David Benavidez realizes that Vincent Feigenbutz is the leading available challenger for Caleb Plant’s IBF super middleweight title.
The unbeaten WBC super middleweight champion can’t help but feel, though, that Plant has been afforded what equates to a second straight tune-up fight. Plant (19-0, 11 KOs) stopped huge underdog Mike Lee (21-1, 11 KOs) in the third round of his last bout and is listed as at least a 25-1 favorite over Feigenbutz entering their 12-round fight Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, near Plant’s hometown of Ashland City, Tennessee.
Benavidez, who wants to face Plant in a 168-pound title unification fight, will be a guest analyst as part of FOX’s pre-fight coverage of the show headlined by Plant-Feigenbutz.
“I don’t know how Feigenbutz became the mandatory,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com. “He hasn’t beat nobody, not any of the top guys in the IBF rankings. There’s a lot of guys in there that I feel should’ve went before him. That fight really should’ve gone to Caleb Truax. But I feel like it’s another tune-up fight for Caleb Plant, as if Mike Lee wasn’t a tune-up fight already. I don’t know how many more tune-up fights they’re gonna give him, but it looks like a fairly easy fight.”
Germany’s Feigenbutz (31-2, 28 KOs) has won 10 straight fights and is ranked third by the IBF, one spot ahead of Truax, a former IBF 168-pound champion. The top two spots in the IBF’s super middleweight rankings are unoccupied, which left Feigenbutz first in line for a shot at the championship Plant won from Jose Uzcategui 13 months ago in Los Angeles.
The 24-year-old contender has faced a low level of opposition, however, since unheralded Italian veteran Giovanni De Carolis stopped Feigenbutz in the 11th round of their immediate rematch in January 2016 in Offenburg, Germany. Feigenbutz beat De Carolis by unanimous decision in their previous bout, but the result of that 12-rounder caused controversy.
“I don’t really think Feigenbutz is a strong fighter,” Benavidez said. “Obviously, he has 28 knockouts. But in reality, if you look at the people he’s knocked out, there’s no big names that stand out. I went on his BoxRec and he’s fighting guys that are 2-15. They have nothing but losing records. So, I don’t really think he’s a good fighter at all.
“Hopefully, he trained his best and he looks good. But I think Caleb Plant should take care of that opponent fairly easily. You know what I mean? I don’t know if it’s gonna be a knockout or a decision, but I feel like he’ll get the victory fairly easy. You know, it’s not really a strong opponent.”
Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs), a Seattle resident raised in Phoenix, expects to make an optional defense of his WBC title against an undetermined opponent either in April or May. The 23-year-old Benavidez was supposed to meet mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim next, but the Turkish contender suffered a shoulder injury recently and their fight was pushed back until later this year.
Benavidez most recently defeated Anthony Dirrell by ninth-round knockout September 28 in Los Angeles to regain the WBC title that was stripped from him after tested positive for cocaine in August 2018.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.