Caleb Plant put an exclamation point on a grudge match win over Anthony Dirrell, scoring a vicious one-punch knockout late in the ninth round tonight in their WBC super middleweight title eliminator.
Plant (22-1, 13 KO) landed probably the best punch of his entire career, dropping Dirrell (34-3-2, 25 KO) with a left hook to the body and then one to the jaw that put Dirrell instantly down and out. The fight was immediately stopped.
Plant is going to take some criticism for his antics after the fight, where he did a “gravedigger” motion over the downed Dirrell, Not to excuse it, but for context, the trash talking Dirrell had worn a shirt during fight week that said he would be “Plant-ing flowers” on his opponent. Again, not excusing it, it was definitely ill-mannered at best, just giving the context.
Plant said after the fight that he plans to beat everyone else he can at 168 lbs and force his way into a rematch with Canelo Alvarez, who stopped Plant in their Nov. 2021 fight, which fully unified the super middleweight division.
For the 38-year-old Dirrell, this could be the end of the line. He fought in little spurts here, wrestled and fouled a lot, and tried to get into Plant’s head, but it just never really worked. He was consistently the second-best fighter in every round, and then he got knocked out. He’s had a very good career, and could leave now with little left to prove that can realistically be proven.
Plant vs Dirrell highlights
Plant and Dirrell going back and forth here in round 2!— FOX Sports: PBC (@PBConFOX) October 16, 2022
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Frank Sanchez TKO-9 Carlos Negron
This might not have been the most impressive or dominant win for Sanchez (21-0, 14 KO), but he wound up taking over the fight in about the sixth or seventh round, and got a good stoppage here.
Negron (25-4, 20 KO) hung tough, but got drilled and dropped in the ninth round, and his face smashed into the ropes, too. He got up and was trying to fight, but Sanchez rocked him pretty good again, and the referee made the right call to step in and stop it.
Sanchez, 30, takes another sideways step for his career, really, but he’s there for PBC to match against someone like Deontay Wilder or Andy Ruiz Jr next year, if they don’t fight each other.
Frank Sanchez and Carlos Negron are trading shots!— FOX Sports: PBC (@PBConFOX) October 16, 2022
To watch the rest of #WilderHelenius, order on the Fox Sports app or at https://t.co/3Zu1Q7tJUe so you don't miss any of the action! pic.twitter.com/GSShNxIvaS
Emmanuel Rodriguez Tech. UD-10 Gary Antonio Russell
Rodriguez (21-2, 13 KO) pretty much had his way here, hurting Russell (19-1, 12 KO) in the first round, twice in the fourth, and then dropping him hard at the end of the eighth round, upon which the entirety of the New York State Athletic Commission team of officials assigned to this fight made a mess, however you want to slice it.
Realistically, the fight probably should have been stopped there. Russell was in bad shape, and did beat the count, but also referee Benjy Esteves counted to 10. At that point, there was confusion with the timekeeper and all kinds of other stuff. Anyway, in the ninth, Russell and Rodriguez cracked heads — as they did within 16 seconds of their first fight, a no-contest in 2021 — and Rodriguez was cut under the right eye, which was swelling up quickly.
Then after the ninth round, or technically two seconds into the 10th, the fight was sent to the cards. Scores were 99-93, 99-91, and 100-90 as officially announced by Jimmy Lennon Jr. Bad Left Hook had it 90-80 after nine rounds, so adding a 10-10 of two seconds of action that didn’t exist would be 100-90.
This was billed as a WBA and IBF bantamweight eliminator, and those four belts might go vacant by early 2023 or even the end of 2022, so Rodriguez, a former titlist, is in a prime spot at 118 lbs. Russell just really had no answers for Rodriguez’s speed or counter-punches, and Rodriguez was timing him well all night. There were, as they say, levels to this.
- Vito Mielnicki Jr UD-10 Limberth Ponce: Mielnicki’s FOX push continues, as he improves to 13-1 (8 KO) with a win on scores of 98-92, 99-91, and 99-91 over Ponce (19-6, 11 KO). Mielnicki got cracked a bit in the 10th and final round, but otherwise it was routine work, and bled over onto the PPV broadcast because the prelims went longer than PBC expected. A fight so good PBC put up no Twitter highlights during the whole 10 rounds.
- Michel Rivera UD-8 Jerry Perez: Not a bad fight to watch at all, Perez (14-2, 11 KO) really tried hard, but he was out-classed by Rivera (24-0, 14 KO), who at 24 is getting close to being just about as ready as he’ll be to really step up at 135. Tank Davis is going to need opponents, and Rivera is right in that mix, given he’s a PBC fighter. Rivera got a knockdown right at the end of the final round. Scores were 79-72, 79-72, 80-71. BLH had it 80-71, too.
Rivera punishing the body of Perez, and all that body work has set up these uppercuts to the head that you're seeing in RD6. #RiveraPerez— Premier Boxing Champions (@premierboxing) October 16, 2022
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- Gurgen Hovhannisyan TKO-6 Mike Coffie: The fight was stopped after the sixth round, as the referee had seen enough. Coffie (13-3, 10 KO) wasn’t taking some obvious, terrible beating from the TV angles we could see, but he was being dominated and had no path to victory, and two more rounds just didn’t seem worth it to the ref. Coffie didn’t seem to be putting up any big argument. Hovhannisyan (4-0, 4 KO) is Joe Goossen-trained, a 24-year-old Armenian giant, stands 6’7” and weighed about 275 for this fight, and has some skills — he can box, there’s hand speed there, there’s a lot to like. Never gonna have a great six-pack of abs on him but he’s no joke. For Coffie, I mean, he’s 36, a tank of a man, seems like a good guy, and he stood in there and tried, but this is three straight losses against competent opposition and the wall has been hit.