Benavidez Overcomes Plant and Calls Out Canelo

Caleb Plant banked the early rounds, David Benavidez came on strong down the stretch, and at the end of the night it was Benavidez who emerged victorious, winning a unanimous decision in a super-middleweight grudge match at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. With the victory, Benavidez strengthened his claim for a shot at division kingpin Canelo Alvarez.

As was widely anticipated, Plant (22-2, 13 KOs) began the contest working behind his jab, stepping in with flurries and then sliding away, constantly moving to frustrate Benavidez and holding him tightly whenever the man from Phoenix, Arizona threatened to get close. 

By the fifth round, Benavidez was showing frustration with Plant’s success, backing to the ropes in an attempt to bait him in and waving at him to come forward and fight. Plant responded with mockery, gazing out into the crowd when Benavidez missed wildly with a wide punch and waving an imaginary cloak like a matador. Plant continued to pile up points; but all the while, Benavidez was almost imperceptibly closing the distance between them.

A short Benavidez right hand in the seventh round looked as if it might have hurt Plant, and another in the eighth, as Plant tried to hold, definitely did. Benavidez followed with another right hand and a left, and Plant was suddenly struggling. Plant emerged from an attempted clinch with blood gushing from a cut above his eye as a result of a head butt, prompting referee Kenny Bayless to halt the action and have Plant checked by the ringside physician. When battle resumed, Benavidez landed two big hooks to punctuate the round, and the tide had fully turned.

In an attempt to stem that tide, Plant began the ninth by walking to center ring and seeking to regain the initiative, but a low blow caused Benavidez to buckle and Bayless to call a timeout. Plant once more launched fast-handed flurries to keep Benavidez at bay, but to no avail, as Benavidez stalked forward relentlessly, adding uppercuts into the mix as he pounded Plant’s body and head.

The tenth was all one-way traffic, causing Plant trainer Stephen Edwards to warn his fighter afterward that he would stop the contest unless Plant showed greater resistance; Plant responded with combinations in the eleventh, but they did nothing to deter Benavidez’s onslaught. However, Plant survived to the final round, and the end of the fight, the two men exchanging fierce punches as the bell rang.

When the scorecards were announced, Benavidez won a unanimous decision by scores of 115-113, 116-112, and 117-111, to run his record to 27-0 (23).

The two men had exchanged angry words throughout the build-up to the fight, but afterward showed each other respect.

“Caleb Plant is a tough fighter,” said Benavidez. “I hit him with a lot of hard shots. I don’t want to talk shit, because I like this guy now. We got into the ring, we settled it like men. I was hitting him with a lot of power shots. That’s why I’m the Mexican monster. I have a lot of respect for Canelo Alvarez, but he has to give me that shot now. “

“I feel good. I feel fine,” said Plant. “I was trying to walk him when necessary, punch him when necessary, throw combinations when necessary. I caught a head butt; the blood was in my eye a little bit. But no excuse. David was the better man tonight. Good luck to him and his family. He's a hell of a fighter.”

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