David Morrell Jr. doesn’t have an obvious opponent for his next bout now that David Benavidez and Caleb Plant have announced that they’ll finally fight at some point early in 2023.
The unbeaten Cuban southpaw will keep a close eye on Benavidez-Plant, though, because Morrell (8-0, 7 KOs) will want to face the winner. The 24-year-old Morrell admitted after he stopped Aidos Yerbossynuly (16-1, 11 KOs) in the 12th round last Saturday night at The Armory that he wants to box Benavidez more than Plant, but the WBA’s secondary super middleweight champion isn’t certain Benavidez will win their fight.
“I don’t know, man,” Morrell told a group of reporters. “I don’t know. It’s a good fight. My prediction is it’s 50-50, you know? Benavidez, he’s a big guy. He’s tough. He’s fast. But Caleb Plant is fast. He’s got good boxing, good movement. But it’s a hard fight, man. For me, it’s 50-50.”
Benavidez has opened as a slight favorite over Plant, according to FanDuel’s sportsbook, in what figures to be a pay-per-view main event.
Plant (22-1, 13 KOs), a former IBF super middleweight champion who has only lost to Canelo Alvarez, is fresh off a spectacular ninth-round knockout of onetime WBC 168-pound champ Anthony Dirrell (34-3-2, 25 KOs) on October 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs), who owns the WBC interim super middleweight title, defeated David Lemieux (43-5, 36 KOs) by third-round technical knockout in his most recent fight. The Phoenix native hasn’t boxed since May 21, the night he stopped Lemieux in their “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Ronnie Shields, Morrell’s trainer, agreed with his fighter’s take on the grudge match between Benavidez and Plant.
“It’s a great fight, man,” Shields told BoxingScene.com. “Look, Plant is gonna be hyped because of what happened in his last fight. Benavidez is gonna get hit and Plant can hurt him. So, like [Morrell] said, it’s a 50-50 fight. I would have to look at it more and see, but I think it’s a 50-50 fight, too.
“I think it’s gonna be a great fight – not just a good fight, because both guys are coming off of wins and Plant’s confidence is sky high. The only thing is if Plant goes in and thinks he’s a knockout puncher – he’s got to be himself. If he’s himself, man, he’ll probably do good.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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