David Benavidez and Caleb Plant didn’t waste any time in reaching terms for their long-awaited grudge match.
BoxingScene.com has confirmed that a deal was reached for a fight between two of the top super middleweights in the world. The development was revealed shortly after BoxingScene’s breaking news story that the two camps were already in talks for a heated clash years in the making, which will come with Benavidez’s interim WBC super middleweight title at stake.
“It’s official Benavidez vs Plant,” stated Benavidez. “You can’t hide from me anymore. “I’ll see [you] soon.”
The mandatory challenger to the WBC title had a different viewpoint, though in agreement that their fight was done.
“I went and MADE it happen,” said Plant. “Contract signed, see you early next year.”
A date is not yet set for the fight, though BoxingScene.com has learned that there is a strong possibility of it taking place in the first quarter of 2023. TGB Promotions—the lead promoter for all Premier Boxing Champions (PBC)-branded events—has six dates on hold at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas through May 6, though it is believed that the fight could happen by no later than mid-March.
Phoenix’s Benavidez currently holds the interim WBC super middleweight title, while Plant is effectively his mandatory challenger as the sanctioning body’s number-one contender.
Benavidez won in a third-round knockout of David Lemieux on May 21 in Glendale, Arizona. The win was supposed to ensure a mandatory shot at undisputed lineal/WBA/WBC/IBF/WBO champ Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (58-2-2, 39KOs) but the fight has yet to be ordered by the WBC. Alvarez has also stated the likelihood of not fighting until next September after undergoing surgery to tend to a lingering injury.
There were talks of Benavidez (26-0, 23KOs)—a former two-time full WBC super middleweight champ—taking a stay-busy fight against one-time scheduled rival Jose Uzcategui. The two were due to meet last November 13 in Phoenix, but Uzcategui tested positive for Recombinant erythropoietin (EPO) which resulted in his immediately being removed from the event.
BoxingScene.com has learned that talks for such a fight is no longer in play, as first reported by ESPN.com boxing insider Mike Coppinger. The matchup never made sense, as Uzcategui is unranked by the WBC, has yet to enter the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program or any random drug testing protocol to prove that he’s a clean fighter.
A fight with Plant (22-1, 13KOs) makes far more sense.
Plant—originally from Ashland City, Tennessee and who now lives and trains in Las Vegas—cemented his place as the number-one contender with the WBC following a sensational ninth-round knockout of former WBC titlist Anthony Dirrell. The October 15 win remains a leading contender for 2022 Knockout of Year, while also producing Plant’s first win since ending his IBF title reign after nearly three years following an eleventh-round knockout loss to Alvarez in their four-belt unification clash last November 6 in Las Vegas.
The win over Dirrell served as a WBC title eliminator, though it wasn’t immediately made clear whether the winner would become the mandatory challenger for Benavidez’s interim title or Alvarez’s full WBC belt.
Alvarez informed all four sanctioning bodies of an injury aggravated in his win over Gennadiy Golovkin in their September 17 trilogy clash which will keep him out of the ring until at least next May if not longer. With that in mind, the next logical step would be for the WBC to order Benavidez-Plant, with the winner to be assured either a direct shot at Alvarez or an upgrade to full WBC champ should Alvarez refuse the title consolidation clash.
The Benavidez-Plant pairing comes with years-long history. The two camps and the boxers themselves have exchanged plenty of words, with the rivalry also including a brief physical altercation at some point in 2018 prior to Plant’s January 2019 IBF title win over Uzcategui.