NEW YORK – Caleb Plant smirked when he jokingly downplayed how good it felt to knock Anthony Dirrell unconscious Saturday night.
The former IBF super middleweight champion admitted, of course, that his stunning ninth-round knockout of Dirrell was the most gratifying stoppage of his career. Plant also lobbied for his highlight-reel destruction of Dirrell to win annual awards.
“I’d say it’d be the best knockout of my career,” Plant said during his post-fight press conference, “and knockout of the year.”
Plant drilled Dirrell with a picture-perfect left hook that dumped Dirrell flat on his back and immediately ended a 12-round fight Plant was winning handily on all three scorecards. His impressive victory was especially satisfying for Plant because Dirrell repeatedly expressed his intense dislike for Plant prior to their meeting on the Deontay Wilder-Robert Helenius undercard at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“He had a lot to say about me, you know, calling me a lot of names, talking about my race, what I’m able to do,” Plant said. “You know, I ain’t never fought nobody, I ain’t never, you know, hurt nobody. Well, I fought him and I hurt him, so you know, like I said in the ring, skin color don’t win fights. You know, what’s in here [pointed to his head] wins fights and what’s in here [pointed to his heart] wins fights. And that’s what we did.”
Judges Kevin Morgan (79-73), Robin Taylor (79-73) and Steve Weisfeld (80-72) all had Plant ahead by huge margins entering that fateful ninth round.
The 30-year-old Plant (22-1, 13 KOs), of Ashland City, Tennessee, made sure to tell Dirrell while they fought that he considered the former WBC 168-pound champion easy work. Plant didn’t seem to hurt Dirrell with any of his punches, however, before he landed a left to Dirrell’s body toward the end of the ninth round and then came up top with a left hook that short-circuited Dirrell (34-3-2, 25 KOs).
“I was just lettin’ him know it was easy – that’s all,” said Plant, who fought for the first time since Canelo Alvarez stopped him in the 11th round of their full title unification fight 11 months earlier in Las Vegas. “He couldn’t do nothing wit’ me. From round one, I mean, it was a complete shutout. He couldn’t hardly touch me and I was doing what I wanted at will, until he went to sleep.”
Plant responded to everything that the 38-year-old Dirrell said about him before their bout by motioning as if he were shoveling dirt on the fallen Flint, Michigan native in the immediate aftermath of his spectacular knockout.
“I was just burying the beef between us,” a smiling Plant said. “That’s all.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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