Boxing star and former world champion Caleb Plant sat down for a wide-ranging discussion in the latest episode of “The Pivot Podcast” as Plant dove deep into his feud with David Benavidez before they meet live on SHOWTIME PPV this Saturday, March 25 in Las Vegas. The episode will premier today at 12 p.m. ET on the show’s YouTube page.
Asked by former NFL stars and the show’s co-hosts Ryan Clark, Channing Crowder and Fred Taylor to explain the origins of his beef with Benavidez, Plant explained that the dispute has simmered for years, with personal comments from David’s father about Plant’s tragically deceased daughter Alia pushing the rivalry to a new level.
“Boxing is not a job for me,” said Plant. “Boxing is my life. I’m not trying to let anyone disrupt that or get in the way of that. So it is personal for me…As far as David Benavidez, that started out as us agreeing to disagree about who’s better. Over time I think it’s developed into something more…Once you start bringing up someone’s family, that’s a different level…Some things you don’t come back from and for me that’s not reversible.”
The clash of former world champions is one of boxing’s most anticipated fights of the year, and a scintillating style matchup that pits the smooth movement and technical boxing skills of Plant up against the brute force of Benavidez, as each looks to add a career-best victory to their resume.
“There’s a lot of variables when you go into the ring, but I do expect to get my hand raised in fashion,” said Plant. “I truly believe that. I believe I’m the better boxer and I have the better pedigree. Plus I’m more disciplined, obviously.”
The episode also saw Plant break down the many obstacles he’s had to overcome on his road from growing up in poverty in Tennessee, to becoming a renowned world champion in boxing. In what he later describes as the tragedy that led to the biggest pivot of his life, Plant went deep on the passing of his daughter Ali at just 19 months in 2015. For Plant, he says he owes his greatest moment in the ring, the night he became a world champion in January 2019, to the motivation that Alia had provided him.
“That moment was indescribable really,” said Plant. “When they announce those words ‘and the new’, it’s something that any kid who’s ever halfway laced up a pair of boxing gloves dreams of one day…Me keeping that promise to Alia that I was going to be world champion, was something that was engraved in me. It didn’t matter who stood across from me that night, there was no one who was beating me.”
While Plant carries motivation from that tragedy into the ring, he has learned over the years to harness it into putting on his best performances. Despite the emotion that comes with it, Plant knows that controlling those emotions is ultimately the key to his success, even when an opponent is going to tremendous lengths to get under his skin.
“I don’t go in there emotionally,” said Plant. “Seeing Alia go through those things definitely motivated me. I knew that I could do anything after seeing what she went through. You can’t go into the ring emotionally though, it’s a thinking man’s game. I’m a thinking fighter. I have a heavy IQ and a heavy bag of tricks…Over the years I learned how to channel my emotions and go into the ring calm, cool and collected.
“They want you to get riled up and tense. Why else does anyone talk shit? To try and get them out of their game. So if I know that’s the reason, why would I give them what they want? Because if I stay calm and stay cool, I can prove that stereotype wrong.”
Plant has only suffered one defeat in his career, a 2021 showdown against Mexican superstar Canelo Alvarez for the undisputed super middleweight championship. Although many credited Plant for making it to boxing’s biggest stage, he explained how just making it that far did not satisfy his desire in the sport.
“It was a good thing to be part of such a big fight,” said Plant. “Canelo is a great fighter and he’s done a lot of great things. But it doesn’t excite me that I get to stand across from anybody in the ring. I’m here on a mission and to accomplish my own goals. Not to be excited that I’m standing across from someone who’s already done that. I look at myself as on the same playing field as he’s on. I’m excited about getting my hand raised.”
In going deeper on his mentality in the sport, Plant laid out his intention to make his name one that resonates and lasts well beyond his career, echoing the desire he had to make it out of extraordinary circumstances into the position he’s in now.
“I know the best is brought out of me when I’m challenged,” said Plant. “That can be emotionally or physically. I’m someone who has to be challenged in life for the best to be brought out of me. Those kinds of things just add fuel to the fire for me to not only win, but win in spectacular fashion. I’m not someone who wants to just get in this sport, get money and get out. I really love boxing…I want my name to be written in stone forever. When people talk boxing, I want them to bring my name up.”