LAS VEGAS – David Benavidez noticed Caleb Plant performed the same gravedigging motion during their open workout Wednesday that Plant made right after he knocked Anthony Dirrell unconscious five months ago.
Plant’s shoveling gesture in the ring October 15 signified that he ended Dirrell’s career by knocking the former WBC super middleweight champion cold in the ninth round of their WBC elimination match at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Benavidez promised Plant during their final press conference Thursday at MGM Grand’s KA Theatre that he won’t do any such celebration Saturday night.
“I’ve been working extremely hard for this camp,” Benavidez said. “You know, I’m super ready. I’m very excited. And, like I said, all the talk is done. What’s funny, though, that I seen Caleb Plant been doing that gravedigging gesture. Little does he know, he’s digging his own grave, because we’re gonna see Saturday night what that chin look like. Yeah, we’re gonna see. We’re gonna see. We’ll see. We’ll see.”
The 26-year-old Benavidez is 12 years younger than Dirrell, whom Benavidez previously knocked out in the ninth round of their September 2019 fight for the WBC super middleweight title at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Phoenix’s Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) is also a more dangerous puncher than Dirrell (34-3-2, 25 KOs), who Plant viciously knocked out with a perfectly placed left hook.
The 30-year-old Plant pointed out Thursday that Benavidez has faced a lower level of opposition than him and is untested in an event of this magnitude. Plant (22-1, 13 KOs), a former IBF super middleweight champion from Ashland City, Tennessee, also warned Benavidez that he isn’t a “blown-up 54-pounder” or an opponent that took their fight on short notice.
Onetime pound-for-pound king Canelo Alvarez is the only opponent who has beaten Plant. Mexico’s Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs) dropped Plant twice in the 11th round and stopped him in their super middleweight title unification fight in November 2021 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Benavidez, who has acknowledged that Plant is the best opponent of his 10-year pro career, is listed by most sportsbooks as at least a 3-1 favorite as their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event nears. They’ll fight for Benavidez’s WBC interim 168-pound championship in the 12-round main event of a four-fight telecast scheduled to start at 9 p.m. ET at MGM Grand Garden Arena ($74.99).
“I’m definitely the harder puncher, now that I’m more dedicated for this fight,” Benavidez said. “You know, Caleb Plant said he’s found his new power. I been had this power. Now I just tweaked it. Now I’m even more stronger, more faster, so this is definitely gonna be a fight of a boxer and a pressure fighter. I’m very excited, but like I said, this is gonna be a war and Team Benavidez will come out on top.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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