LOS ANGELES – February 2, 2023 – Undefeated former two-time WBC Super Middleweight Champion David “El Bandera Roja’’ Benavídez and former IBF Super Middleweight Champion Caleb Plant continued their war of words and nearly came to blows at a tense press conference in Los Angeles Thursday before they settle their years-long rivalry in a 12-round showdown that headlines a SHOWTIME PPV on Saturday, March 25 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Benavídez and Plant met at the Conga Room at L.A. Live less than two months before their long-awaited clash, as the hungry super middleweights look to settle their score in one of boxing’s most anticipated showdowns. Both have had reigns as champions at 168 pounds and both are eager to ascend to the top of the division as they fight for Benavídez’s Interim WBC Super Middleweight title. As the two exchanged insults on stage and the barbs grew more personal, security twice had to intervene to keep them apart during the proceedings.
Tickets for the live event, which is promoted by TGB Promotions and Sampson Boxing, are on sale now and can be purchased HERE through AXS.com.
Here is what the press conference participants had to say Thursday from Los Angeles:
“On March 25, I guarantee that I’m knocking Caleb Plant out before round six.
“This has been a fight in the making for the last five years and it couldn’t have come at a better time. I’m at my best right now mentally and physically. On March 25, I finally get to put hands on Caleb Plant.
“When you’re on the ground bleeding, you’ll learn how to respect a real fighter. I’m what you want to be. You’re a chump.
“He had a sensational win against Anthony Dirrell and I take nothing away from that. This is the best time this fight could have happened. It was the right move for both of us. I’ve been wanting to fight him for a long time and now the winner of this fight gets to be the mandatory for Canelo Alvarez. I’m super motivated.
“The fans want to see a knockout. He can act like I’m not like that, but just look at my record. Look at how everyone looks after they fight me. I don’t play around. That’s what I do and he’s no different from any fighter I’ve ever fought.
“This is the most important fight of my career to this date. I feel like after this fight, I’m going to pass that threshold and get to where I want to be. Every fighter has one of these grudge matches that brings the best out of them. I don’t like Caleb at all, but I want to thank him for bringing the animal out of me. I’m more motivated than ever.
“I can’t wait to give my fans a great knockout. We know that this isn’t gonna be easy. It’s gonna be grueling. But I’m ready to get in there and knock this guy out.
“He knows how the canvas feels and I’m putting him back on that. You’re gonna be laying down again.
“You got knocked out already and I’m gonna do the same thing to you again. I’m putting you to sleep.”
“We got a big fight on our hands. That’s what boxing needs. I want to be someone who helps deliver that to the boxing world and I’m sure Benavidez does too.
“After the Canelo fight, I said that I wanted to make the biggest fight possible. They came back with two-time champion Anthony Dirrell for a title eliminator. I knew I was next in line to fight the interim champ before that fight, and that meant David Benavidez. I’m in the fight that I want.
“You don’t have to worry about me showing up on March 25. This isn’t my first big fight. I’ve been here before.
“We’re both at the top of the division. This rivalry only started because we agree to disagree on who’s better. And that’s fine, he should feel like that. That’s how great fighters are supposed to feel. It’s slowly built up over time.
“I’m coming. We’re prepared. I’ve been at this level before and I know what it takes. From now until March 25 it’s just about who can train the hardest and keep their foot on the gas.
“This is an incredibly important fight and it’s perfect timing for it to happen. This kind of fight sends a message to all the other fighters that it’s time to step up and take big fights. Boxing needs fights like this. This is a legacy fight for me and my team. On March 25, I see myself getting my hand raised.
“I’ve fought in Las Vegas before and it’s what every kid who has ever laced up a pair of boxing gloves dreams of – fighting on the biggest stage at MGM Grand and on pay-per-view.
“I never said David’s a bad fighter because I have no interest in fighting bad fighters. I want to fight good fighters and make big fights. This is the best fight that could be made in the division.”
JOSE BENAVIDEZ SR., Benavidez’s Father and Trainer
“This is a big opportunity. This is going to be a great fight and worthy of pay-per-view. We’ve got a great team and I’ve had to add to it to keep up with David. I guarantee that this is going to be an exciting fight on March 25.
“I don’t think Plant and his team are as comfortable with this fight as we are. We’ve wanted this fight for almost five years and we pushed to get this fight.
“We’re so motivated to face someone like Caleb Plant. He’s a good fighter, he’s slick and he’s difficult. These are the fights that we need to get motivated. Plant can see in David’s eyes that David wants to mess him up.”
STEPHEN “BREADMAN” EDWARDS, Plant’s Trainer
“I’m proud to be in this spot to showcase our hard work against a great fighter like David Benavidez. I also feel like I have a great fighter in Caleb Plant.”
“I’m very excited to show what we’ve been working on when we get in the ring March 25. People say there is bad blood between them, but they will get to settle it in seven weeks. In the end, we all need each other to make these kinds of fights.”
“I’m glad that this was an easy fight to make. Caleb called me and said he was making the fight. So here we are and we’ve already been in camp for a couple of weeks.”
TOM BROWN, President of TGB Promotions
“Some people say that the big fights never get made, but that’s just not true with PBC and SHOWTIME. This is the type of fight that makes this the greatest sport in the world.
“Saturday March 25 is going to be an incredible night. These are the kinds of fights that we’re in this sport for. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing two fighters in their prime and slugging it out.
“I believe that this fight between David Benavidez and Caleb Plant will be added to the list of epic brawls between two warriors taking it to the next level. This fight will be one of, if not the winner of Fight of the Year this year. This is one you don’t want to miss.”
STEPHEN ESPINOZA, President, Sports & Event Programming, Showtime Networks Inc.
“If you know anything about boxing, you know this is one of the very best fights that can be made in the sport. The consensus No. 1 and No. 2 contenders in this division. This is a high-stakes matchup, personally and professionally. There’s a personal rivalry here. There are bragging rights here. There is supremacy in the division at stake.
“David Benavidez was called “The Mexican Monster” by none other than Mike Tyson. Some of the fastest hands in the heavier divisions and in the sport overall. This will be the eighth time he’s fought on SHOWTIME®, and he’s grown up on SHOWTIME. He first caught our eye on SHOBOX® way back in 2015. Since then, he’s fought on Special Editions and SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING®. This will be his first appearance on SHOWTIME PPV. He’s been on the stage so long that it’s easy to forget that he’s only 26 years old. He’s the youngest ever champion at 168 pounds at the tender age of 20 years old. He is one of the most entertaining fighters in the sport.
“This will be Caleb’s third appearance on SHOWTIME and second on SHOWTIME PPV. He is an excellent boxer. Fundamentally solid, underrated power. He’s coming off what for many people, including CBS Sports and Boxing Scene, ranked as the 2022 Knockout of the Year. A highlight-reel knockout of the very durable Anthony Dirrell. If you have any doubts about Caleb’s power, go back and watch that knockout and you won’t. Last time Caleb fought on SHOWTIME PPV was a grueling 11-round fight against Canelo Alvarez. There are many people that think he provided the blueprint. The jab. The movement. Frustrating Canelo in a way we haven’t seen him frustrated . It’s that combination of skills and power that make him a worthy adversary for David Benavidez.
“It seems like many times in this sport people want to pay more attention to the fights that don’t get made than the fights that do. Well, this is an outstanding fight and more importantly, neither one of these fighters has to take it. It’s not a mandatory. It’s not an eliminator. It’s not something that anybody had to be talked into. This is something that each of these fighters wanted personally and professionally. Boxing got it right, as it often does.”
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