Caleb Plant is widely expected to retain his IBF super middleweight title this Saturday against mandatory challenger Vincent Feigenbutz, and he’s got the added incentive of fighting at home in Nashville and in a national TV main event on FOX.
“I’m excited about fighting in my hometown,” Plant said at his media workout. “This is something that I’ve wanted to do since I turned pro. To be coming back home as a world champion at Bridgestone Arena is exciting and motivating. I’m ready.”
Plant (19-0, 11 KO) has never fought as a professional in Nashville or even the state of Tennessee, which isn’t exactly a hotbed for the sport. And he seems keenly aware, too, that “homecoming” fights can be a problem. Last year we saw Jarrett Hurd upset by Julian Williams in that sort of fight, and just last month we saw it happen to Williams when he returned to Philadelphia and was shocked by Jeison Rosario.
The 27-year-old Plant stresses that he’s not letting any hometown pressure or distraction get to him.
“I’m excited but I’m not really focused on anything but the fight,” he said. “I’m happy to be here in Nashville in front of my home crowd. This is something that I pushed for, but once I got it, there’s no reason to really focus on it. I have to treat this like another day at work.
“I’ve worked very hard for this moment over many years. There was a point in time when there were no cameras in front of me. It was just me and my small team, that’s grown into a big team. Now we’re on the big stage and we’re prepared.”
He also says that he doesn’t feel any change in his approach or desire now that he’s the man defending the belt instead of chasing opportunities.
“It’s not hard for me to stay hungry,” he said. “People say I’m the hunted now, not the hunter. But I still feel like I’m hunting. It was just one goal to become a world champion. The other goals and aspirations that I have, those are what keeps me motivated.
As for Feigenbutz (31-2, 28 KO), who is speaking calmly and confidently about his chances at the upset, Plant believes he’s fully prepared for Feigenbutz’ power, and will have no problem fending him off.
“I know that Feigenbutz has a lot of fights and a lot of knockouts,” Plant said. “He’s coming in here to spoil my plans, but he’s going to fall short.
“My father (co-trainer Richie Plant) has always instilled in me that anything you’re not willing to do, there’s someone out there who is. I’m a fierce competitor and just like I don’t want to lose in boxing, if somebody is working harder than me, I’m losing in that area, too.”