David Benavidez’s promoter prodded WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman until he got the definitive answer he sought Wednesday at the sanctioning organization’s convention in Acapulco, Mexico.
Sulaiman ultimately confirmed to Sampson Lewkowicz, whose company promotes Benavidez, that the winner of the upcoming battle between Benavidez and Caleb Plant will be named the mandatory challenger for Canelo Alvarez’s WBC super middleweight title. During his public discussion with Sulaiman, Lewkowicz indicated that Benavidez-Plant likely will be scheduled for some point in March.
Sulaiman also said that the WBC would need to consult with Alvarez’s team to determine how long of a break Alvarez will take after having surgery on his left wrist late last month.
Mexico’s Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs) could return to the ring as early as May, but boxing’s fully unified super middleweight champion might not fight until September. Regardless, the 32-year-old Alvarez’s next opponent hasn’t been chosen.
The four-division champion has one fight remaining on his three-fight deal with DAZN and Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing. Alvarez would have to realign with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions before a fight with Benavidez or a rematch with Plant could become realistic options.
Alvarez stopped Plant in the 11th round of a PBC main event that Showtime distributed on pay-per-view last November 6 from MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. The Guadalajara native rejoined DAZN and Matchroom as part of a multi-fight agreement after he defeated Plant to become boxing’s first undisputed 168-pound champion of the four-belt era.
Phoenix’s Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) owns the WBC’s interim 168-pound championship. The 25-year-old Benavidez will defend that title against Plant (22-1, 13 KOs), who lost his IBF super middleweight crown to Alvarez a year ago.
The 30-year-old Plant, a native of Ashland City, Tennessee, is ranked number one among the WBC’s contenders in the 168-pound division.
Plant most recently knocked out former WBC super middleweight champ Anthony Dirrell in the ninth round of their scheduled 12-round contest October 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn. A picture-perfect left hook by Plant drilled Dirrell (34-3-2, 25 KOs) and stunningly knocked the Flint, Michigan native unconscious in a fight Plant was winning comfortably on all three scorecards on the Deontay Wilder-Robert Helenius undercard.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.