When they square off on pay-per-view March 25 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for a 168-pound title eliminator, David Benavidez and Caleb Plant are both confident they'll kick each other's butt. They merely express it in other ways.
Benavidez occasionally uses a reckless style of speech when speaking. When he discusses what he intends to do to his opponent, the former two-time beltholder doesn't hold back.
“On March 25, I guarantee that I’m knocking Caleb Plant out before round six,” Benavidez said to Plant at a predictably spirited kickoff news conference Thursday in Los Angeles. “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.”
Plant was more reserved but essentially expressed the same thing. I’m coming,” he said. “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 a legacy fight for me and my team. On March 25, I see myself getting my hand raised.”
Over the previous few years, Benavidez and Plant haven't been respectful to one another, possibly helping to advertise a fascinating battle they believed would inevitably happen. Or perhaps they genuinely dislike one another.
In any case, this conflict has been simmering for a long time. Even if they are both confident, if they didn't respect one another as competitors, the fight wouldn't take place.
Following his stoppage loss to undisputed champion Canelo Alvarez in the eleventh round, which cost him the belt in November 2021, Plant is coming off the most stunning victory of his career, a one-punch knockout of Anthony Dirrell in the ninth round in October.
Plant's most recent performance was acknowledged by Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs), who also suggested that it adds sparkle to the approaching match-up.
“He had a sensational win against Anthony Dirrell and I take nothing away from that,” he said. “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.”