Caleb Plant feels he was completely justified in thwacking Jermall Charlo in public.

The former 168-pound titlist from Ashland City, Tennessee, blew up in the tabloids last month when a video showing him smacking Charlo, the WBC middleweight titlist, went viral. The confrontation occurred backstage at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas after Errol Spence Jr. and Terence Crawford officially weighed-in for their undisputed welterweight title.

In the video, Plant lands a left slap on Charlo and is promptly hauled away by a security detail before the conflict can escalate.  

Plant (22-2, 13 KOs) offered his first extensive public comments on what happened that day in an Instagram Live post on Monday, saying that Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) had instigated the situation by berating him and “pulling” on his beard a couple of times. Plant said he issued a stern warning, but that Charlo continued to touch his face. At that point, with his wife and friends by his colleagues, Plant said he had no choice but to resort to violence.

“My wife did not get smacked,” Plant clarified. “Nobody touched my wife. I mean, it was just me and ol’ buddy. I mean, a man has got a right to, you know, defend himself. You know, grown man touch another grown man in his face, pulling on his beard real hard, and you know, I’ve got the decency to tell you not to do that again and I don’t smash on you right there. I got enough decency to tell you not to do that again. And you know the only thing you can reply is with, [that] ‘I’m a b!tch-ass white boy. And look, you at you getting all shook like a bitch ass white boy would. … acting like a bitch.’ And then, you know, you immediately grab my face again even harder, after I asked you not to do that no more.

“I got my wife standing right behind me and I’m in a room full of my peers. I mean, what do you do? You’re making it real hard on a guy. You’re really putting his back to the wall, when you start doing all that sh!t, you know, in front of my wife and everybody in the room. I asked you to quite f------ with me. So, yeah, there’s a lot of Texas boys in the room, but sh!t, it’s like … I have to go home and look myself in the mirror.

“I done told you to quit f----- with me.”

Plant rejected the notion that his situation was related to a supposedly different conflict between Jermall and his twin brother Jermell, the undisputed 154-pound champion who is gearing up to face undisputed 168-pound champion Canelo Alvarez in September.

“It wasn’t them two fighting and me getting in between or nothing like that,” Plant said. “That ain’t none of my business. I don’t care. Two grown men want to fight, that’s one them. It didn’t have nothing to do with any of that.

“He didn’t mention my daughter or anything like that. It didn’t have nothing to do with any of that. He kept touching me in my face. And I told him knock that sh!t off, but he wouldn’t listen. I’m tryna to be left the f--- alone, I know that.”

Plant and Charlo are both advised by Al Haymon of Premier Boxing Champions, so it is not out of the question that the two could meet in the ring some day. 

Plant is coming off a points loss to David Benavidez in March. Charlo has not fought since June 2021, citing issues from his personal life.

Sean Nam is the author of Murder on Federal Street: Tyrone Everett, the Black Mafia, and the Last Golden Age of Philadelphia Boxing