The WBC approved the March fight between interim 168-lb champion David Benavidez and #1 contender Caleb ‘Sweethands’ Plant on Wednesday at their convention as a final eliminator to determine the mandatory challenger to super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez.
Benavidez has to be seen as the favorite against Plant because he’s got the size, power, youth, speed, and chin going for him.
Boxing fans already had known that Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) would be facing former IBF super middleweight champion Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) next year, but they didn’t know what month the contest would take place.
During the convention today, Benavidez’s promoter Sampson Lewkowicz revealed that he would be defending his interim WBC 168-lb title against Plant in March, but he still didn’t reveal an exact date or venue for the fight.
It’s widely believed that Canelo will give up his WBC 168-lb title if he doesn’t lose it in his potential rematch against Dmitry Bivol next May or September.
If Benavidez defeats Plant, as many expect him to, it’s quite possible that Canelo will drop the WBC belt to avoid having to fight him.
Canelo’s immediate future is kind of murky, though, as he’s got to decide soon whether he’s to face his former conqueror Bivol in a rematch, and if so, it’s unclear what weight class will the fight take place at.
It’s rumored that Canelo will sit until September 2023 and then either take a tune-up against the John Ryder vs. Zach Parker or face Bivol in a rematch if he’s not scheduled against another opponent.
What this could mean is that the Benavidez vs. Plant winner will need to wait until 2024 for a title shot for the WBC belt. It’s doubtful that the WBC will strip Canelo of his belt if he elects not to fight the Benavidez-Plant winner next year because he can always blame it on him needing time to rehab his surgically repaired left hand.
Plant is coming off a big knockout win over Anthony Dirrell on October 15th in a fight where he showed a little power in knocking out the 37-year-old former two-time WBC 168-lb champion.
Knocking out Dirrell doesn’t mean that Plant will do the same thing against Benavidez because he has an excellent chin, and he’s going to be chasing him around the ring.
Plant was able to get away with sitting down on his shots against the past his best Dirrell a lot more than will be against Benavidez.