NASHVILLE—There’s a time and place for Caleb Plant to be light and breezy.
Fight week just ain’t it.
Yet, it’s the complaint he’s forced to field ahead of the second defense of his super middleweight title, which comes versus Germany’s Vincent Feigenbutz (31-2, 28KOs) this weekend at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tennessee (Saturday, FOX, 8:00pm ET/7:00pm local time). The visiting mandatory challenger had plenty to say about the lack of hospitality afforded by Plant and his team, whom Feigenbutz referred to as “rude and not good hosts” and whom also dismissed the Ashland City native as anonymous among the Nashville faithful.
And here, Plant thought the idea was to enter a prizefight.
“If all they’re focused on is who’s selling tickets and who ain’t, it sounds to me like they ain’t focused on the task at hand,” Plant (19-0, 11KOs) told BoxingScene.com ahead of what marks his first career fight in his home state. “I can promise you, he has a tall order in front of him so he should just focus on that.
“All the “I’m the guest, you’re my host, you need to be nice”… I don’t know what he’s talking about.”
The 27-year old unbeaten super middleweight is generally mild-mannered among most in his presence, although his divisional peers tend to not care for him at all. Plant has developed a longstanding rivalry with fellow undefeated titlist David Benavidez (22-0, 19KOs), who will be in Fox Sports studio as a guest host for platform coverage of Friday’s pre-fight weigh-in. Arizona’s Benavidez is also flirting with the idea of flying into Music City to catch a ringside view, and potentially confront Plant in the ring afterward.
All of that means absolutely nothing to the local favorite. The only thing on his mind is extending the title reign he began with a 12-round win over Jose Uzcategui last January. Anything else is a very distant second, and with any hospitality gripes coming from his opponent can be directed to the Nashville Visitor Center as far as he’s concerned.
“To be honest, I really don’t need to hear anything he’s got to say,” Plant insists. “You talking about tickets, I’m hearing that he’s gotta get focused on the task at hand. He’s got a world champion in front of him, someone who’s willing to do whatever it takes to get his hand raised.
“So if you ask me, he needs to be focused on that. I’m not here to be nice to him. I’m here to knock him out and keep my world title.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox