NASHVILLE—Vincent Feigenbutz and his team had already checked out of the hotel to which they were booked by the time a special package arrived for the visiting super middleweight contender.
Eventually making its way to the 24-year old from Karlsruhe, Germany was a case of oxygenated bottled water valued at roughly $200. It is all that Feigenbutz will drink heading into his mandatory challenge of unbeaten super middleweight titlist Caleb Plant (19-0, 11KOs), which takes place this Saturday at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee.
“We only drink our stuff,” Feigenbutz (31-2, 28KOs) insisted to BoxingScene.com. “It’s not a magic potion or anything. It’s refreshing and we know it’s clean. For the same reasons, we only eat our food. We love all our fans here, but we don’t trust anyone when it comes to the (food and drinks) that goes into my body.
“His team has shown they are unprofessional. This is supposed to be his hometown show, even though nobody knows who he is. But the people running this know who he is, and we don’t trust anybody.”
The claims are quite outrageous from the visiting former interim super middleweight titlist, who hopes to upset the massive odds in his second shot at a full title. A 10-fight win streak accompanies Feigenbutz’s stateside debut which airs live in primetime on Fox (Saturday, 8:00pm ET/7:00pm local time). The night also represents the first true homecoming fight for Plant, who was born and raised in Ashland City, roughly 30 miles northwest of the downtown Nashville site where he attempts the second defense of his 168-pound strap.
Those who’ve encountered Feigenbutz and his team have found the longshot contender to be engaging, while Plant–who now lives and trains in the greater Las Vegas area—has soaked in every minute of his return home.
Getting the two sides together, however, hasn’t exactly come with gracious southern hospitality.
“If you come to me with his team, we host you, we drive you around,” notes Rainer Gottwald, Feigenbutz’s outspoken manager. “When his team came, our buses are next to each other. We say hello, they give us the finger. We are cordial, we are educated. They are rude and not good hosts.
“If we can’t trust them to be professional, how can we trust them with what we eat and drink?”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox