Sunday, March 26, 2023

Boxing Challenge: Benavidez batters Plant

   In the lead-up to the super middleweight grudge match between David Benavidez and Caleb Plant, the almost universal thought was that Caleb Plant's only chance to win, he would have to bank the first six rounds and hope to get another round somewhere against the late Benavidez rush to win a close decision.

Plant did well in the early rounds but after the sixth round, he held only a 4-2 lead on my scorecard and I was seeing some cards on Twitter that even had the fight even at 3-3.

Then and there, it was pretty clear that what most people thought entering the fight was going to be accurate- David Benavidez was going to start to break Caleb Plant down, beat him up, and the only question would be if Plant would hear the bell.

Plant lasted the twelve-round distance but took a ferocious beating in the final rounds in doing so as Benavidez kept his minor title by unanimous decision by scores of 115-113, 116-112, and 117-11 in Las Vegas.

I scored Benavidea a 116-112 winner, sweeping the final six rounds of the bout.

Plant showed heart and toughness to achieve that goal but some of that credit could go to referee Kenny Bayless as well, who allowed Plant to grab and hold Benavidez relentlessly and in the eighth round, Plant had been wobbling from Benavidez's right hand, and in danger of being stopped, it was Bayless who stepped in to stop the action to check Plant's forehead.

Plant was ripped open from a clash of heads and provided some impressive bleeding over the final quarter of the fight but a point could be made that without the Bayless interruption that Benavidez may have ended the evening then and there.

Plant gamely battled to the end and deserves credit for that but Benavidez dominated the final three rounds, hurting Plant badly in rounds ten and twelve.

Benavidez naturally called for unified division champion Canelo Alvarez next in the fall and the fight would be a highly anticipated match but Alvarez will have a choice between a rematch of his loss last year to WBA light heavyweight champion  Dmitry Bivol or Benavidez, should he defeat WBO mandatory challenger John Ryder in May as he is heavily favored to do.

If Benavidez isn't the selection, his choice will be whether to take a stay-busy fight against a lower-level contender or risk his shot at Canelo against one of several challenging opponents, all of which are promoted by his promoter, PBC.

Should Benavidez take the more difficult path, he could choose between three undefeated opponents in David Morrell, who like Benavidez holds a minor title in the division, WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo, who would move up in weight for that fight, or former WBO junior middleweight and middleweight titleholder Demetrius Andrade, who recently made his first appearance with PBC.

Benavidez would be a solid favorite against any of the three but all three talented boxers would have a considerable chance of pulling the upset.

As for Plant, whom I've been critical of in the past, the loss was his second in three fights, albeit to the best two fighters in the division, and the fight played out similarly to Plant's three biggest fights (his IBF title win over Jose Uzcategui and his two defeats), Plant wins most or all the early rounds and then like a speedy racehorse going a longer distance for the first time, tries desperately to hold onto the lead.

Against solid fighters such as Uzcategui, that tactic is enough to win but against the elite of the division it hasn't been and I'm not sure it would work against the three fighters listed above.

Plant could take a showcase bout in his next fight or maybe one of the three opponents mentioned, any of which I would favor over Plant.

Plant has proven his toughness and ability in his recent defeats but he may simply be a solid contender that isn't up to the task against the best in the world and there's no shame in that.

In the other undercard fights, which I haven't seen yet as I was watching some of the competing cards.

Cody Crowley defeated Abel Ramos in a WBC welterweight eliminator that has been reported to be an excellent fight by majority decision.

Scores for Crowley of 116-112 and 115-113 and even at 114-114.

Jesus Ramos dropped heavily hyped and heavily protected Joey Spencer in the first round and pounded him for the remainder of the junior middleweight ten-rounder before finishing Spencer in a corner with his corner surrendering for him in the seventh round.

Ramos is a possible future star and Spencer is the latest of a boxing idiom- protected fighters are protected for a reason and that reason usually comes on the first occasion that someone fires back.

Chris Colbert won a very controversial unanimous decision over Jose Valenzuela in a lightweight match between two fighters entering the fight after suffering their first loss.

Valenzuela knocked down Colbert in the first round and most seem to believe had the edge but Colbert grabbed the scorecards of all three judges by the same score of 95-94.

I'll be back next time with posting on the other three challenge fights- the main events from ESPN, DAZN, and ProBox.

Boxing Challenge- Only includes the PPV selections

TRS: 37 pts (4)
Ramon Malpica: 31 Pts (3)
Vince Samano: 26 Pts (0) 

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