David Benavidez didn’t sugarcoat it.
While winning in any fashion is ultimately most important, the unbeaten WBC interim super middleweight champion admitted that he won’t be satisfied if he doesn’t knock out Caleb Plant in their grudge match March 25 in Las Vegas. Undisputed champion Canelo Alvarez stopped Plant in the 11th round of their 168-pound title unification fight in November 2021, but the former IBF champ otherwise has shown a reliable chin in nearly nine years as a pro.
Benavidez nevertheless doesn’t even want to consider the thought of their 12-round, 168-pound championship bout going the distance.
“I would be very disappointed in myself,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com. “The only way I wanna win this fight is, you know, knocking him out or stopping him, TKO. You know what I mean? So, that’s the only way I wanna see that fight going. I’m very confident because, like I said, I’ve been working extremely hard. I have not left any stone unturned. This is the hardest I’ve worked in a long, long time. And I’m just very excited. I feel like the stars and everything’s lined up in my favor. I’m just ready to show the world what I got.”
The 26-year-old Benavidez has won six straight bouts by knockout or technical knockout. The Phoenix native also possesses one of the highest knockout ratios, 88 percent, in boxing (26-0, 23 KOs) – much higher than that of Plant (22-1, 13 KOs), who has won 57 percent of his professional fights inside the distance.
“I never like to leave things to the judges,” said Benavidez, who unequivocally considers Plant the toughest opponent of his nine-year pro career. “You know, as you can see, I have 26 fights with 23 knockouts, so we’re not thinking about letting this fight go to the scorecards. So, you know, we’re ready to do what we’ve gotta do to knock Caleb Plant out. And that’s definitely the plan. You know, I’ve been telling a lot of my fans that I’m gonna knock him out before six rounds, so I’m a man of my word and I’m definitely gonna live up to that.”
The 30-year-old Plant produced BoxingScene.com’s “Knockout of the Year” for 2022 in his most recent appearance. The Ashland City, Tennessee native’s picture-perfect left hook knocked former WBC super middleweight champ Anthony Dirrell unconscious in the ninth round of their WBC eliminator October 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Oddsmakers have still established the taller, unbeaten Benavidez as about a 3-1 favorite over Plant in their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.