I've commented that I don't think that Saturday's super middleweight battle between David Benavidez and Caleb Plant is big enough to anchor an eighty-dollar pay per view and I stand by that claim but that doesn't mean that I'm not excited about a matchup between the second and third best fighters in the division.
The tired phrase in boxing hype is "these guys don't like each other" but in this fight, they really don't.
Benavidez and Plant have sniped at each other for years and the fight always made sense with both fighters affiliated with PBC but both seemed content to knock off lesser opponents during their title reigns and settle for verbal warfare but with both having a lack of possible foes available to force unified champion Canelo Alvarez to fight them unless they forced their way into a mandatory position, the fight was able to be signed.
Neither have a standout win, Plant's opponent when he won his IBF title was Jose Uzcategui, who showed that his loss to Plant was the start of a fast decline, and his only other major win was his most recent victory, a devastating ninth round KO of faded former WBC champ Anthony Dirrell.
Benavidez knocked Dirrell out in the ninth three years earlier and that's his best win as he's ground down second-level contenders such as Ronald Ellis and J'Leon Love and former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux, who was way past his salad days.
Plant will have to repeat the game plan that upset Uzcategui, use the ring, don't allow Benavidez to set his feet, and build a lead on the cards that he hopes he can hang on for the win.
Remember Uzcategui won the final five rounds against Plant, so Plant's margin of error is slim.
Benavidez should be fine as long as he doesn't fall into Plant's trap of following him around the ring without throwing punches.
The undercard looks to be a trio of competitive and interesting matches, which no matter the promotion isn't something that occurs often.
Cody Crowley faces Abel Ramos in a WBC welterweight eliminator that has the strong favorite.
Crowley upset Kudratillo Abdukakhorov late in 2021 which cost the favored fighter a mandatory title shot against Errol Spence and followed up last April with a decision over veteran battler Josesito Lopez.
Ramos is a cut below a true contender and lost a decision to 12-2 Luke Santamaria in his last fight, yet due to his PBC connections continues to be placed into eliminators and fights vs top fighters despite his record.
Ramos always brings a good effort but Crowley is the better fighter in this one.
Two undefeated prospects square off in a junior middleweight battle that may be lopsided in the ring as Jesus Ramos (related to Abel, maybe this is why Abel keeps receiving good slots?) will face Joey Spencer.
Ramos has shown the possibility of being a top fighter with wins over Brian Mendoza, who main-events a Showtime card against Sebastian Fundora in the near future, and a win over Luke Santamaria to avenge Abel's defeat.
Spencer has been featured (protected) often in prime viewing slots on PBC's shows on Fox against soft competition that he hasn't beaten in an overwhelming manner.
I think this is all Ramos as the more talented fighter is also the more tested fighter and adds up to a Ramos win.
The remaining fight matches two boxers that a year ago at this time were mentioned as potential champions but are now coming in off shocking defeats that weren't even close as Chris Colbert and Jose Valenzuela square off in a lightweight bout.
Colbert held a minor title and was in line for a mandatory title shot against WBA champion Roger Gutierrez before being dominated by Hector Luis Garcia as a heavy favorite (Garcia received the shot and dethroned Gutierrez) in February 2022.
Colbert showed lots of heart in surviving a knockdown and making it to the final bell but he took quite a pounding and the type of pounding that changes careers for the negative.
Valenzuela looked dominating in knocking out former WBC junior lightweight champion Francisco Vargas in one round but was stopped in three by Edwin De Los Santos in a tremendous war that saw both men dropped in the second before De Los Santos finished the fight in the third.
Which fighter enters the fight in a worse condition? The fighter that lasted the distance but took punishment or the fighter that was stopped but in fewer rounds?
The other three challenge fights are the main events from three different platforms.
From Manchester, England in the afternoon in the USA, ProBox has picked up the feed of Lawrence Okolie's WBO cruiserweight title defense against David Light of New Zealand.
Okolie will be making his third title defense against the unbeaten but untested Light and is a heavy favorite to keep his titles.
ProBox can be found on YouTube.
In the evening, former WBC and WBO junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez returns from a year's absence against former IBF champion Richard Commey in Ramirez's home base of Fresno, California.
Ramirez decisioned Jose Pedraza in March 2022 while Commey drew with that same Pedraza last August.
Commey had some issues making weight and Ramirez is the naturally larger fighter so everything appears to be favoring Ramirez.
On DAZN from Mexico, junior welterweight contender Jose Zepeda will fight for the first time since he was stopped by Regis Prograis for the then-vacant WBC title.
Zepeda took a lot of punches in the defeat and it's a smart decision to give him what seems to be an easy fight to see where he stands after the Prograis loss.
Neeraj Goyat is the opponent and Goyat won an Olympic bronze medal at the Rio Olympics but hasn't found the same success as a professional, losing three fights against competition that is very questionable.
Super Middleweights. 12 Rds
David Benavidez vs Caleb Plant
Ramon Malpica and Vince Samano: Plant Unanimous Decision
TRS: Benavidez KO 10
Welterweights 12 Rds
Cody Crowley vs Abel Ramos
R.L & TRS: Crowley Unanimous Decision
V.S: Ramos Unanimous Decision
Junior Middleweights. 10 Rds
Jesus Ramos vs Joey Spencer
R.L & TRS: Ramos Unanimous Decision
V.S: Spencer Unanimous Decision
Chris Colbert vs Jose Valenzuela
R.L & TRS: Colbert Unanimous Decision
V.S: Valenzuela Unanimous Decision
WBO Cruiserweight Title. 12 Rds
Lawrence Okolie vs David Light
R.L: Okolie KO 9
TRS: Okolie KO 6
V.S: Light KO 8
Junior Welterweights. 12 Rds
Jose Ramirez vs Richard Commey
R.L & V.S: Ramirez KO 8
TRS: Ramirez KO 11
Junior Welterweights. 10 Rds
Jose Zepeda vs Neeraj Goyat
R.L: Zepeda Unanimous Decision
TRS: Zepeda KO 6
V.S: Goyat Unanimous Decision