David Benavidez won’t allow losing his title to stop him from pursuing a grudge match with Caleb Plant.
Benavidez gave up his WBC super middleweight title at the scale Friday, but he remains hopeful of facing Plant, the unbeaten IBF 168-pound champion. Phoenix’s Benavidez acknowledged after stopping Alexis Angulo on Saturday night, however, that he is uncertain if facing Plant is possible in the foreseeable future now that Benavidez doesn’t own a title.
“I don’t know, man,” Benavidez said during a post-fight press conference. “To be honest, it’s up to the promoters and whatever makes sense to them. Like I said, I’m ready to fight whenever. If they want me to get a title first and then fight Plant, then that’s what I’m gonna do. If we just go into that fight like that [without a title], that’s what I’m gonna do. … I don’t know. I’ve just gotta sit back and see what’s gonna happen, you know, and be more prepared, and next time, you know, be a little bit more disciplined on my weight.”
Had Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) successfully defended the WBC title against Angulo (26-2, 22 KOs) at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut, he would’ve been obligated to make a mandatory defense against Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) in his next fight. The WBC still could order a Benavidez-Yildirim fight for its vacant title, which would place Benavidez on the same schedule that was arranged before he weighed in at an inexplicable 170¾ pounds Friday.
Plant, meanwhile, might fight the winner of the upcoming Caleb Truax-Alfredo Angulo bout in his next appearance. Truax-Angulo, scheduled for August 29 in Los Angeles, is a 12-round IBF elimination match that could determine Plant’s mandatory challenger.
Truax (31-4-2, 19 KOs, 1 NC), a former IBF champion from St. Michael, Minnesota, is rated third in the IBF’s super middleweight rankings, nine spots above Mexico’s Angulo (26-7, 21 KOs), who is rated 12th. The top two spots in the IBF’s 168-pound rankings are unoccupied.
Plant (20-0, 12 KOs), of Ashland City, Tennessee, figures to be more interested in battling Benavidez if two titles are at stake.
“We’ve gotta go back to the drawing board and see, because it’s gonna be a better fight if it’s a unification fight,” Benavidez said. “So, if I’ve gotta go to the back of the line or do whatever I’ve gotta do to put myself in position to get that title, that’s exactly what I’m gonna do. You know what I mean? You know, honestly, it doesn’t matter to me if I fight him for a title or not.
“The only thing I wanna do is get my hands on him. That’s the only thing I wanna do. If it’s for a title, it’s for a title. It doesn’t matter to me. Definitely, it’s gonna be a bigger fight if it’s for a title, but for me, I just wanna get my hands on him. You know what I mean? I don’t wanna speak on what he thinks or whatever. I’m just ready to move on and go to the next step and see how I proceed with my career from now.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.