David Benavidez and Caleb Plant meet on Saturday, and we’ve got a LOT more action to pick this week.
Let’s just get right to it.
Scott Christ (17-14)
Neither Benavidez nor Plant have a true top-tier win, that top level, but both have an abundance of second-level wins, mostly quite impressive in different styles, although we’ve seen Benavidez dominate over the distance as well as break opponents down, and last time out we did see Plant brutally one-shot Anthony Dirrell.
This is not going to be an easy fight for either guy. Benavidez’s style seems like it should work against Plant, but Plant’s going to be the slickest, most technically sound fighter Benavidez has faced to date, and by some distance. Even if you think Plant’s slickness or whatever isn’t as good as he thinks it is, it’s still better than Roamer Alexis Angulo and Kyrone Davis and David Lemieux.
And then there’s the other side. Plant has had one true top-level fight, and he did OK against Canelo Alvarez, but he also got stopped. Benavidez’s style, when it works, breaks opponents down and withers their resistance. He’s not a big one-punch guy, but he’s active and beats opponents up, usually until they just can’t or won’t take any further punishment.
I do think Plant will win his share of rounds and give Benavidez some problems, but even in doing so, he’s going to take punishment. And that will add up. Benny gets him out late when the referee or corner step in. Benavidez TKO-10
Wil Esco (22-9)
This fight has been a long time coming and I’m hoping the product in the ring proves worthy of the build up. I don’t have too many worries on that front, but I do have some real reservations about David Benavidez heading into this fight. The biggest thing for me here is whether or not Benavidez will truly be able to maintain discipline against Plant considering how badly he really wants to hurt him. I suspect pride might take over Benavidez’s thought process at some point and he’s proven in the past he can’t always be counted on to make the best decisions.
My second biggest thing in this fight is that for as much as we discuss Benvavidez’s hand speed, I’m not overly impressed with his foot speed and he’s certainly going to need that to cut off the ring against Plant, who managed to secure himself a 22’ ring for this fight. Not many will be surprised if Plant comes out the gate and picks up an early lead using his movement and sharp attacks, so the real question is how long will Plant be able to maintain without falling apart down the stretch.
If Plant truly learned anything from the Canelo fight it’s that he’s going to have to be better late in the fight, and considering all reports have been that Plant had come into this training camp in much better shape than he has before, I think his body will be better prepared to build up a lead and coast without collapsing in the second half, bringing the fight to the cards. Plant will need to walk the tightrope all the way through, but I think he’ll pull it off, despite some hectic moments, to take a decision from the judges. Plant MD-12
John Hansen (24-7)
I planned on picking David Benavidez to win this fight, probably by late stoppage. I’m nowhere near sure of it, and I worry about our occasional bias towards predicting the sort of fight we hope we’ll see. In this case, a more active fight that plays into the power advantage of Benavidez.
But, earlier this week, the Showtime people sent out a press release with picks and insight from a couple dozen boxers, commentators, and other athletes. Among the prognosticators?
“This is a 50/50 matchup. From my point of view Caleb Plant has had better experience and looks in great shape. We saw in his last fight he does have that nice snap, that power and he will definitely out-box Benavidez. I don’t think he will knock him out, but he can hurt him. I’m going with Caleb Plant on a close points decision.” - George Kambosos
I’m not super confident in Benavidez. Certainly not to the near universal predictions of his victory this Saturday. So, I’ll roll with Yorgos on this one. If he’s wrong? Leave it off my record, and just factor him in as 0-1 on the year in our running contest. I expect no objection from Scott, as it’ll keep him out of the basement. Plant MD-12
Patrick Stumberg (22-9)
David Benavidez is not as schooled a pressure fighter as Canelo. He’s not going to weave his way inside, slowly but surely picking his shots and cutting off Plant’s escape routes until the latter has no choice but to go toe-to-toe. He’s going to rumble forward like a tractor with helicopter rotors bolted to the sides, trying to make up for a lack of slick feet with power, volume, and sheer implacability.
What makes this matchup so interesting is that we still don’t know whether this approach works against a high-level technician. There’s no question that he can steamroll opponents who hit him head-on or lack the movement and wherewithal to play keep-away, but he’s had moments of mortality with people he had to properly chase. Plant is by far his squirreliest foe to date and, compared to the Canelo fight, should have much more success finding angles to get off the ropes while tattooing “El Bandera Roja” with his jab.
While Benavidez won’t get as many distinctly favorable situations as Canelo did when both men are fresh, however, odds are he’ll be doing a lot more damage in the neutral with his own thudding jab and no-windup lead right. Even his glancing blows are the stuff of nightmares; he won’t sap Plant as efficiently as Canelo did, but it seems inevitable that he’ll slow Plant’s legs enough to bring out “Sweet Hands’” habit of planting his feet to exchange. Though it wouldn’t surprise me to see the attrition take effect too late to make up for Plant’s early boxing clinic, I feel like Benavidez will ultimately sucker him into enough close-range battles to wear him down and force the ref into action with one of his patented million-punch flurries. Benavidez TKO-10
Lawrence Okolie vs David Light
- Scott: Okolie TKO-10
- Wil: Okolie TKO-7
- John: Okolie UD-12
- Patrick: Okolie UD-12
Seniesa Estrada vs Tina Rupprecht
- Scott: Estrada TKO-8
- Wil: Estrada UD-10
- John: Estrada UD-10
- Patrick: Estrada UD-10
Jose Ramirez vs Richard Commey
- Scott: Ramirez UD-12
- Wil: Ramirez UD-12
- John: Ramirez TKO-9
- Patrick: Ramirez TKO-8
Cody Crowley vs Abel Ramos
- Scott: Crowley UD-12
- Wil: Crowley UD-12
- John: Crowley UD-12
- Patrick: Crowley UD-12
Chris Colbert vs Jose Valenzuela
- Scott: Colbert UD-10
- Wil: Valenzuela MD-10
- John: Valenzuela UD-10
- Patrick: Colbert UD-10
Jesus Ramos vs Joey Spencer
- Scott: Ramos UD-10
- Wil: Ramos MD-10
- John: Ramos KO-6
- Patrick: Ramos UD-10