By Keith Idec
Caleb Plant’s first defense of the IBF super middleweight title could come against Mike Lee.
BoxingScene.com has learned that negotiations are ongoing for Plant to battle Lee on an undetermined date during the summer. If that deal is finalized, their 12-round, 168-pound championship match would take place either in the Chicago area or in Nashville.
It also would require the unbeaten Lee to move down from his career-long division, light heavyweight, to the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds.
The 26-year-old Plant (18-0, 10 KOs) hopes his first title defense takes place in Nashville, in large part because he hasn’t fought in Tennessee since he turned pro in May 2014. Plant resides in Henderson, Nevada, but he was raised in Ashland City, Tennessee, approximately 20 miles from Nashville.
From television-viewership and ticket-selling perspectives, the 31-year-old Lee (21-0, 11 KOs) is an attractive potential opponent for an optional title defense because the Notre Dame graduate gained mainstream notoriety through a Subway commercial campaign and has established himself as an attraction in the greater Chicago area. Lee’s drawing power there could lead to Plant’s first title defense being held either at Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois, or DePaul University’s Wintrust Arena in Chicago.
Lee is ranked No. 3 by the WBO, No. 9 by the WBA and No. 13 by the IBF at light heavyweight.
He has not weighed less than 173 pounds for any of his 21 professional fights. The 6-feet Lee still is confident, according to multiple sources, that he can comfortably make 168 pounds.
Plant won the IBF super middleweight title by defeating Jose Uzcategui (28-3, 23 KOs) in their 12-round fight last month.
Plant dropped Venezuela’s Uzcategui twice – once apiece in the second and fourth rounds – and won a unanimous decision January 13 at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. The resilient Plant also fought through a considerable cut over his right eye, caused by an accidental head-butt, for eight-plus rounds.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.