Underdog Caleb Plant (22-2, 13 KOs) put in a good effort early on but then faded badly under the heavy pressure from ‘The Mexican Monster’ David Benavidez (27-0, 22 KOs) and wound up losing by a 12 round unanimous decision in their highly anticipated grudge match at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
Plant was totally outclassing WBC interim super middleweight champion Benavidez in the first quarter of the fight, making him look almost primitive in the skills department.
There could have been a stoppage, but the referee was getting in the way of Benavidez when he was trying to finish off a hurt Plant.
Benavidez started wearing Plant down with his body punching beginning in the fifth round, and that seemed to slow down the Tennesee native, making him easier to hit.
Once Plant stopped moving as much, Benavidez used his speedy combination punching to batter him with rapid-fire headshots, and powerful punches to the body.
It was clear that Plant did not like getting hit to the body, as those shots seemed to rapidly drain the energy out of him. Within a couple of rounds, Plant went rapidly downhill, losing energy and becoming a stationary target for Benavidez to connect with his powerful shots.
Plant’s skills were definitely giving the drained-looking Benavidez problems in this fight.
The jabs, the upper body movement, and the way that he was making Benavidez frustrated showed that he was on another level than him in the skills department. If Plant’s conditioning was better, he would have won this fight by wide decision.
The scores were as follows: 115-113, 116-112, and 117-111.
All in all, it was a good performance by Benavidez, but not to the level we’d seen from him in the past. He’s looked much better in the past. It wasn’t so much what Plant was doing that made Benavidez look beatable.
It was more of a case of Benavidez looking weaker than usual and overtrained, as if he spent a lot of time cutting weight to the detriment of his game.
After the way Benavidez looked tonight, Canelo Alvarez might want to fight him because he appeared vulnerable against a very beatable Plant. You can argue that Canelo was more dominating in his 11th round knockout victory over Plant than Benavidez was in beating him by a 12 round decision.
Plant looked flustered and scared from the ninth round on against Canelo, whereas against Benavidez, he was still competitive for the full 12 rounds.