David Benavidez and Caleb Plant are both certain they’ll kick the other’s behind when they meet in a 168-pound title eliminator on pay-per-view March 25 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. They just say it in different ways.
Benavidez sometimes speaks like he fights, with abandon. The former two-time beltholder isn’t shy when he describes what he plans to do to his rival.
“On March 25, I guarantee that I’m knocking Caleb Plant out before round six,” Benavidez said to Plant at the kickoff news conference Thursday in Los Angeles. “This has been a fight in the making for the last five years and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m at my best right now mentally and physically. On March 25, I finally get to put hands on Caleb Plant.
“When you’re on the ground bleeding, you’ll learn how to respect a real fighter. I’m what you want to be. You’re a chump.”
Plant was more restrained but said essentially the same thing.
“I’m coming,” he said. “We’re prepared. I’ve been at this level before and I know what it takes. From now until March 25 it’s just about who can train the hardest and keep their foot on the gas.
“… This is a legacy fight for me and my team. On March 25, I see myself getting my hand raised.”
Benavidez and Plant haven’t been polite to one another over the past several years, perhaps doing their part to market a compelling fight they assumed was inevitable. Or maybe they really don’t like each other.
Either way, this fight has been building for years. And while they both are confident, the fight wouldn’t happen if they didn’t have some level of respect for one another as fighters.
Plant is coming off the most sensational victory of his career, a one-punch ninth-round knockout of Anthony Dirrell in October that followed his 11th-round stoppage loss to undisputed champion Canelo Alvarez that cost him his belt in November 2021.
Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) acknowledged Plant’s most recent performance and implied that it adds luster to the upcoming showdown.
“He had a sensational win against Anthony Dirrell and I take nothing away from that,” he said. “This is the best time this fight could have happened. It was the right move for both of us. I’ve been wanting to fight him for a long time and now the winner of this fight gets to be the mandatory for Canelo Alvarez. I’m super motivated.”
Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) has no problem with his opponent’s brash talk, saying, “This rivalry only started because we agree to disagree on who’s better. And that’s fine, he should feel like that. That’s how great fighters are supposed to feel.”
And the last thing he wants to do is diminish Benavidez’s ability because he wants nothing to do with sub-par opposition. He wants to face a challenge in every fight, just as he will in this one.
“I never said David’s a bad fighter because I have no interest in fighting bad fighters,” he said. “I want to fight good fighters and make big fights. This is the best fight that could be made in the division.”
David Benavidez vs. Caleb Plant set for March 25 at MGM Grand in Las Vegas
Caleb Plant ends Anthony Dirrell’s night with a perfect left hook in Round 9
David Benavidez batters, knocks out David Lemieux in Round 3
Canelo Alvarez makes history by stopping Caleb Plant in Round 11
Photos: David Benavidez’s brutal third-round stoppage of David Lemieux
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