Boxing’s top fighters, media members and more weighed in on the upcoming blockbuster fight between undefeated former two-time WBC Super Middleweight Champion David “The Mexican Monster’’ Benavídez and former IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb Plant ahead of their 12-round showdown headlining live on SHOWTIME PPV this Saturday, March 25 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Of the 29 people polled for their predictions – 21 of them are forecasting victory for Benavidez in a close and compelling fight, while five favor Plant, two were unable to pick a winner, plus one who said matching these two superstars was a clear victory for boxing.
The oddsmakers at DraftKings have the fight closer than displayed by those polled, with Benavidez placed as the favorite at -330 (a $330 bet placed will win $100) and Plant +240 ($100 bet placed wins $240) while the Bet MGM Sports Book has Benavidez -275 and Plant +225.
Here is what those closest to the fight game had to say about the Benavidez-Plant matchup:
JERMELL CHARLO, Undisputed Super Welterweight World Champion:
“I’m rocking with Plant. Plant has the boxing skills. Benavidez is just one-dimensional. He’s going to come forward and put a lot of pressure on Plant. But styles make fights and so this is going to be a good one. But I’m rocking with Plant.”
BRANDON FIGUEROA, Recent winner on SHOWTIME of Interim WBC Featherweight Title:
“I’m rooting for Benavidez all the way. I see him knocking (Plant) out in the eighth or ninth round.”
SHAWN PORTER, Former Two-Time Welterweight World Champion:
“It’s a 50/50 fight but I think Caleb takes it. Something’s telling me Caleb is in the right place at the right time. I truly think he’s going to break down David, and he’s going to frustrate David. He’s bringing a lot to the ring that David has never been up against. David’s spoiled with his pressure. He breaks everyone down, but I don’t think he’ll be able to do that to Caleb, so I’m picking Caleb in a late-round stoppage.”
AMANDA SERRANO, Undisputed Featherweight World Champion:
“I usually don’t like to make predictions for fights. You just never know in boxing. However, I am going to make one this time for Benavidez vs. Plant. I really do like Plant. I think he is a really nice guy, great fighter. However, for this fight, I have to go with Benavidez.”
REY VARGAS, WBC Featherweight World Champion:
“Plant-Benavidez will be a very even fight, 50-50. Strategy will be the key factor for whoever comes out on top. Plant has his speed and waist movement. Benavidez with his explosiveness and his strength. I truly believe it is 50/50. I have to lean on the Mexican side, because of that strength and explosiveness.”
GEORGE KAMBOSOS, JR., Former Unified Lightweight World Champion:
“This is a 50/50 matchup. From my point of view Caleb Plant has had better experience and looks in great shape. We saw in his last fight he does have that nice snap, that power and he will definitely out-box Benavidez. I don’t think he will knock him out, but he can hurt him. I’m going with Caleb Plant on a close points decision.”
CALEB TRUAX, Former IBF Super Middleweight World Champion:
“This is a great super middleweight fight and a big win for boxing. I see it going similarly to Canelo-Plant. Plant will have success early due to his feet and jab, and then Benavidez’s pressure and power get him the late stoppage. I’m pulling for Plant to win, being that he is a former opponent of mine.”
DAVID MORRELL, Undefeated WBA Super Middleweight Champion:
“It’s a 50/50 fight. Benavidez has power, but he has never fought against someone with moves like Plant, who will make life hard for him with his speed. I would love to pick a winner, but I just can’t, considering how even this fight truly is.”
ANDY RUIZ, JR., Former Unified Heavyweight World Champion:
“I got my money on Benavidez. He is just a bigger fighter, a stronger guy, ‘The Mexican Monster’. Nothing against Caleb, he is a warrior and we all risk our lives in the ring, but I just feel like Benavidez will be too much.”
YORDENIS UGAS, Former WBA Welterweight World Champion:
“I was initially going to say 50/50, but now I’m going to lean in favor of Benavidez, 55-45 in his favor.”
VLADIMIR SHISHKIN, Undefeated Super Middleweight Contender:
“This is a great fight between two elite fighters in the division. I favor Benavidez, but Plant showed improvement after the Canelo fight and that means he is coming to win. I will not be overly surprised if Plant is able to score a points upset over Benavidez.”
BOB SANTOS, Sports Illustrated 2022 Trainer of the Year:
“I think Benavidez vs. Plant is going to be a tremendous fight in the early rounds. Plant will be having some success moving and boxing, but towards the middle rounds Benavidez will take over and win the fight. That said, I think it’s going to be a tremendous fight and both guys’ stock is going to go up.”
KEITH IDEC, Boxing Scene:
“Benavidez by 11th-round TKO. Plant’s intelligence, movement and skill will enable him to make the most of their fight competitive. The relentless Benavidez pressure and volume punching will eventually wear Plant down, though, and lead to a stoppage in one of the championship rounds.”
STEPHEN JACKSON, Former NBA World Champion and “ALL THE SMOKE” Co-Host:
“Plant is coming off one of the biggest wins of his career. A big knockout after losing to Canelo. He’s in a good space right now. Benavidez has been looking for a fight, he’s one of the dangerous fighters around right now so it’s going to be a good fight. Caleb is still on his high and he has to win this fight to get back to Canelo. Benavidez has been calling out Canelo for years and this is a stepping-stone. If I have to lean toward a side because you put a gun to my head, I’m going to go with Benavidez.”
ROBERT LITTAL, Black Sports Online:
“I believe this is truly a 50/50 fight with an amazing clash of styles between someone they call the ‘Mexican Monster’ and the other they call ‘Sweethands.’ In the end I think Caleb Plant survives an early assault from Benavidez and uses the knowledge from the Canelo fight and puts on a boxing clinic down the stretch to win a unanimous decision.”
GREG BEACHAM, Associated Press:
“I like Benavidez by late-round stoppage. His toughest opponent has usually been himself, but I still think he can reach his full potential. Benavidez should be motivated by a talented, confident veteran opponent like Plant, who could easily take this fight if Benavidez shows up unfocused or unprepared. Benavidez’s strength and talent are the determining factors for me in an excellent matchup.”
MORGAN CAMPBELL, New York Times:
“Benavidez by very close decision. Might be split decision, might be majority decision, but I think he’ll win seven rounds.”
LARGE, Barstool Sports:
“Although both fighters possess both attributes, I still see this one as strength versus speed. And Benavidez’s power will get to Plant by the late rounds. Benavidez by KO Round 8-10.”
PAUL PIERCE, Former NBA World Champion and “Ticket & The Truth” Co-Host
“I’m going with Plant. That’s my man. I met Caleb Plant – I’ve sat with him at a fight and I had a moment with him so I’m going with Caleb Plant. I ain’t gonna lie though, Benavidez is a beast.”
KEVIN IOLE, Yahoo! Sports:
“David Benavidez W12 Caleb Plant: I love the fight given the talent level of the two and the significance within the division. Plant has everything he needs to win this fight, but I see Benavidez as something of a sleeping giant. He has enormous untapped potential and I believe this fight is coming at the right time for him. I see it as a nailbiter that Benavidez pulls out down the stretch with crisp combination punching.”
DAN RAFAEL, Fight Freaks Unite:
“It’s an outstanding matchup but I think Benavidez will win. Plant is a good boxer but Benavidez is a brutal puncher with excellent power and an excellent chin. Plant may have some success boxing for stretches in a good fight, but Benavidez will break him down and stop him late.”
DEMARCUS COUSINS – Four-Time NBA All-Star:
“I do like Plant. I question his power, but Plant is a very skilled boxer. I don’t know though, I might have to go the other way with this one [and pick Benavidez]. Benavidez is a monster.”
JOE SANTOLIQUITO, Ring Magazine:
“I like Benavidez. I think he’s simply too big, and too strong for Plant. Benavidez knows the stakes and will come in acutely prepared. Plant will try to out-box Benavidez and get the fight into the later rounds, but with that comes some risk. Benavidez wins by late-round stoppage.”
ADRIANA NORIEGA, Fox Deportes:
“Benavidez vs. Plant is a great, 50/50 fight. Two contrasting fights that make for a very interesting clash. On one side, you have ‘The Mexican Monster’ with the physical advantages, power and aggressive style that defines him. I expect Plant to use his sweet hands, his timing, his speed and his footwork to potentially frustrate Benavidez. If the fight ends early, I expect Benavidez to win. If it goes to the judges, Plant has the better chance in my book.”
MICHAEL ROSENTHAL, Boxing Junkie:
“I have a lot of respect for Plant, who I believe is an elite athlete with an elite skill set. And he showed us against Anthony Dirrell that he’s no slouch in the power department. I just think that Benavidez has too much firepower for him. He’s an offensive juggernaut, a guy who breaks down opponents with ferocious, relentless pressure that has resulted in 23 knockouts in 26 fights. Plant will have some success early, but Benavidez will land more and more punches as the fight progresses and score a late stoppage. Benavidez KO 9.
CLAUDIA TREJOS. DAZN/PROBOXTV/BYB:
“This will be an explosive fight. Benavidez with the advantage of height and advantage of youth will use his skills to make Plant fall into his fighting style. We can never discount Plant’s grit – a boxer who has proven his warrior spirit inside and outside the ring. Benavidez always does his homework and has power to go along with it – a win against Plant puts him on track for the highly anticipated fight against Canelo. I can see Benavidez taking this opportunity to show off his complete tool set. Benavidez by KO in the later rounds.”
ABE GONZALEZ, Big Fight Weekend:
“David Benavidez versus Caleb Plant is a dream fight for the purist. I can see Caleb Plant frustrating Benavidez early with his boxing ability and movement. However, in the later rounds, after those Benavidez punches start to add up, he will slow Plant down and stop him around the ninth or 10th round.”
Undefeated welterweight contender Cody Crowley will look to further cement his place in the star-studded welterweight division when he takes on veteran Abel Ramos in the SHOWTIME PPV telecast opener on Saturday, March 25 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The pay-per-view telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and will be headlined by super middleweight rivals David “The Mexican Monster” Benavidez and Caleb Plant in a long-awaited matchup between former world champions.
The 29-year-old Crowley (21-0, 9 KOs) is a native of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada but trains in Las Vegas with longtime coach Ibn Cason as he continues his ascent in the 147-pound division. After impressively dispatching the previously unbeaten Kudratillo Abdukakhorov and rugged contender Josesito Lopez in his last two outings, Crowley hopes to take advantage of another opportunity on one of boxing’s biggest stages.
Here is what Crowley had to say about training camp, Ramos and more:
On what he’s shown the boxing world with his most recent wins:
“With my last two wins broadcast on SHOWTIME® and SHOWTIME PPV, I proved to the world that I’m an elite fighter. I belong in every conversation regarding the welterweight division. I earned the right to challenge for the welterweight championship of the world.”
On where he can still improve as a fighter:
“As a fighter, there is always room for improvement. I’m an all-around fighter. I can box, I can punch, I can take a punch and I can outthink any opponent who is in front of me. Improvement will come as I am able to get more activity and not deal with as much ring rust. Improvement will also come as the stakes in each fight are raised.”
On his opponent, Abel Ramos:
“Abel Ramos is a solid fighter. I believe that he is coming to fight and will be very aggressive. But, he is now in the ring with an extremely hungry fighter. As the fight progresses, I will discover the holes in his style. With my non-stop aggression, I will suffocate anything he’s trying to do.”
On where he stands in the welterweight division:
“I truly believe that I am one of the top three welterweight fighters in the world. The only ones ahead of me are Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford. Fighting either of them, I can then prove to be the best in the world. I believe that I can beat either of them, because I’m younger and hungrier. There is no one who can keep up with my relentless attack and determination in the ring.
“Right now, I believe that I’m better than any of the other contenders. It’s time to fight for the world title. It’s time to fight Errol Spence Jr.”
On fighting in memory of his late father:
“Dedicating this fight and my career to honor my father’s memory means everything to me. He was and still is my greatest fan. He pushed me to succeed. He believed in me when there was nobody else. Becoming welterweight champion of the world is our dream.
“With my father’s passing, I started ‘55 for 55’ to raise funds and awareness for suicide prevention. It is my goal to help people and save lives with this program and for it to be another way of honoring his memory.”
Top trainers and boxing minds, Derrick James, Bob Santos, SugarHill Steward and Buddy McGirt, put their collective wisdom together to preview and breakdown the upcoming showdown between super middleweight rivals David “The Mexican Monster” Benavidez and Caleb Plant, a 50-50 matchup, during a virtual media roundtable on Thursday as some of boxing’s best strategists expect an intriguing clash of styles and personalities in the long-awaited showdown.
Benavidez vs. Plant headlines a SHOWTIME PPV event beginning at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT on Saturday, March 25 from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Here is what the trainers had to say Thursday:
DERRICK JAMES, Trainer of Errol Spence Jr., Jermell Charlo and Frank Martin:
“This is an interesting fight. I like both of those guys and I’ve known them for a while. It comes down to who can take it. Who can implement what they do best? Both have fast hands and are athletic. It’s going to come down to fortitude.
“Both guys share the weakness of depth. Because they’ve never had to dig themselves out of trouble. That’s what we don’t know about, because we haven’t really seen them have to do that. It may not be their weakness, but looking at it from the outside, we don’t really know.
“When I’ve had a fighter who has bad blood with an opponent like Benavidez and Plant, I had to make one strategy for fighting and one for boxing. Whatever he felt, I had to coach him from that perspective during the fight.
“A lot of times if I see something brewing in the opposite corner where the father might be getting emotional, I might say something really loud so that he can hear me. Something the opposite of what I really want, just to ruffle them up. That can make the father and son question each other. It’s very hard to be on the same page.
“If I was fighting David Benavidez, I would do my best to not let him be himself. I would do whatever I could to offset him. The best way is probably with movement. Because whenever he stands in front of you, it’s a bad day. You better practice holding and clinching, because if you don’t, it’s going to be a long night.
“If I’m training Benavidez, I’d tell him he has to pressure Caleb. But you have to watch out, because Caleb sets traps. You have to back him down at a distance and hope that he’ll succumb to the pressure. Caleb is a great counter puncher and has great defense. You have to stay two steps ahead of him.”
BOB SANTOS, Trainer of Mario Barrios, Alberto Puello, Hector Luis Garcia and Carlos Adames
“I know both guys very well. The bad blood is real. I’ve been cordial with both guys and I’ve been in the middle of it sometimes. We’ve all known these two have been on a head-on collision course.
“I think it’s going to be brutal at times in there. But if Benavidez gets too intense, he could get into some trouble. We’ll see how it plays out.
“People are going to be surprised with Benavidez, because he’s chose to fight the way he has, so that he can make a name for himself. But he’s really a savant. He’s a lot smarter in the ring than people think. I think he can do more things than Caleb Plant can in the end, but the only thing I’m worried about is how much he’s talked about going for the knockout. If he stays within himself, I like him to break Plant down.
“I think both of their stocks are going to rise in this fight. Eventually, Benavidez will force Plant to fight. He’s going to go through the fire and I’m interested to see how he reacts.
“The father-son, trainer-fighter dynamic in training camp is a good thing, because they know how to push their kid. The problems come from guiding the corner. When I was with Robert and Ruben Guerrero, we were fighting Danny Garcia and we were up in the rounds, but after Robert got hit with a good shot, I thought his dad got emotional and stopped caring about winning the rounds. Caleb can turn things up in a way that could potentially make the Benavidez corner panic.
“I would tell Caleb to keep turning Benavidez. He’s gotta use his angles. I’d be MMA all night clinching and holding with him, because you can’t let him get comfortable.
“For Benavidez, it’s all about controlled aggression. He really can’t stand Caleb. He wants to hurt the guy. If I’m the trainer I’m stressing that you have to be methodical. Work behind the jab and control the distance.”
SUGARHILL STEWARD, Trainer of Tyson Fury, Anthony Dirrell and Vladimir Shishkin
“This is one of the biggest fights in boxing right now. This is one of those fights that really interests me. You have two former world champions, two young fighters that are at the top of their game. As we all know, there’s some bad blood. There’s more than just a fight on the line. It’s something personal.
“Both of these fighters are at the top. They both have fast hands and they both have the ability to knock each other out. It just makes it such an exciting fight at 168 pounds. They’ve both been asking for the best, and here you go, we’ve got two of the best right here.
“With Anthony Dirrell, we had two different game plans for Benavidez and Plant. With Benavidez, it was to box him and to be strong. With Caleb, it wasn’t to box him it was to pressure him more because he’s a good boxer himself and he has beautiful movement. I didn’t want Anthony to box him. Anthony didn’t want to box him either. It was two different plans but with these two guys together, it’s an electrifying fight because they both can do both things – box and pressure. It’s whoever sticks to their game plan.
“There’s going to be a lot of emotions in this one. I think both of them are going to be emotional because they are going to bring it out of each other. It’s about whoever can control themselves. Honestly, it should get a little bit wild in there. They are going to let those emotions out.
“My advice for Caleb would be to box. Use your superior movement and angles. Don’t look for a knockout punch because things happen in boxing when you’re not looking for something. You can catch him off guard. Caleb does that very well, as he did with Anthony Dirrell.
“My advice for Benavidez would be to know how to cut the ring off. David cuts the ring off well but that’s the most important thing. Try to make Caleb move the way David wants to move him, and then it’s about timing. David is fast, he’s big, he can jab, but I believe he has to cut off the ring to slow the pace down.”
BUDDY MCGIRT, Trainer of Zhanibek Alimkhanuly and former trainer of Arturo Gatti and Antonio Tarver
“I think this is going to be a great fight and something that boxing needs. You have two of the best in the division and I personally think that this should open the door for more great fights to happen in boxing. This is opening the door and letting people know that real fighters still fight each other.
“You have to be able to control the bad blood. You can’t go in there with one thing in mind, just trying to knock him out. You can walk into something you might not want to. You have to take it and use it to your advantage and use it in a way that’s going to make the fight easier. If you go in there trying to gun him out, you’ll wind up getting gunned out.
“Father and son combinations are all different. It’s all about how if things aren’t going according to their plan, how can David and Jose Sr. get on the same page in that one minute in between rounds?
“If I was training Caleb, one of the things I would be telling him is that you can’t give him the same look every round. When Benavidez starts throwing his combinations, you have to punch back to break his rhythm. You can’t just let him get into a rhythm because then it’s going to be a long night. There’s an old saying, ‘You can’t punch and block punches at the same time.’ If Benavidez is throwing punches, throw one right down the pike to try to break his rhythm and give him different looks.”
Unbeaten rising star Jesus “Mono” Ramos and veteran welterweight contender Abel Ramos held a media workout in Phoenix, Ariz., on Wednesday as the Casa Grande-natives prepare for their respective showdowns on the David Benavidez vs. Caleb Plant SHOWTIME PPV® undercard on Saturday, March 25 in a Premier Boxing Champions event from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Jesus, Jr., will battle fellow unbeaten Joey Spencer in the 10-round super welterweight co-main event, while Abel will take on undefeated Cody Crowley in the pay-per-view telecast opener at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT.
At just 21-years-old, Jesus, Jr., (19-0, 15 KOs) has compiled an impressive record and achieved contender status by displaying potent power and boxing acumen heading into perhaps his toughest test to date against the unbeaten Spencer. For his uncle Abel (27-5-2, 21 KOs), March 25 is another opportunity for him to score a signature upset, having stopped former champion Omar Figueroa, Jr., in May 2021 in addition to a final round KO of Bryant Perrella in February 2020, turning the tide in a fight Abel trailed at the time of the stoppage.
Here is what Jesus Jr. and Abel had to say Wednesday from Central Boxing Gym in Phoenix:
JESUS RAMOS JR.
“This is a huge opportunity for me. I feel like so far in my career I’ve taken big steps and faced tough opponents, and this won’t be an exception. It’s going to be a great fight.
“I feel like I do a lot of things well. My reach, my conditioning, the body shots that I throw, it’s all going to be important on fight night.
“I’ve been working hard with my strength and conditioning coach. We’re working on being more explosive and throwing more punches. We want to really increase the pace of the fight.
“I feel even stronger now than before my last fight. We’ve had time to make the necessary adjustments, so my focus is better than ever. I’m ready for this.
“I do feel like I’ve fought on some big stages getting to this moment, but no matter what, I can’t let the size of the moment get to me. This is my childhood dream. Now it’s become a reality and on March 25 I’m going to enjoy every moment of it.
“Representing Arizona means a lot. There’s not a lot of athletes or big names coming out of Casa Grande. If I can bring a world title back to Casa Grande, that would mean everything to me. That’s the main goal. I want to pave the way for the next generation, not necessarily just in boxing, but whatever they dream of.
“This is going to be fireworks, and we’re here to win. Whatever it takes. We’re winning on the night. Ideally, it’s going to be a stoppage in the later rounds.
“I’m here to make the best fights, and the most entertaining fights as well. I’m here to stay.”
“I’m feeling really good. Training has been going great and I’m in top condition. We’re getting into those last couple weeks and getting everything sharpened up for the ring.
“I hope the fans get to see all the hard work that we put in here in Arizona pay off on March 25. I hope they appreciate the work ethic that we have and the excitement that we bring to boxing.
“Jesus, Jr., and I motivate each other. We’ve been training together for a long time and we motivate each other every day.
“We give each other pointers, but Jesus, Jr., is a kid who works hard. He doesn’t need much to get him going.
“The key for this fight is going to be to use the experience that I have and every trick that I know. I’m expecting an exciting fight.
“I’ve fought everybody since the beginning. I have a lot of rounds inside of the ring and I just have to make sure that I use everything I know in this fight.
“I really think that my resume and the opposition that I’ve fought, compared to Crowley, is going to be the biggest factor. I’ve got way more experience and it’s going to show on March 25. I’m predicting a win however it comes.”
Undefeated former two-time WBC Super Middleweight Champion David “El Bandera Roja’’ Benavídez and former IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb Plant continued their war of words and nearly came to blows at a tense press conference in Los Angeles Thursday before they settle their years-long rivalry in a 12-round showdown that headlines a SHOWTIME PPV on Saturday, March 25 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Benavídez and Plant met at the Conga Room at L.A. Live less than two months before their long-awaited clash, as the hungry super middleweights look to settle their score in one of boxing’s most anticipated showdowns. Both have had reigns as champions at 168 pounds and both are eager to ascend to the top of the division as they fight for Benavídez’s Interim WBC Super Middleweight title. As the two exchanged insults on stage and the barbs grew more personal, security twice had to intervene to keep them apart during the proceedings.
Here is what the Benavidez and Plant had to say Thursday from Los Angeles:
“On March 25, I guarantee that I’m knocking Caleb Plant out before round six.
“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.
“He had a sensational win against Anthony Dirrell and I take nothing away from that. 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.
“The fans want to see a knockout. He can act like I’m not like that, but just look at my record. Look at how everyone looks after they fight me. I don’t play around. That’s what I do and he’s no different from any fighter I’ve ever fought.
“This is the most important fight of my career to this date. I feel like after this fight, I’m going to pass that threshold and get to where I want to be. Every fighter has one of these grudge matches that brings the best out of them. I don’t like Caleb at all, but I want to thank him for bringing the animal out of me. I’m more motivated than ever.
“I can’t wait to give my fans a great knockout. We know that this isn’t gonna be easy. It’s gonna be grueling. But I’m ready to get in there and knock this guy out.
“He knows how the canvas feels and I’m putting him back on that. You’re gonna be laying down again.
“You got knocked out already and I’m gonna do the same thing to you again. I’m putting you to sleep.”
“We got a big fight on our hands. That’s what boxing needs. I want to be someone who helps deliver that to the boxing world and I’m sure Benavidez does too.
“After the Canelo fight, I said that I wanted to make the biggest fight possible. They came back with two-time champion Anthony Dirrell for a title eliminator. I knew I was next in line to fight the interim champ before that fight, and that meant David Benavidez. I’m in the fight that I want.
“You don’t have to worry about me showing up on March 25. This isn’t my first big fight. I’ve been here before.
“We’re both at the top of the division. 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. It’s slowly built up over time.
“I’m coming. 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 an incredibly important fight and it’s perfect timing for it to happen. This kind of fight sends a message to all the other fighters that it’s time to step up and take big fights. Boxing needs fights like this. This is a legacy fight for me and my team. On March 25, I see myself getting my hand raised.
“I’ve fought in Las Vegas before and it’s what every kid who has ever laced up a pair of boxing gloves dreams of – fighting on the biggest stage at MGM Grand and on pay-per-view.
“I never said David’s a bad fighter because I have no interest in fighting bad fighters. I want to fight good fighters and make big fights. This is the best fight that could be made in the division.”
Undefeated former two-time WBC Super Middleweight Champion David “El Bandera Roja’’ Benavídez and former IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb Plant will meet in a high-stakes, 12-round showdown to settle their long-simmering feud live on SHOWTIME PPV on Saturday, March 25 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Benavídez and Plant will take their years-long war of words into the ring, as these assertive and hungry super middleweights look to cast their ballot as the division’s next kingpin. Both have had reigns as champions at 168 pounds and both are eager to once again ascend to the top of the division as they fight for Benavídez’s Interim WBC Super Middleweight title.
The 25-year-old undefeated Benavídez (26-0, 23 KOs) became the youngest-ever 168-pound world champion at just 20 years old when he defeated Ronald Gavril by split decision for the vacant WBC title on SHOWTIME in 2017. A Phoenix-native who now lives and trains in the Seattle area, Benavídez has stamped his place in the super middleweight division with knockout power in both hands and improving ring savvy with each fight.
When he was 15 years old, Benavídez went from weighing 250 pounds to a boxing prodigy under the watchful eye of his father and trainer, Jose, Sr., and his brother and veteran contender Jose Jr., as he famously held his own in sparring against middleweight champions Gennady Golovkin and Peter Quillin. Benavídez is riding a string of six straight knockout victories heading into the bout against Plant, having most recently scored a resounding third-round stoppage of former champion David Lemieux in his last fight in May.
“I can’t wait until they put me in the ring with him so I can beat his ass,” said Benavídez. “This is going to be a great night for boxing fans. I can’t wait to step in there and give everyone the beatdown they’re coming to see.”
Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) has used his sublime boxing skills to rise to the rank of world champion and, in his last fight, showed big-time power earning 2022’s Knockout of the Year (CBS Sports, BoxingScene) in a win over Anthony Dirrell. It was Plant’s debut performance with new trainer Stephen Edwards in October where he ended a heated rivalry with Dirrell with a single punch, knocking out the former two-time champion to deliver one of 2022’s most memorable finishes.
The 30-year-old Plant, who was born in Nashville, Tenn., and now lives in Las Vegas, won the IBF title in a hard-fought unanimous decision victory over Jose Uzcategui in 2019. Plant dropped Uzcategui in the second and fourth rounds and cruised to victory for the championship. He made three successful title defenses, defeating Mike Lee and Vincent Feigenbutz by TKO in addition to a unanimous decision victory over former champion Caleb Truax. He lost the title in an undisputed championship match against Canelo Alvarez in November 2021, at times frustrating Alvarez with his smooth boxing acumen before defeating Dirrell to set up this highly anticipated clash with Benavidez.
“After I knocked out Dirrell, I made it clear I wanted to go after the biggest fight that could be made in the division,” said Plant. “This is one of the most anticipated matchups and I’m here again, showing the world why I’m one of the biggest attractions in boxing. I feel sharp and on point. I’m looking forward to March 25, not only to give the fans what they’ve been waiting for, but to show who the better man is.”
Those are the familiar words of former WBO middleweight world champion Demetrius Andrade(31-0, 19 KOs), who hasn’t fought since November of 2021, but he’s back and, after fighting on the DAZN/Matchroom Boxing platform, has returned to ShowtIme/PBC, where he will move up to 168 pounds to battle Demond Nicholson(26-4-1, 22 KOs) on the undercard of Gervonta Davis-Hector Luis Garcia on Saturday night at Capital One Arena in Washington, D.C.(Showtime PPV).
“I jumped on the opportunity to be on this card with all these young stars,” Andrade said at the media workout on Wednesday. “I know everyone is coming to do what they do, and I’m gonna set the stage right. I respect what Nicholson can do, and I know he’s leaving it all in the ring. But my skills will speak louder than my words.”
For Andrade, who vacated his WBO 160-pound title rather than fighting Janibek Alimkhanuly and withdrew from a fight at 168 pounds with Zach Parker, it’s been challenging getting some of the top guys in the ring. He’s called out Canelo Alvarez and Gennadiy Golovkin, but for whatever reason, he could not get those fights, but according to him, everything happens for a reason.
“I was trying to get the big names at middleweight, I was knocking on everyone’s door, but at the end of the day, it didn’t happen,” he said. “Everything happens for a reason, and I believe that this is the best division for me.”
The 34-year-old Andrade made it clear; he wants one, if not both, Charlo brothers, David Benavidez, and Caleb Plant.
“I want to give the sport what they’re looking for,” he said. “Because that’s also what I want with myself. Me and Jermall Charlo have had this rivalry brewing for years. It’s nothing but respect, but I want to take care of it in the ring. Who else is calling him out the way I am?
“I want the Charlo twins; I want David Benavidez and Caleb Plant. I’m ready for anyone who wants to put on a big show.”
Unbeaten WBA Super Middleweight Champion David Morrell Jr. previewed his upcoming showdown against Kalvin Henderson before they square off in the co-main event of action live on SHOWTIME on Saturday, June 4 from The Armory in Minneapolis in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The telecast begins at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT and is headlined by the highly-anticipated duel between WBC and WBO Super Bantamweight World Champion Stephen Fulton and former unified champion Danny Roman.
After a prolific amateur career in his native Cuba, Morrell moved stateside and adopted Minneapolis as his hometown in the U.S. and thrilled the crowd at The Armory with electric knockout performances last December and June. June 4 will be the second fight that the 24-year-old will be trained by renowned coach Ronnie Shields in Texas, as he looks to again steal the show in front of his fans.
Photos: Hosanna Rull/iRull Fotos
Here is what Morrell (6-0, 5 KOs) had to say about training camp, June 4 and more:
On his recent training camp:
“This training camp has been special because I was in great shape coming in, and I got to work on a lot of new things with my coach Ronnie Shields. I got to spar with some new faces, and I’ll be very sharp going into this fight. My body feels good and I’m healthy. No body aches or injuries, so I’ll be ready to shine.”
On his matchup with Kalvin Henderson:
“Henderson is a very durable fighter who has never been stopped. I’m aiming to be the first person to knock him out. He’s had a lot of time to prepare for this fight, so I know he’ll be coming in great shape. He also has a lot of power, so I must be at my best defensively.”
On what a win will do for his career:
“A victory will set up a major showdown with David Benavidez or any of the top contenders or champions. It’s no secret that I’m coming for Benavidez. I know a great performance on June 4 will lead to some big-time fights, against some big-time names.”
On fighting in his United States hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota:
“Minneapolis is my city here in the United States. I’ve made a name for myself in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and Saint Paul. I’m ready to set the city on fire at The Armory once again. The fans are incredible, and I can’t wait to give them another great night of boxing.”
Once again, undefeated David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez didn’t disappoint the hometown crowd as the Phoenix native became a super middleweight champion for the third time in dramatic fashion, scoring a third-round TKO against former world champion David Lemieux to win the vacant Interim WBC World Title on Saturday night at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona
Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) beat and battered a gutsy Lemieux (43-5, 36 KOs) from the opening bell knocking him to the canvas for the fifth time in his career midway through the second round on a massive uppercut that nearly sent Lemieux through the ropes. Lemieux somehow survived the onslaught of Benavidez’s power punches and returned to action in the third round. But Benavidez went right to work dishing out more and more punishment as Lemieux’s corner stepped in and signaled surrender to referee Harvey Dock, who waved off the fight with 1:31 remaining in the third round.
Photos: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
“Mike Tyson gave me the name ‘The Mexican Monster’, what do you think I’m gonna do?” Benavidez told Jim Gray after the fight. “I just feel like I’m the strongest 168 pounder. No one can mess with me.”
Benavidez staggered Lemieux in the closing seconds of round one, the big blow a left hook that sent Lemieux into the ropes with Benavidez pouncing with a 10-punch combination of uppercuts, hooks and straight jabs. Dock later said he was about to stop the fight had the bell not rung to end the round.
“Lemieux is a special type of breed,” said Benavidez, who landed 49 percent of his total punches and 52 percent of his power punches. “This guy was swinging until the end. I had to be on my p’s and q’s. He’s a tough champion, so my hat’s off to him. He’s the only one with the guts to face me.”
Lemieux never backed down and told Gray he was impressed with Benavidez. “I’m good, Benavidez is a hell of a fighter,” Lemieux said. “I congratulate him. After the first round I was okay, he had gotten me with some good shots. I tried to come back, but he’s a very good fighter.”
Benavidez said he wants the best the 168-pound division has to offer. “I’m waiting for [Caleb Plant, Jermall Charlo, David Morrell] to sign the contract. Them b****** know what’s up. I’m right here waiting for them. I’ll put myself up against everyone. I guarantee I’m knocking everyone out.
“I can get better everywhere. You can always learn. It only gets better from here. I’m just going to keep working. Facing tough guys like Lemieux just pushes me to keep moving to the next level.”
Unbeaten two-time world champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez and former world champion David Lemieux officially kicked off fight week events with a media workout on Wednesday ahead of their 12-round showdown for the vacant Interim WBC Super Middleweight Title which headlines live on SHOWTIME this Saturday, May 21 from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT and features two exciting undercard matchups as hard-hitting Cuban prospect Yoelvis Gómez faces Mexico’s Jorge Cota in the co-main event, while Dominican prospect Luis “The Twist” Núñez squares off against Mexico’s Jonathan Fierro in a battle of unbeatens that kicks off the action.
The two-power punchers (combined 85% KO rate for Benavídez and Lemieux) showed off their skills at Central Boxing Gym, as they look to grab the interim title and move one step closer to regaining world champion status with an emphatic victory on Saturday night. For Benavídez, he will be returning to fight in his home state for the second-straight outing, after he knocked out Kyrone Davis in front of his hometown fans in November.
Here is what Benavidez and Lemieux had to say Wednesday:
Photos: Esther Lin/SHOWTIME
“I definitely want to go out there and follow my gameplan. I don’t care [if the KO] comes in the first, second, fifth or 12th round. When it comes, it comes. I visualize everything I’m going to do in the ring.
“I just hit the weight yesterday and now everything is amazing. We took that stress off the table after four months of hard work. Now, I’m excited to go out there, fight for the title and give the fans a great fight.
“It makes me happy to be able to inspire kids and to see the smiles on the faces of the people in my city. It’s inspiring to have them come out and support me the way that they do.
“It means the world to me to be here in my hometown with my family – both my son and my dad. Now I know what my dad meant when he said that once you have a child, your life changes. My son Anthony is 18 months and he’s given me so much motivation to be the best version of myself.I have a newfound focus and I’m ready to conquer the division.”
“On fight night I’ll be about 180 pounds. I don’t care what he is at. Maybe 190? It doesn’t really matter. I’ll be ready no matter what.
“If he wants a war, he’ll get a war. I’m strong and I’ve very confident in my abilities. I know he’s a very strong fighter, but we have a plan going in against him. We’re not worried and we will do what we have to do to be at our best on fight night. David Benavídez will have his hands full on Saturday night.
“If you know David Lemieux, he’s never refused a fight and he’s always taken whatever fight they put in front of him. When we had big fights in the past, we always took them. If you want to be a world champion you have to fight the best.
“He’s a great fighter and you can’t take anything away from him, but he’s never fought David Lemieux and he will see what that means on Saturday night. I know what I’m going in there against. Does he know what he’s going in against?”