plant (18-0-0 10KO) will make the first defense of his title as he takes on Chicago’s 🇺🇸Mike Lee (21-0-0, 11KO) who will be moving down from 175 after 13 months out of the ring. Lee is getting his first crack at a world title and he will also be in his first 12 round bout in a 10 year career.
There’s no question that the champion is heavily favored in this fight (current betting odds have Plant -1600), and at the surface there doesn’t seem to be much to delve into with this matchup. But following the career of Plant it’s always been apparent that you have to go beyond the surface to understand what makes him tick.
There will never be a shortage of fuel for motivation with Plant. He’s fought through doubters, poverty and plenty of grief most notably with the loss of his baby daughter and most recently the tragic loss of his mother. All of these elements fuel the fire for Plant, but even as one sided as Saturday’s matchup appears to be, challenger Mike Lee seems to have found a way to fan the flames even more.
Make no mistake, Caleb Plant has never been the fighter to pat others on the back or go out of his way to show his opponent respect. As a matter of fact he’s always been clear that he is strictly business and is not one for the friendlies when it comes to the men who stand across from him ring.
That goes ten fold for Mike Lee. Because Lee isn’t just an opponent, not just a man who is coming to take Plant’s title, he’s those things plus a guy that has been privileged in the boxing world. Without accomplishing anything in the ring, Lee has used connections gained from his time at the University of Notre Dame to work his way into sponsorships like Subway, that even many champions haven’t sniffed. The last straw for Plant was Lee not appearing for a scheduled face off to begin the promotion of the fight, which just reinforced Plants view on Lee and his attitude.
As stated earlier Lee is making his first appearance at 168 after more than a year out of the ring. His last bout was a 10 round unanimous decision win against Jose Hernandez of California. The leap in competition he will be facing is a tough task to say the least, but meeting the task with a strong performance or someway pulling the major upset, is his road to not just a title, but silencing all his critics.
Caleb Plant vs Mike Lee will air on FOX at 7pm ET before the PPV Card for Keith Thurman vs Manny Pacquiao.