Fighter of the Week: Caleb Plant

As boxing in a covid world goes through its peaks and valleys there are loaded weeks that remind of us the glory days of old and weeks where nothing or not much happens. This past week had one major card in the US and it was headlined by one of the premier young fighters in the world.  The 28-year-old,168-pound IBF champ Caleb “Sweethand” Plants of Nashville, Tennessee, stepped back into the ring for the first time in nearly 365-days and picked up exactly where he left off. Putting on a boxing clinic and dominating round after round with slick movement, a dominant jab, and precise lead left hooks that routinely found their spot on the jaw of former world titleholder Caleb Truax. After 12 incredibly lopsided rounds Plant pitched a shoutout moving his record to 21-0 made the third defense of his strap that he won back in January of 2019 and takes home our Fighter of the Week award. He has made an excellent case for himself to land the big prize late in 2021, a fight with the boxing’s cash cow Canelo Alvarez in a unification bout. 

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Caleb Truax briefly held the belt that “Sweethands” donned into the ring on Saturday night and was supposed to be his first real test as a world champion. In his previous two defenses, Plant took a victory lap against  Mike Lee on the Pacquiao vs Thurman card and then a mandatory against the very ordinary but solid Vincent Feigenbutz in his hometown. Truax was a sizeable underdog but was supposed to put up some resistance. He, however, did anything but. Plant dominated the 12-round affair from start to finish. I didn’t get touched, really,” Plant said. of his masterclass performance dominating round after round with a dynamite jab and pouring in right hands and making Truax miss over and over again. Truax’s face started showing the effects of Plants precise combination started showing as he became a bloody mess and Plant never let off the gas domination round after round on his way to taking a perfect 120-108 on all three cards. Through 3 rounds the former champ landed a total of 10 punches. Truax landed a total of 47 punches in the entire fight or less than four per round at an anemic 12%. Plant, to the contrary, landed a total of 179 punches including 124 power shots. The fight was even more one-sided than those lop-sided stats indicate. post-fight the successful champ said he was “a little hesitant at times, but overall happy with his performance.”

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Plant has established himself as the quintessential boxer and one of the top two guys at 168-pounds. He has put together an ok, but less than stellar resume since his career-defining title-winning performance against Uzcategui two-years ago. Wins over Lee, Feigenbutz and now Truax is getting progressively more difficult, and doing so without losing a round, arguably, is highly impressive by any standard. However, he hasn’t beaten murderers’ row either. He needs a legacy-defining fight to measure him against his contemporaries and see if he is a P4P type fighter. He has options on the PBC side, fights with  David Benavidez and two-division world champ Jermall Charlo are easily made as is a fight with Danny Jacobs all are major steps up and can establish the Tennessean as a star. However, one fight dwarfs all others and that’s the Canelo fight. A fight with the pound-for-pound king of the sport a  Canelo fight would be the biggest fight as far as payday and for a legacy for PLant. Fortunately for the IBF champ and boxing fans, it’s a fight that Canelo seems interested in and has mentioned on multiple occasions and could realistically happen by late 2021. 

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