David Benavidez and Caleb Plant reportedly have their fight date set, as ESPN.com’s Mike Coppinger says the two will meet on Saturday, March 25, in a Showtime pay-per-view main event from Las Vegas at the MGM Grand.
Benavidez (26-0, 23 KO) and Plant (22-1, 13 KO) have been set for the showdown since early November, when Plant publicly announced that the fight was signed, after Benavidez’s planned January bout with Jose Uzcategui was scrapped due to how severely everyone hated that idea.
This is something of a risk as a pay-per-view, but it’s also become increasingly clear that we’re simply not going to get anything remotely resembling a “big fight” anymore without pay-per-view attached. Benavidez, 26, has never headlined a pay-per-view, and Plant, 30, only has as the B-side to Canelo Alvarez in 2021.
Benavidez last fought in May 2022, demolishing a badly over-matched but very brave David Lemieux, while Plant was last out in October, scoring a Knockout of the Year contender against Anthony Dirrell.
Apart from the fight, a couple other things worth noting. First of all, this would be head-to-head with Top Rank’s Jose Ramirez vs Richard Commey card on ESPN from Fresno, which is not that big of a thing, really, Ramirez vs Commey is what it is and this is the much bigger fight. PBC and Showtime do not care about hurting a “competitor” in that fashion, and they are not concerned with boxing fans’ thoughts on these matters, either.
But bigger than that is that while no one will really argue that this isn’t a good fight — it’s pretty clearly the best fight to be made at 168 lbs that isn’t Canelo Alvarez fighting Benavidez — but this also may kick off something of a “pay-per-view season” in boxing, as right now it seems we can expect (counting only major pay-per-views, through major promoters and major outlets, no offense to BLK Prime or anyone else doing PPVs that couldn’t get on the air otherwise):
- Benavidez vs Plant on March 25 (SHO PPV)
- Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia on April 15 (SHO PPV)
- Errol Spence Jr vs Keith Thurman has been targeted for April (SHO or FOX PPV)
- Canelo Alvarez vs TBA on May 6 (likely DAZN PPV)
This doesn’t account for, possibly, a Deontay Wilder vs Andy Ruiz Jr fight in April or May, which would also be a SHO or FOX PPV, and we could also potentially be looking at Tyson Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk through ESPN+ PPV somewhere in there. And, it’s also possible, given the climate, that ESPN and Top Rank say “to hell with it” and try to stick Devin Haney vs Vasiliy Lomachenko, currently tentative for May 20, on an ESPN+ PPV.
Sure, ESPN and Top Rank have not done much PPV in recent years (they’ve lacked in star attractions, being honest), but in boxing, when everyone you know starts jumping off the bridge, you usually do, too, and that classic parental hypothetical doesn’t get answered the way it’s meant to be.
In short, as exciting a fight as this really is — again, it’s a terrific matchup! — you might want to prepare to have your wallet treated as a heavy bag like possibly never before as a boxing fan.