David Benavidez vs. Caleb Plant - An All-Time High Stakes Showdown Between Two Of Boxing’s Top Stars That Is Sure To Produce Fireworks
By Curran Bhatia
DAVID BENAVIDEZ - A DANGEROUS AND POWERFUL FORCE AT SUPER MIDDLEWEIGHT THAT LOOKS TO SHINE FOR YEARS TO COME
David Benavidez, on paper, has everything you would want in a young champion. At only 26 years old, Benavidez boasts an impressive record of 26-0 with 23 wins by KO. That's an unbelievable knockout percentage of over 88%. That means if you get into the ring with David Benavidez, nine times out of ten, you will be leaving on the canvas for over ten seconds or with a referee waiving the fight-off.
Benavidez stands at an imposing 6'2" and has an impressive 74 ½ inch reach. His fighting style utilizes those tools as he walks you down, breaks you down, and eventually, more times than not, gets the stoppage victory. Benavidez has won his last outings by stoppage, dating back to 2019.
The hunger, grit, and skill are undeniable in the young champion. Benavidez, who goes by "The Mexican Monster" or "La Bandera Roja (The Red Flag)," became the youngest super middleweight champion in history at just age 21. It's been a lifetime in the sweet science, surrounded by family supporting and training with him - this is what David Benavidez was born to do.
Benavidez was born in 1996 and is American-Mexican. David first put on the gloves at just age three and was trained by his father, Jose Benavidez Sr., and alongside his older brother Jose Benavidez Jr. It wasn't an easy journey - at one point, David, his brother, and his father were living in their car.
"I know what the struggle is, it was real, but that's what makes make that man I am today, because I have been through hard times, I never put that on social media, so people can feel bad for me, I don't need anyone to feel bad for me, I just need my own motivation, that's all I need," says David as he reflects on his journey.
At age 15, Benavidez had gone up to 250 pounds and was generally struggling with the discipline needed to be a future world champion. But that all changed when David turned professional at the tender age of 16.
As David himself puts it,
"I was a 250-pound 14-year-old who hated the way he looked, I didn't believe in myself, but I said to myself, I am going to put in the work and stay dedicated and look where I'm at now."
In 2013, Benavidez turned pro, and it was obvious to any observer that this kid was the real deal. Quickly winning his 20 fights with 17 by way of knockout.
DAVID BENAVIDEZ - RISING THROUGH THE RANKS, WINNING TITLES, AND DAZZLING FANS WITH POWER, KNOCKOUTS, TOUGHNESS, AND ABILITY
David Benavidez got his world title opportunity on September 8, 2017, vs. Ronald Gavril. It was a hard-fought split decision, but the result allowed David to become the youngest ever champion the super middleweight division has ever seen.
"It feels amazing to win this title. It's everything I've dreamed about since I was a little kid. It's everything I've dedicated myself to and I've worked hard for. It finally paid off," David commented when reflecting on the massive win.
The wins piled up for Benavidez, including a rematch with Gavril in 2018 - this time, Benavidez left no doubt as he won by unanimous decision. Benavidez made quick work of the well-known J'Leon Love in 2019 - defeating the overmatched Love by 2nd round KO.
In September of 2019, Benavidez had the very tough assignment of taking on once-beaten Anthony "The Dog" Dirrell, who was 33-1-1 at the time. Dirrell was known for his rugged style and success in the ring, in addition to personal tragedy by overcoming cancer and a debilitating motorcycle accident outside of the ring. The lights were shining bright in this mega matchup with the WBC World Super Middleweight Title on the line. As has been the case in Benavidez's career, when the lights are the brightest, he continues to shine. David took out the overmatched Anthony Dirrell by 9th-round KO.
The wins continued to pile up, and in 2022, we last saw Benavidez in the ring against the experienced David Lemieux - one of the hardest-hitting punchers in our sport. Lemieux, and his power, were no match for "The Mexican Monster" as Benavidez dropped Lemieux in round two and finished the job in round three.
The question has been, is there anyone that can challenge the young, hungry, and motivated David Benavidez. Enter Caleb Plant.
CALEB PLANT - A SLICK AND IMPRESSIVE BOXER THAT CAN OUTBOX YOU OR KNOCK YOU OUT COLD
Caleb Plant was born in 1992 in Ashland City, Tennessee. Boxing was in Plant's blood, and the young star first laced up a pair of gloves at only age eight. By 2011, Plant had won the Golden Gloves in the light heavyweight division and was an alternate for the 2012 Summer Olympics. As an amateur, Plant shined and put together nearly 100 wins.
The young star earned the nickname "Sweet Hands" and turned professional in 2014. Plant won his first 17 fights, ten by knockout, and was on his way to a title opportunity. In 2019, Plant realized a lifelong dream and won the IBF Super Middleweight Title by defeating Jose Uzcategui via unanimous decision.
Plant's style can be described as a boxer who can outwork you but who also has the power to knock you out. Standing at 6'1" with a 74-inch reach - Plant is well-sized for the division.
Everything Plant has achieved inside the ring has been extremely impressive. At the same time, Plant has had to overcome family and personal tragedies outside of the ring. In 2015, Caleb's daughter Alia suffered an unknown medical condition that caused seizures. At just 19 months, she caught a respiratory infection which developed into pneumonia and tragically passed.
Plant recalls his daughter's struggles,
"I had her blood sent off to do over 50,000 tests at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, which is probably the most prestigious children's hospital in the world. Everything came back negative. She would have at least 150 seizures per day. There was not one day she would have under 150 seizures."
"I went to her, and I said, ‘This has been a long 19 months, and I know you have to be tired. If you're tired of this and you're done, you don't wanna do this anymore, then your daddy supports you, and I'm gonna be right here.' Every time before it was, ‘No, this is not gonna happen,' but I had that conversation with her, and she just started going down," Caleb recalls. "I got to sit there with her, and she took her last breath. January 29 at 10:55."M
That tragic loss was extremely difficult to overcome, but in 2019, Plant suffered another tragedy. This time Caleb's mother, Beth Plant, was shot by police after pulling a knife on an officer. She later died in a hospital. Caleb's final message to his mother was, "Love you forever and always momma. You always said 'work hard bubba' and I did."
And through it all - Caleb Plant somehow endured. Continuing his impressive boxing career and allowing tragedy outside of the ring to fuel him inside of the ring. Plant has now worked his record up to 22-1 with 13 KOs, and the 30-year-old is poised to continue to be one of the best young stars in the sport today.
In Plant's own words,
"I know how I got here: It was through my hard work and my dedication, through a lot of sacrifice and, most importantly, a lot of self-belief."
CALEB PLANT - REACHING THE MOUNTAINTOP, ONLY TO STUMBLE, PICK HIMSELF BACK UP AND GO UP AGAIN
Plant's impressive boxing record included wins over Jose Uzcategui, Mike Lee, Caleb Truax, and many others. This all led Plant to get the opportunity of the lifetime against the top fighter in the game at the time, Canelo Alvarez. Alvarez was on the top of all pound-for-pound lists in 2021 when Plant fought him.
Plant was able to box and move vs. Canelo - showing that he belonged in the ring with the living legend. Unfortunately for Plant, the fight was stopped in round 11. It was a monumental learning experience for "Sweet Hands" and in Caleb's own words,
"I've bent most the world to my will and done it with nothing but passion and skill. I'll be back. I showed I belong on the top level, and I'll be champion of the world again. I've never been scared to go big or go out on my shield. Thank you to all the fans and all my supporters."
It was confirmation for Plant that he could compete at boxing's highest level. And in 2022, Plant bounced back with a knockout blow for the ages. Plant had his opportunity to take on tough Anthony "The Dog" Dirrell. It was a highly anticipated matchup, with tensions flaring in the lead-up to the fight. In the end, it was Caleb Plant, showing that not only can he outbox you, but he can knock you out in spectacular fashion. In the 9th round, a jaw-dropped left hook dropped Dirrell, and the highlight reel knockout propelled Caleb right back to the top of the division, where he feels he belongs.
DAVID BENAVIDEZ vs. CALEB PLANT - TWO YOUNG AND HUNGRY MEN WHO ARE READY TO SHINE ON BOXING'S BIGGEST STAGE
On March 25 - boxing fans around the globe will be in for a treat. In a sport where the best fighting the best does not happen as much as we would like, we are getting one of the best possible matchups.
The fighters match up very competitively. David Benavidez is 6'2" with a 74 ½" reach, and Caleb Plant is listed at 6'1" with a 74-inch reach. Both men are very much in their prime - Benavidez at age 26 and Plant at age 30. Benavidez is 26-0, 23 KOs and Plant is 22-1, 13 KOs.
And where the fighters differ may make for the most intriguing aspect of the fight. Benavidez is a come-forward fighter who will stalk you, break you down through dazzling powerful combinations, and stop you in your tracks. Plant, on the other hand, has lightning-quick reflexes, beautiful boxing technique, and can out work you or set up a devastating knockout blow.
It's a powerful controlled aggressive brawler against a technical and slick boxer who also has power. Prime vs. Prime. David Benavidez vs. Caleb Plant - This matchup has everything you would want in a prize fight…and more. It all goes down on Saturday, March 25th, live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada. The fight can be seen on FITE in select international markets.
You do not want to miss this one.
Curran Bhatia is a 4-time Emmy® nominee at HBO Sports. With nearly a decade of experience at HBO, Curran produced/directed long-form documentaries (including the Emmy award-winning series "24/7"), and 250+ live events. Since HBO, Curran has stepped in front of the camera as On-Air Talent, Host, Play-By-Play Announcer, Analyst, Essayist, and Interviewer on NBC Sports, ESPN, FOX Sports, DAZN, FITE, and more. Curran hosts Ask The Experts podcast. Follow Curran on all social channels: @CurranBhatia