By Jon Uddin✏️
With the coronavirus shutting the world down, and bringing boxing to a halt, many of the much anticipated bouts of the spring have been cancelled. Eventually, hopefully sooner than later, we will see fighters return to the ring and finally see the World Boxing Super Series Cruiserweight final between Yuniel Dorticos and Mairis Briedis, the Bantamweight unification between Naoya Inoue and John Riel Casimero, Regis Prograis and Maurice Hooker face off at Welterweight, and of course the blockbuster Lightweight unification between Vasiliy Lomachenko and Teofimo Lopez.
The previously mentioned bouts were already scheduled or in the final stages of contract talks, so they will all just need to be rescheduled and slotted on the calendar. Outside of those fights, let’s look at a matchup that we hope to see take place in the second half of the year.
Fans have been ready to see the top fighters at Super-Middleweight square off, and a unification between IBF Champion 🇺🇸Caleb Plant (20-0-0, 12KO) and WBC titleholder 🇺🇸David Benavidez (22-0-0, 19KO) is arguably at the top of the list. There shouldn’t be an issue setting it up as both men are under the PBC banner, leaving no promotional hurdles to jump over, and both fighters have expressed the desire to make it happen and have sent verbal jabs each others way.
“I want to unify; I want that fight with David Benavidez. When he won that world title against Gavril I was standing at the bottom of the stairs. Before he could even get to the bottom of the stairs, I was standing there asking him, ‘When are we going to make this happen?’ I don’t see too many other fighters standing at the bottom of the stairs right after somebody wins saying, ‘Hey, when are we going to get it cracking?'” –Caleb Plant
“It’s easy to look good against a bum. I wanna see you try to do that against me, Sweetheart. Let’s get this done, don’t want to keep the fans waiting. Caleb Plant ain’t gonna be talking tough anymore when I put his ass in the hospital.” –David Benavidez
Plant, 27, is coming off his hometown title defense in Nashville where he toyed with and eventually stopped Germany’s Vincent Feigenbutz in ten rounds. Benavidez, 23, was last seen in September beating Anthony Dirrell by ninth round knockout on the Errol Spence-Shawn Porter undercard. Benavidez was scheduled to face Roamer Alexis Angulo next month but of course that has been scratched for now.
Plant has shown that he has the technical ability, hand speed and footwork to hang with the best at 168, dominating his early opposition before schooling the rugged Rogelio Medina in a unanimous decision win. The biggest feather in his cap so far came in his fight against Jose Uzcategui, where he showed that he also carries both the toughness and pop to get his opponents respect.
Benavidez and Plant share a common opponent in Medina, who he stopped in eight, and overall holds the better resumé with wins over Ronald Gavril, J’Leon Love and Anthony Dirrell as well. The Phoenix native may not have the flash and smooth footwork of Plant, but he carries a 86% knockout rate and his strength and reach is what makes him a nightmare matchup. While he may start off slow, he picks up steam as the rounds go by, and his opponent has the challenge of standing up to the heavy handed attack that includes stinging shots to the body.
If you wanted to determine the best win for each fighter, for Plant it will be when he took the IBF title from Uzcategui. As for Benavidez, the answer is likely his stoppage of Dirrell in his last fight. While both wins are against highly respected super middleweights, the career defining win that both men seek will lies within the matchup with one another.
Before the corona outbreak, this is a fight that looked as if it could take place in August or September. Maybe it still can, but it’s more likely both guys take one more fight before facing each other. Let’s move the target date to October/November, and keep our fingers crossed.