David Benavidez and Caleb Plant will face each other for the interim WBC super middleweight title.
Grudge matches, arguably, make for the best clashes in boxing. They are even better when the bout holds relevancy to the direction of the sport and not just a personal vendetta.
This weekend a match boxing fans have been looking forward to taking place will finally happen when former super middleweight champions Caleb "Sweethands" Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) and David Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) face off in the squared circle for the interim WBC super middleweight title.
Throughout the years, both men, in interviews and on social media, have lambasted one another in anticipation of meeting each other in the ring. What started as a competitive back-and-forth between fighters in the same weight class has turned somewhat personal with insults and attacks aiming close to home.
"Boxing is not a job for me," Plant recently stated on The Pivot Podcast. "Boxing is my life. So it is personal for me. As far as David Benavidez, that started out as us agreeing to disagree about who's better. Over time I think It's developed into something more. Once you start bringing up someone's family, that's a different level."
In 2022, after suffering the first loss of his career and his IBF super middleweight title to Canelo Alvarez in November 2021, Plant responded with one of the premier knockouts of the year against Anthony Dirrell.
The ninth-round one-punch knockout with a well-timed left hook put fans on notice that Plant wasn't done, and under new trainer Stephen "Breadman" Edwards, he may only be better. The Dirrell win was against a common opponent with Benavidez, who also stopped the Michigan-based fighter in 2019.
While Plant, 30, lost his world title inside the ring, Benavidez has lost his world title twice due to actions outside of the ring. In September 2017, Benavidez became the youngest super middleweight champion in boxing history after winning a split decision over Ronald Gavril for the WBC title.
David Benavidez and Caleb Plant is a grudge match between two of the best super middleweights
Unfortunately, after winning his first title is where the trouble started for Benavidez. He tested positive for cocaine in the fall of 2018, where he faced a suspension, and his title was stripped from him. The positive drug test could have been excused as a young man hanging out with the wrong crowd. However, after winning back the WBC title in 2019, Benavidez would lose his championship again, this time for failing to make weight.
With an undefeated record, the 26-year-old Benavidez still views himself as a world champion. Now heading into the fight with Plant, Benavidez is aware that a victory can erase any mistakes he has made in the past. And the former two-time WBC 168-pound champion will use his feelings toward Plant for more motivation.
"There's a lot of emotions going into this camp," Benavidez said on Showtime's All Access. "I don't like Caleb Plant. He doesn't like me. I've been waiting to beat his ass since the first day I met him. My only mission is to go in there and actually put a beating to on Caleb Plant. I want to go in there, and make a statement for him and for everybody at 168… I don't think I could be any more motivated than I am now."
Both fighters equally have incentives and inspiration to walk away with their hands held up in victory. The winner will hold the interim WBC super middleweight title and will likely be next in line to take on Canelo Alvarez. Some fighters' aspirations end when they win their first title. But both Plant and Benavidez have more significant plans for their future.
"You know what drives me is to accomplish more," Plant stated on Showtime's All Access. "I'm trying to see how far I can get before my time expires. It was a goal to become a world champion, but it wasn't the goal. The goal is to become a multiple-time world champion, multiple weight classes, become undisputed and be on the pound-for-pound list."
Benavidez currently sits at a -310 favorite, according to DraftKings, with Plant sitting as the +240 underdog. Although Benavidez is the odds favorite, there is a sense of reality of what this fight represents for both men. For Benavidez, it will be the stepping-stone that could be the first move toward making him one of the stars of this era. The same applies to Plant.
The difference is Benavidez will be fighting to prove he is as good as everybody says he is. Plant will look to show doubters that he is a cut above what anybody has thought.
David Benavidez vs. Caleb Plant prediction
Both fighters will walk into the ring galvanized and prepared for the bout, as they both know what it will do for their careers. Under the tutelage of Stephen Edwards, Plant will have a game plan that may involve fighting on the move to set traps. It's been stated that hard work can beat out talent. However, Benavidez, the more talented fighter, will come into this fight more than ready to take on anything Plant has to offer.
The fight plays out similarly to Plant's match with Canelo, where there are numerous competitive rounds. But, by the time the fight hits the championship rounds, Benavidez's faster hands, ability to put punches together in combination, and pressure will wear down Plant to a late rounds stoppage.