On Saturday, March 25th, two former world champions will enter the ring at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV with the goal of taking one step closer to challenging once more for a world championship. This observer is referring to the encounter between David Benavidez and Caleb Plant. Two fighters who each know what it is to be a world champion in the talent-deep 168lb. Super-Middleweight division. A division currently ruled by Undisputed world champion Saul "Canelo" Alvarez.
While the goal of both men is obviously an eventual fight with Alvarez, the encounter between the two, which will headline a pay-per-view card broadcast by Showtime Pay-Per-View here in the United States, could possibly be one of the best fights of the year. The reason for that is it is an interesting clash of styles between two boxer/punchers, but one who is more noted for his punching power than the other. David Benavidez is a former WBC Super-Middleweight world champion. He also has a rare distinction for being one of the few fighters to have held a world championship, but never lost his title in the ring. Some may recall that Benavidez, who won the title in 2017, becoming the youngest world champion in the history of the Super-Middleweight division in the process, was ultimately stripped of it by the World Boxing Council due to having tested positive for cocaine shortly after defeating Ronald Gavril for the title. The WBC then ruled that Benavidez was a "Champion in Recess," which allowed him to fight for the title again only to ultimately be stripped for failing to make weight prior to a scheduled title defense against Roamer Angelo.
Despite his struggles out of the ring, Benavidez has remained unbeaten in twenty-six professional fights and has scored knockouts in twenty-three of those bouts. Inside the ring, Benavidez has been a dominant force that has yet to be tested. Enter Caleb Plant.
Plant, as some may recall, had a lengthy reign as the International Boxing Federation (IBF) Super-Middleweight world champion before being stopped in eleven rounds by Saul Alvarez in a unification bout for the Undisputed Super-Middleweight championship of the world. While Plant lost that fight, he made a good account of himself in defeat, particularly in the early rounds before eventually being broken down by Alvarez' pressure and body attack. While that loss is to date the only one Plant has suffered in his career, he obviously would like another opportunity against Alvarez. In his only fight since that loss, Plant scored a devastating knockout of former WBC Super-Middleweight world champion Anthony Dirrell in February of last year.
What this fight will come down to in my eyes is whether Plant will be able to deal with the punching power and hand speed of Benavidez. At his best, Caleb Plant is an elusive fighter, who in addition to having hand speed of his own, is known for his lateral movement and ability to use angles. These aspects of his skillset did for a time create problems for Alvarez before he was able to eventually break Plant down as that fight progressed. While Plant's knockout of Dirrell in his last fight was a brutal hook to the body/hook to the head combination, he is not known for his power and logic would suggest that he will need to try and implement a similar approach as he attempted to use against Alvarez, but obviously will look to correct the flaws in that approach that Alvarez ultimately took advantage of, if he wants to be successful in this fight.
The reason for this is Benavidez has exceptionally quick hands in addition to his punching power and Plant will need to be meticulous and tactical for the duration of the scheduled twelve round bout. Perhaps a flaw in Benavidez that Plant will look to take advantage of is that at times he can start slow and not let his hands go much in the early rounds. While obviously Plant should not base his entire approach on this, he must be elusive and try to resist the temptation to go toe to toe with Benavidez if he is able to connect more than occasionally with offense in the early rounds.
For David Benavidez, he must study Plant's fight with Alvarez and look at what Alvarez did that led to his being able to stop Plant late in the fight. Although implementing a similar strategy can be easier said than done, there are two aspects that Benavidez must keep in mind at all times in this fight. One, he needs to find a way to cut off the ring and try to limit Plant's ability to move and must do so early on in the fight as to not allow Plant to establish the tempo of the fight or give him the chance to potentially build up a lead on the scorecards. Benavidez must avoid following Plant around and must limit his movement. Secondly, Benavidez must let his hands go consistently from the outset. If he starts slow and allows Plant to dictate the combat, Benavidez might be in a position where he might need a knockout in the later rounds in order to maintain his undefeated record.
While this fight being the main event of a pay-per-view card in the present time when Showtime as the last premium cable network televising Boxing in the United States may be on its way out in similar fashion as former longtime rival HBO had done in 2018 following a corporate restructuring of its parent company, has drawn criticism of some as a similar restructuring is now taking place in Showtime's parent company Paramount Global, the fight between Benavidez and Plant is still one of the best fights that has been made recently at least on paper. Whether or not that ultimately translates to a memorable battle inside the ring on Saturday night March 25th remains to be seen, even if those broadcasting the fight are likely setting themselves up for failure in the form of underwhelming pay-per-view buy numbers as Boxing fans continue to reject what has become an overpriced, undervalued, and outdated revenue model for the sport that needs to change.
"And That's The Boxing Truth."
Benavidez vs. Plant takes place on Saturday, March 25th at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, NV. The fight can be seen in the United States on Showtime Pay-Per-View beginning at 9PM ET/ 6PM PT. The pay-per-view event will be available on traditional cable/satellite providers as well as through the Showtime streaming app on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices and Smart TVs. Contact your local cable/satellite provider for ordering information.
To order via and stream on the Showtime streaming app please visit: www.SHO.com/PPV for ordering information.
The event is also available for streaming for the aforementioned price through PPV.com and the PPV.com app on mobile, tablet, and connected streaming devices and Smart TVs. To order through PPV.com and for more information about compatible streaming devices, please visit: www.PPV.com
*Check your local listings internationally*
*Card and start time subject to change*
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