By Keith Idec
Caleb Plant didn’t exactly excite the crowd in El Paso, Texas, but he boxed well and picked apart Rogelio Medina on Saturday night.
The tactical Plant peppered Medina with jabs, used his athleticism to consistently move out of Medina’s punching range and won their 12-round super middleweight match by unanimous decision. Each of the three judges credited Plant with a wide win (120-108, 119-109, 117-111).
FOX televised Plant’s win as part of the Devon Alexander-Victor Ortiz undercard from the Don Haskins Center.
The Ashland City, Tennessee native’s victory over Medina improved Plant’s record to 17-0 (10 KOs). Mexico’s Medina (38-9, 32 KOs) has lost three of his past five fights.
Medina, 29, was considered a step up in competition for Plant based on the level of opponents Medina has fought during his 10-year pro career. Current or former super middleweight champions David Benavidez, James DeGale, Badou Jack and Gilberto Ramirez all have defeated Medina.
His experience notwithstanding, Medina seemed sluggish a day after failing to make weight for their IBF 168-pound elimination match. He came forward from the opening bell to the final bell, though, because Plant couldn’t hurt him and Plant was content to stick and move his way to victory.
Plant’s plan was obvious in the first two rounds, when he mostly moved away from Medina and flicked occasional jabs.
By the third round, Plant seemed more relaxed and began throwing more punches against his plodding opponent. A right hand by Plant in that round drew blood from Medina’s nose.
Medina continued following Plant around the ring during the fourth and fifth rounds, and he didn’t have much success. Plant continued to control the action in the sixth round, until Medina landed a left to the body that made Plant hold briefly just before that round ended.
Plant fell to canvas after the bell sounded to end the seventh round, but because their legs got tangled.
A frustrated Medina often challenged Plant to stand and fight. Plant ignored his opponent’s taunts and stuck to his game plan.
Medina managed to land several hard head and body shots during the 11th round that slowed down Plant. The rugged veteran pressured Plant throughout the 12th round as well, but Plant moved, ducked and held his way to the final bell.
Following FOX’s broadcast of the Plant-Medina match, unbeaten lightweight prospect Karlos Balderas went the distance for the first time as a pro.
The 21-year-old Balderas (4-0, 3 KOs) clearly out-boxed Mexico’s Jorge Rojas to win a four-round unanimous decision, but he wasn’t able to put his opponent down. Balderas won all four rounds on each scorecard (40-36, 40-36, 40-36).
Balderas, a 2016 Olympian from Santa Maria, California, rocked Rojas with a right hand to the side of his head barely 20 seconds into their scheduled four-round bout. Despite that early difficulty, Rojas became the first out of Balderas’ four pro opponents to make it out of the first round.
He didn’t land many flush punches in the bout, yet Rojas showed Balderas that he won’t be able to tear through every opponent. Balderas landed a very low left hand that caused a brief break in the action with 38 seconds remaining in the second round.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.