Caleb Plant (19-0, 11 KOs) is now into his second year as IBF Super Middleweight champion and the 27-year-old believes he is only now beginning to blossom.
In January 2019 the Tennessean shone against tough Venezuelan Jose Uzcategui, who had been elevated from interim to full IBF champion six months prior following James DeGale’s decision to vacate the title, over the 12 round distance to take the championship home to Nashville where the second defence of his title takes place this weekend.
Plant, nicknamed “Sweet Hands”, takes on 24-year-old German Vincent Feigenbutz (31-2, 28 KOs) to kick off a 2020 that he hopes will lead to bigger fights and unifications in a division that is crying out for a marquee fight to awaken it. For that to happen it does appear that you have to get in the ring with a guy called Canelo, who currently holds the WBA’s World title at 168lbs as opposed to Callum Smith who is currently their Super Champion.
“I think that would be a great fight,” Plant told BoxingScene.com. “[It’s] a fight that many people would watch, me versus Canelo. Those are definitely [the] fights we want to make in the future.”
Of his 20th opponent, Vincent Feigenbutz, Plant said: “He’s got a lot of experience, got a lot of knockouts. He’s young, he’s hungry, he’s looking to spoil my plans but his best won’t be good enough.”
Feigenbutz is coming to America hoping to equal the feat of his iconic countryman Max Schmelling by becoming only the second German to win a world title on Uncle Sam’s turf. But Plant is confident that the German’s attacks will amount to nothing. “He’s coming to steal my plans but there’s nothing in his arsenal to get the job done.”
Through a life of heartbreak and adversity Plant had often visualised and heard the three words ‘And the new’ throughout his boxing career which eventually became a reality when he beat Uzcategui in Los Angeles last year.
“It was the words I’d been searching for my whole life since I started,” said the champion.
“Through all the tough times, through all the trials and tribulations I’ve been through I could close my eyes and just imagine hearing the words, ‘And the new’. For me to finally hear those words and to bring it to fruition, it was amazing.”
And while the hard work of becoming a world champion has been realized, the harder work of defending it and taking himself to greater heights continues in earnest. This camp, he says, has been his best yet. He has the aura of a champion who is getting better but says it with a quiet conviction that many are beginning to believe, with some rating him as the top guy at 168lbs.
Plant says there will be fireworks this weekend at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, that the fight will not go 12 rounds. Some music to the ears of Feigenbutz who is known for heavy hands rather than sweet ones.
“If Caleb Plant goes out there and does what Caleb Plant does then everything will go to plan,” he says when asked about delivering under pressure in front of his home support. “I don’t need to go out there and do anything extra. I don’t need to go out there and be anybody but myself. Being myself is what got me to this point, it’s what’s kept me undefeated. Each camp I’m riding the wave of my last camp and I’m staying sharp. I’m boxing super sharp right now and it’s going to show when the bell rings.”