David Benavidez couldn’t wait to announce that a deal was reached for a long-awaited grudge match with Caleb Plant.
Members of his team—and perhaps Benavidez himself—remain skeptical of the fight moving forward, to the point of not saying “no” to any stipulation brought to their attention by the other side.
“He had a lot of demands,” Jose Benavidez Sr, David’s father and head trainer, told BoxingScene.com. “We gave into everything. He wants this big (22’ x 22’) ring. He wants Rival gloves, and to be in the blue corner. He wants to be announced second. Everything he asked for, we just kept giving it to him.
“I feel like he’s waiting for us to say no so that he could have his way out of the fight. We said yes to everything. I just hope shows up and fights David.”
As previously reported by BoxingScene.com, among the requests from Team Plant was the call for the fight to take place in a 22’ ring. The size is two feet bigger than the standard ring size for a fight in Nevada, in front of whose commission TGB Promotions’ Tom Brown had to place the request to be approved. TGB—the main promoter for Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) currently has a hold for six dates at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, including March 18 which was the specified date at the time of the filed request.
Team Benavidez was indifferent to the demand, though all but signing a blank check—while also offering an alternative plan.
“When they asked us about the ring, I just told them to put the fight in Texas so he can run all around AT&T Stadium,” Benavidez Sr. quipped.
The rivalry dates back at least five years, complete with a brief fight between camps during a Las Vegas gym session that was caught on camera by FightHype.com. However, there never seemed to come the right time or opportunity to settle their differences in the ring.
The two enjoyed overlapping title reigns for less than eleven months. Phoenix’s Benavidez (26-0, 23KOs)—who is now based in the greater Seattle area—regained the WBC title in a ninth-round stoppage of Anthony Dirrell in September 2019, eight months after Plant (22-1, 13KOs) won the IBF belt following a twelve-round decision win over Jose Uzcategui.
Benavidez previously held the WBC title but was stripped in September 2018 and suspended for violation of the WBC’s Clean Boxing Program after testing positive for cocaine. His second reign lasted just eleven months and without a single title defense, in part due to the pandemic but also after missing weight ahead of an August 2020 stoppage win over Roamer Alexis Angulo in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The WBC belt landed in the hands of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (58-2-2, 39KOs) who would fully unify the division. The last piece came last November 6 in an eleventh-round knockout of Plant, who since rebounded with a sensational ninth-round knockout of Dirrell on October 15 in Brooklyn, New York. The win came in a WBC final eliminator, though for the interim title Benavidez claimed in a third-round knockout of David Lemieux on May 21 in Glendale, Arizona.
Following the win over Lemieux, Benavidez limited his hit list for his next fight to three names: secondary WBA super middleweight titlist David Morrell (8-0. 7KOs); two-division and WBC middleweight beltholder Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22KOs), who hasn’t fought since last June; and Plant.
The fight with Plant was confirmed by both fighters on November 3, though the dynamic has since changed. In addition to the ring, Benavidez claims that among Plant’s other demands is to be announced second, despite Benavidez’s interim WBC title being at stake.
“Every time they asked for something, we felt like we just had to say yes so that he wouldn’t pull out,” insisted Benavidez. “I feel like he waiting for us to say no so that he could have his way out of the fight.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox
ADD COMMENT VIEW COMMENTS (9)