NASHVILLE—For all of the local fans expected to turn out for his first career homecoming fight, there’s one person in particular upon which Caleb Plant can rely to watch his every move.
The unbeaten super middleweight titlist from Ashland City, Tennessee brings it home for his second title defense, as he faces Germany’s Vincent Feigenbutz (31-2, 28KOs) this weekend at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The bout will air live in primetime on Fox (Saturday, 8:00pm ET/7:00pm local), with pre-fight coverage to include participation from David Benavidez, Plant’s heated divisional rival and fellow unbeaten titlist.
“Of course, he's gonna be watching,” Plant (19-0, 11KOs) quipped to BoxingScene.com. “David Benavidez is my biggest fan. Every time I'm in the ring, he's right there watching, they all there tuning in to my fights, front and center. All my biggest fans.”
Benavidez (22-0, 19KOs)—a 23-year old two-time titlist from Phoenix, Arizona—has more of a vested interest than do the division’s other two unbeaten titlists, Callum Smith and Billy Joe Saunders, both from England and both of whom are signed with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing. Benavidez and Plant are both advised by Al Haymon and fight under the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) banner, with their rivalry having developed the moment both advanced from prospect to contender and eventually to the title stage.
Based on recent comments, it’s clear the disdain for each other runs deeper on one side.
“I just don't like him. I feel like, the way he acts, he thinks he's the second coming of Floyd Mayweather,” Benavidez explained during the most recent edition of The PBC Podcast. “It's like he thinks he's the greatest fighter to ever touch the super middleweight division. He says a lot about me, you know, just keep my nose clean, this and that [Benavidez was suspended for six months after testing positive for cocaine in September 2018]. He just talks a lot of shit, you know.
“At the end of the day, I'm 23 years old and have two WBC titles. Where was he at when he was 23 years old? I have a way bigger fan base than he has. The opponents I've faced are way better than the opponents he's faced. Every time we see each other, we really don't like each other. I really don't like him and I just want to hurt him. I don't play any games and I'm here to stay.”
Benavidez—who regained his old title in his last fight, a 9th round stoppage of Anthony Dirrell last September—is due to serve in the Fox Studio in Los Angeles with Fox Sports host Kate Abdo for pre-fight coverage, including Friday’s weigh-in where they will throw back to the team on location. For now, Benavidez will likely remain in L.A., although he teased the possibility of coming to Nashville this weekend to get an up close and personal view of whom he hopes to be a future opponent.
As personal as it is for Benavidez, it’s just another fight for Plant—and one that’s not even on his radar as long as it remains in the speculative stage.
“We just agreed to disagree on who is the best super middleweight in the world and it all just went downhill from there,” Plant suggests in offering his side of the shared disdain. “One of us obviously right, and the other guy is Benavidez.
“But I guess he needs more proof that I'm the best, so here is once again front and center checking me out, watching all my moves and my style. It's all good, the more the merrier. I get it, everyone wants to witness greatness in action, first hand.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox