This is such a good fight and it is the real acid test for Benavidez, the one we have wanted for a while. I’m sure Plant, who obviously is far more experienced, is in incredible shape, but Benavidez has that ferocious power, 23 stoppages in 26 fights, and I think the timing here is perfect. I’m sure Benavidez will learn plenty along the way but I don’t think he will be denied and I can see him breaking through and having success that results in a stoppage win in the final third of the fight.
It feels like it is David Benavidez time. Never discount the heart and will of Caleb Plant, but it feels as though Benavidez is trying to become a star in the sport of boxing - and a win here is one step closer. I favor Benavidez.
Benavidez has the higher ceiling of the two, and this is the fight in which he'll demonstrate it by stopping Plant late on. Which isn't to say it'll be straightforward for him – they're refreshingly well-matched. The timing of this is, as ever, crucial – Benavidez appears capable of becoming the leading fighter at 12st if Saul Alvarez is determined to chase Dmitrii Bivol at light-heavyweight.
It cannot be underestimated that this is a real step-up for Benavidez. Plant is the proven operator out of the two despite public perception that this is Benavidez’s fight to lose. The fact that Benavidez has got himself into good shape indicates to me that he has finally got his focus and is aware of the task at hand. A well matched fight however i can see Benavidez ultimately breaking down Plant down the stretch and claiming a stoppage victory.
Benavidez often takes a while to get going, and Caleb Plant has to take advantage of those opening few rounds to pile up some points. He needs to box and move and treat the ropes like hot lava, not allowing Benavidez to pin him against them. But he has to thread a needle, because he is also going to have to sit down on some of his punches as Benavidez comes forward, in order to get some respect and make Benavidez think. I wouldn’t be surprised if Plant is ahead 5-3 or even 6-2 after eight, but by then benavidez will have built up a head of steam and his body work will have made it difficult for Plant to move the way he needs to. The final few rounds see the two men fighting in close, and there can only be one winner when that happens, as Benavidez wears Plant down and stops him in 11.
I love this fight. I think both men will have success, but when it really matters Plant will come out on top. I expect we will see flashes of brilliance from Benavidez in the early rounds which will become fewer and farer between as the fight drags on. Plant has a solid defence, we don’t really know about Benavidez’s yet when it comes to this level of opposition. Against lower he has struggled! I’m not sure if Plant can take him out, but he will certainly be strong and dominate down the stretch. It’s got 12 rounds written all over it with Plant taking a reasonably wide decision win.