David Benavidez fully expects to challenge for the undisputed super middleweight championship by this time next year.
What the former two-time WBC titlist doesn’t expect is for his longtime divisional rival to be the one holding all of the chips when that moment arrives.
“Caleb Plant is a p-ssy. He’s a f-----’ p-ssy,” Benavidez told reporters while on hand for the May 15 Showtime tripleheader at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. “I don’t care what he saw, what he thinks he saw. Caleb Plant is going to get knocked out by Canelo.
“If you don’t get knocked out by Canelo, you're going to get knocked out by David Benavidez.”
Las Vegas’ Plant (21-0, 12KOs)—who originally hails from Ashland City, Tennessee—is the frontrunner to next land a superfight with pound-for-pound king Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. Such a clash would be for all four super middleweight titles, with Plant having held the IBF strap since Jan. 2019 and Guadalajara’s Alvarez (56-1-2, 38KOs) now owning the WBC/WBA/WBO straps.
The WBO belt was acquired by Alvarez following a stoppage win over previously unbeaten Billy Joe Saunders (31-1, 14KOs) after eight rounds in their May 8 WBC/WBA/WBO title unification clash at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The Mexican superstar insisted that his next target Is Plant, who is coming off of a 12-round shutout of former titlist Caleb Truax in January. The win was the 3rd title defense for Plant since his unanimous decision win over Jose Uzcategui more than two years ago.
Phoenix’s Benavidez (24-0, 21KOs) is the current WBC mandatory title challenger, earning that status with an 11th round stoppage of Ronald Ellis this past March. The win was his second straight since being stripped of the WBC belt for a second time, the latest folly coming after he missed weight ahead of a 10th round stoppage of Alexis Angulo last August 15 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Benavidez will bide his time while waiting out a shot at becoming a three-time champion. Next up for the 24-year-old is an August 28 Showtime headliner versus Uzcategui, which comes just three weeks prior to the September 18 date eyed by Alvarez for his next ring appearance, whether versus Plant or another top fighter in or around the super middleweight division.
Industry-wide speculation has Benavidez challenging for at least one of the major titles—if not all—by next spring. All he is concerned about is being ready for anything.
“Honestly, whoever they put in front of me, my job is to not ask questions,” notes Benavidez, dismissing early talk of a future showdown with Alvarez. “Just fight whoever I fight, whoever they put in front of me.
“If I get Canelo next year, I’m going to be extremely ready.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox