Undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant successfully defended his title with a masterful unanimous decision victory over former champion Caleb “Golden” Truax in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night on Saturday night from the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
Using blazing hand speed, a stiff jab and punches from multiple angles, Plant battered Truax and kept him off balance over the course of the 12 rounds. It was a game effort from Truax, but Plant proved to be too much to handle. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Plant 120-108, a 12-round shutout.
Plant sought the knockout but hurt his left hand early in the fight, forcing him to be less aggressive and more hesitant on offense.
“I felt great. I dominated every round. I hardly got touched. He wasn’t giving me much either,’’ Plant said. “I felt like, early on, he was just looking to survive and move away. Then a third of the way into the fight, I hurt my hand. It’s kind of swollen. I felt something similar before. I’ve got to sit down and get it checked out but we’ll see. I don’t think it will hinder any upcoming fights.
“A champion can adjust to anything. It’s about staying focused, staying disciplined and sticking to the game plan. Maybe the injury hindered me here and there but I felt I used it well – I got a dominant victory, a shutout on all three cards.”
The 28-year-old Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) had scored back-to-back stoppage victories on FOX in his two title defenses, beating then undefeated Mike Lee in July 2019 before most recently turning away Germany’s Vincent Feigenbutz in a homecoming event last February in Nashville, Tennessee.
The victory over Truax (31-5-2, 19 KOs) was the third successful title defense for Plant, who captured the title in 2019 with a victory over Jose Uzcategui. Plant, who is from Nashville, Tennessee but now lives and trains in Las Vegas, was the underdog coming into the Uzcategui fight, before turning the tables with two early knockdowns on his way to a unanimous decision. There wasn’t nearly as much drama in the fight against Truax as Plant took control from start to finish, never allowing Truax to get into the fight in any measureable way.
“I wanted the stoppage. I’m a little disappointed that my hand got hurt early in the fight. But I feel like I put on a good performance,’’ Plant said. “I feel like I’m the best super middleweight champion in the world. I want to become the first undisputed super middleweight champion. I’m ready for whoever, whenever. You line ‘em up and I’ll knock ‘em down.”
For the 37-year-old Truax, the fight against Plant represented his last real chance to rejoin the world championship ranks. Truax had his championship-winning victory in December 2017 as he traveled to James DeGale’s native U.K. to wrest the title away from DeGale in one of the year’s biggest upsets. Truax, who fights out of Saint Michael, Minnesota, dropped a narrow decision to DeGale in their 2018 rematch. Plant never allowed him to get close to his championship belt.
“I’m a little disappointed. I wanted to put pressure on him and make it a dogfight, but he was elusive. He was able to escape out the back door. I wasn’t able to put a glove on him,” Truax said. “I knew he was going to be quick, but he was a little more elusive than I expected. It wasn’t a fast paced fight and credit to him for that. I wanted it to be a fast paced fight and put pressure on him, but he controlled the pace and he was very elusive.
“I was never buzzed or hurt. I felt like my conditioning was very good the whole fight. He just jabbed the heck out of me. I’m going to go home and talk to my family and see what the next step is. I still feel like I have something to offer the game.”
In a battle between young, undefeated heavyweights. Michael Coffie (12-0, 9 KOs) kept his record unblemished with a powerful third-round knockout victory over Darmani Rock (17-1, 12 KOs).
Coffie, a 34-year-old Marine Corps veteran from The Bronx, N.Y., took a couple of rounds to figure out Rock of Philadelphia. When he did, it was lights out for Rock. Coffie went to work in the third round, dropping Rock with a left uppercut. Rock was able to make it to his feet to beat the count of referee Jack Reiss. A few seconds later, Coffie clipped Rock again with a short left hook that sent him to the canvas a second time. Reiss waved off the action at 0:59 seconds of the round, giving Coffie the victory and handing the 24-year-old Rock the first loss of his professional career.
“He had quick hands we knew that, but timing beats speed,” Coffie said. “They said he shuffles his feet and drops his hands. They told me to wait for him to shuffle his feet and then drop that left hand on him.”
“I don’t want to sound like I’m jumping the gun or anything like that or downplaying the need for experience. But I don’t think I’m that far off. I think I have power, movement, and I think just my style of fighting that can really contend with anybody.”
Unbeaten super welterweight prospect Joey Spencer continued his fast rise up the ranks with an impressive first-round KO victory over Isiah Seldon (14-4-1, 5 KOs). In a bizarre sequence of events, the 20-year-old Spencer (12-0, 9 KOs) dropped Seldon with a hard right hand. Seldon rose at the count of eight. When action resumed, Seldon unleashed several punches to the back of Spencer’s head, prompting referee Jerry Cantu to deduct two points for the fouls. It didn’t take long for Spencer to bring a conclusion to matters. He landed another right hand that sent Seldon to the canvas again. This time Cantu didn’t bother counting, waving off the fight at 2:15 of the first round.
“I just knew that I was going to put hands on him, and that’s how I was going to retaliate. I definitely put in the back of my mind that maybe I’d punish him a little further if I would have gotten a chance. But I didn’t. The ref stopped him, and that’s the way it ended,’’ Spencer said. “My man strength is coming. I’m only 20. I turn 21 in March. I’m getting stronger and stronger. I’m getting a lot more confident because people aren’t able to take my punches in the same way.”
In other undercard action, Rances Barthelemy (28-1-1, 14 KOs) scored a unanimous 10-round decision over All Rivera (21-5, 18 KOs) in a super lightweight bout. Barthelemy, a two-division world champion from Cuba, put together a workmanlike performance against Rivera, who hails from Bobon, Philippines. The 34-year-old Barthelemy has won world titles at 130 and 135 pounds.
“After almost two years of being out of the ring, it was hard making sure we stuck to the game plan to make sure we didn’t get anxious or desperate,” Barthelemy said. “I felt we controlled the fight from start to finish and that’s exactly what we wanted to do. I’m looking at Alberto Puello next, going after that 140 WBA belt and hoping that sets us up for bigger opportunities before the end of the year.”
Middleweights Brandyn Lynch (10-1-1, 8 KOs) and Mark Hernandez (14-4-2, 3 KOs) fought to an eight-round draw. In a light heavyweight bout, Atif Oberlton (1-0, 1 KO) pounded out a victory in his pro debut, stopping Nathan Sharp (4-3, 4 KOs) via TKO at 0:48 seconds of the third round.
Photo: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions