Notebook: Benavidez-Plant showdown set for March 25 on Showtime PPV
Nery-Hovhannisyan junior featherweight eliminator finalized for DAZN; Quick hits; Show and tell
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In November, David Benavidez and Caleb Plant announced via social media that they had signed for a high-stakes super middleweight showdown. On Wednesday, the fight was officially announced.
Benavidez will defend the WBC interim 168-pound belt against former IBF titleholder Plant in the main event of a PBC card on Showtime PPV on March 25 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The winner will be one of the mandatory challengers for undisputed champion Canelo Alvarez, who knocked out Plant in the 11th round to unify all four belts in November 2021. It also will settle the feud between Benavidez and Plant, who profess to dislike each other and have gone at each other verbally and on social media for the past few years.
“Sometimes in this business, to sell a fight, people say it’s bad blood,” said Sampson Lewkowicz, Benavidez’s promoter. “For this one, I give my personal guarantee it is real bad blood, and it will be an unbelievable fight.”
The fight also figures to be a mesh of styles between the aggressive, stalking, big-hitting Benavidez and the boxer-puncher Plant.
“David Benavidez versus Caleb Plant will see two fighters in the prime of their careers take on the biggest challenge they can as they look to leave no doubt about their legacy in the ring,” said Tom Brown of TGB Promotions, the promoter of the event. “While Benavidez is known for his power, and Plant for his supreme boxing acumen, both have shown their abilities as well-rounded fighters in recent action.”
Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs), 26, of Phoenix, a two-time WBC titleholder, won the vacant interim belt by one-sided third-round knockout of former middleweight titlist David Lemieux last May but has not fought since.
“I can’t wait until they put me in the ring with (Plant) so I can beat his ass,” Benavidez said. “This is going to be a great night for boxing fans. I can’t wait to step in there and give everyone the beatdown they’re coming to see.”
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Plant (22-1, 13 KOs), 30, of Las Vegas, defended the IBF title three times before the loss to Alvarez. Plant returned from the loss 11 months later and scored a spectacular ninth-round knockout of former titlist Anthony Dirrell, drilling him with a clean left hook on the chin in October in Brooklyn, New York, in the Deontay Wilder-Robert Helenius co-feature.
“After I knocked out Dirrell, I made it clear I wanted to go after the biggest fight that could be made in the division,” Plant said. “This is one of the most anticipated matchups and I'm here again, showing the world why I'm one of the biggest attractions in boxing. I feel sharp and on point. I’m looking forward to March 25, not only to give the fans what they’ve been waiting for, but to show who the better man is.”
Nery-Hovhannisyan is on
Former bantamweight and junior featherweight titlist Luis Nery will face Azat Hovhannisyan in a junior featherweight title elimination bout on Feb. 18 (DAZN, 8 p.m. ET), Golden Boy announced on Wednesday, confirming Fight Freaks Unite’s Tuesday report.
The fight will take place at Fox Theater Pomona in Pomona, California.
“You will see two hungry fighters who have been waiting for their chance at another opportunity to be at the top of their division,” Golden Boy CEO Oscar De La Hoya said. “You will see Hovhannisyan live up to his name as ‘Crazy A’ and pull out all the stops against Nery in this title eliminator to get a step closer to becoming a world champion.”
The winner of the fight, which was ordered by the WBC at its annual convention in November, will become a mandatory challenger for WBC/WBO 122-pound titleholder Stephen Fulton.
“I am ready for the next challenge and prove yet again that I am the best (junior featherweight) in the world,” Nery said. “Azat Hovhannisyan is an experienced and high-quality opponent, but the reality is that I’m ranked No. 1 by the WBC and if I win this fight I will be ready to challenge Stephen Fulton or (IBF/WBA titlist) Murodjon Akhmadaliev so they can no longer avoid me.”
Nery (33-1, 25 KOs), 28, of Mexico, has won two fights in a row since getting stopped in the seventh round and losing his junior featherweight title to Brandon Figueroa in May 2021.
Hovhannisyan (21-3, 17 KOs), 34, an Armenian based in Los Angeles, has won seven fights in a row since his dropping a unanimous decision challenging then-WBC titlist Rey Vargas in May 2018.
“I have a lot of respect for Luis,” Hovhannisyan said. “He’s a former world champion and a very talented fighter. I know I’m going to have to do everything I can to win.”
Jake Paul’s MVP Promotions announced on Wednesday that it has signed super middleweight Shadasia Green (11-0, 10 KOs), 33, of Paterson, New Jersey, and that she has been added to Matchroom Boxing’s Feb. 4 DAZN card at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, and that she will face former unified titlist Elin Cederroos (8-1, 4 KOs), 38, of Sweden, in a WBC title elimination bout. The card is headlined by the Amanda Serrano-Erika Cruz undisputed women’s featherweight title bout. MVP Promotions also promotes Serrano and is working with Matchroom Boxing on the card as a prelude to a rematch between Serrano and undisputed lightweight champion Katie Taylor if Serrano wins.
Staten Island junior welterweight prospect Reshat Mati (13-0, 7 KOs), 24, who was due to face Keith Hunter (15-1, 9 KOs) in a 10-rounder on the Serrano-Cruz card, has been forced to withdraw from the bout. Mati pulled out of the fight due to an injury to his left arm and shoulder, manager Keith Connolly told Fight Freaks Unite. Mati has battled various injuries throughout his career.
Show and tell
“Sugar” Shane Mosley, a former dominant lightweight champion, had moved up in weight and three fights later outpointed Oscar De La Hoya to take the WBC welterweight title in an all-time classic fight. He blasted through three title challengers and was widely viewed as the pound-for-pound king, but there was a clamor for him to face another elite opponent. Enter Vernon Forrest, a 1992 U.S. Olympian, who had earned his spot on Team USA by beating Mosley in an upset that kept him from going to Barcelona. As a pro, Forrest was undefeated and had won the IBF welterweight title but didn’t have a big name, had no fan following and struggled to get significant fights. So, rather than make a low-profile mandatory defense, he gave up his title for the opportunity to face Mosley, who was very confident he would avenge the amateur loss in a highly anticipated fight.
They met in a major HBO main event — Arturo Gatti, my all-time favorite fighter, who was coming off a battering by De La Hoya, knocked out Terron Millett in the fourth round in the co-feature — at the sold-out Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York, and a shocking scene unfolded.
Forrest (33-0 at the time), who was murdered in 2009, blasted Mosley (38-0) with a series of clean shots and knocked him down twice in the second round. He had never remotely been in trouble before much less down or even close to it. I was ringside covering the card for USA Today and distinctly remember that when Mosley went down for the first time the entire crowd of about 5,000 pretty much went “Ohhhhhhhh!!!!!” at the exact same time. I can still hear it in my mind’s eye and never quite heard that sort of crowd reaction before or since. Mosley was tough as nails and had a warrior’s heart and hung in there, but he took a beating. Jack Mosley, his father and trainer, at one point was standing on the ring steps to my left ready to throw in the towel when Mosley’s cutman, Cassius Green, literally yanked him down and wouldn’t let him. Mosley ultimately went the distance but the outcome was never in doubt as Forrest won 118-108, 117-108 and 115-110 to take the title in an upset. It was the crowning moment of Forrest’s career, even bigger than when he outpointed Mosley again in their immediate rematch six months later. The first fight took place on Jan. 26, 2002 — 21 years ago on Thursday. Here is an HBO poster from the fight in my collection.
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I am sure Kaleb wants to plant a KO on Benavidez.
Not interested in Plant esp on a PPV card but those that are can pay the price. There are PPV fights and there fights that we are told are of PPV value. this fight has not the value It is shell game at best. That said Nery v Hov I will watch -- will pay attention to it bc is the mainstream of boxing these days and if I have to use a few PPV apps fine sometimes Match's turn out great sometiems there are surprises like last week with Smitty it works itself out in the long run. But forget about plant and Bena those two could beat them selves senseless in the middle and it still would not be a top shelf boxing event.