No matter what Anthony Dirrell did or said before they entered the ring, Caleb Plant contends that he never took their fight personally.

The former IBF super middleweight champion, who viciously knocked out Dirrell five months ago, has taken the same pragmatic approach to his next bout, a supposed grudge match versus David Benavidez. His opponent, on the other hand, has no qualms admitting that this is indeed a personal pursuit for him.

Benavidez’s intense dislike for Plant has driven him throughout training camp for their Showtime Pay-Per-View match March 25 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. He assured anyone concerned, though, that he won’t allow emotion to overcome him once their bout begins, no matter how much he wants to knock Plant out.

“Emotion, especially anger, is a great motivator to train,” Benavidez said Tuesday during an open workout at his family’s gym in Renton, Washington, just outside of Seattle. “The people who are telling me not to be emotional haven’t laced up the gloves before. I couldn’t be more ready. I leave all my emotions outside of the ring when it’s time to go to work.”

The 26-year-old Benavidez will be strictly business because he sees this fight as a transformative moment in his career. Their 12-round fight for Benavidez’s WBC interim super middleweight title will mark Benavidez’s first pay-per-view main event and a victory theoretically would move him closer to his coveted shot at undisputed 168-pound champion Canelo Alvarez.

“This is pay-per-view and we’re giving the people what they want to see,” Benavidez said. “I’m ready to give the people whatever they want. This is the most confident I’ve ever been because this is the hardest I’ve ever worked. That’s why I’ve been calling for these big fights, because I’ve known since I was a little kid sparring world champions that when I’m put in an uncomfortable situation, the best comes out of me.”

Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) will end a 10-month layoff when he opposes Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) in the 12-round main event of this four-fight show (9 p.m. ET; $74.99). The Phoenix native hasn’t boxed since he stopped Montreal’s David Lemieux (43-5, 36 KOs), a former IBF middleweight champ, in the third round of their super middleweight battle last May 21 at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.

Handicappers have still established Benavidez as an approximate 3-1 favorite to beat Plant. The 30-year-old Plant, a native of Ashland City, Tennessee, knocked Dirrell (34-3-2, 25 KOs), a former WBC super middleweight champ, unconscious in the ninth round of his most recent fight, which occurred October 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.