Image Credit: Sean Michael Ham/TGB Promotions
Undefeated IBF Super Middleweight World Champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant successfully defended his title over the weekend.
Plant delivered a masterclass unanimous decision victory over former champion Caleb “Golden” Truax in the main event of FOX PBC Fight Night on Saturday night from the Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles.
Plant sought the knockout but hurt his left hand early in the fight, forcing him to be less aggressive and more hesitant on offense.
“I felt great. I dominated every round. I hardly got touched. He wasn’t giving me much either,’’ Plant said. “I felt like, early on, he was just looking to survive and move away.
“Then a third of the way into the fight, I hurt my hand. It’s kind of swollen. I felt something similar before. I’ve got to sit down and get it checked out but we’ll see. I don’t think it will hinder any upcoming fights.
Using blazing hand speed, a stiff jab and punches from multiple angles, Plant battered Truax and kept him off balance over the course of the 12 rounds.
It was a game effort from Truax, but Plant proved to be too much to handle. All three judges scored the bout in favor of Plant 120-108, a 12-round shutout.
“A champion can adjust to anything. It’s about staying focused, staying disciplined and sticking to the game plan. Maybe the injury hindered me here and there but I felt I used it well – I got a dominant victory, a shutout on all three cards.”
The 28-year-old Plant (21-0, 12 KOs) had scored back-to-back stoppage victories on FOX in his two title defenses, beating then-undefeated Mike Lee in July 2019 before most recently turning away Germany’s Vincent Feigenbutz in a homecoming event last February in Nashville, Tennessee.
The victory over Truax (31-5-2, 19 KOs) was the third successful title defense for Plant, who captured the title in 2019 with a victory over Jose Uzcategui.
Plant, who is from Nashville, Tennessee but now lives and trains in Las Vegas, was the underdog coming into the Uzcategui fight, before turning the tables with two early knockdowns on his way to a unanimous decision.
There wasn’t nearly as much drama in the fight against Truax as Plant took control from start to finish, never allowing Truax to get into the fight in any measureable way.
“I wanted the stoppage. I’m a little disappointed that my hand got hurt early in the fight. But I feel like I put on a good performance,’’ Plant said. “I feel like I’m the best super middleweight champion in the world. I want to become the first undisputed super middleweight champion. I’m ready for whoever, whenever. You line ‘em up and I’ll knock ‘em down.”
For the 37-year-old Truax, the fight against Plant represented his last real chance to rejoin the world championship ranks. Truax had his championship-winning victory in December 2017 as he traveled to James DeGale’s native U.K. to wrest the title away from DeGale in one of the year’s biggest upsets.
Truax, who fights out of Saint Michael, Minnesota, dropped a narrow decision to DeGale in their 2018 rematch. Plant never allowed him to get close to his championship belt.
“I’m a little disappointed. I wanted to put pressure on him and make it a dogfight, but he was elusive. He was able to escape out the back door. I wasn’t able to put a glove on him,” Truax said.
“I knew he was going to be quick, but he was a little more elusive than I expected. It wasn’t a fast paced fight and credit to him for that. I wanted it to be a fast paced fight and put pressure on him, but he controlled the pace and he was very elusive.
“I was never buzzed or hurt. I felt like my conditioning was very good the whole fight. He just jabbed the heck out of me. I’m going to go home and talk to my family and see what the next step is. I still feel like I have something to offer the game.”
Plant now has to decide if he will take a stay busy fight or wait for Canelo Alvarez.
Boxing’s pound-for-pound king and biggest star will defend his unified super middleweight title against Avni Yildirim on February 27th in Miami.
With WBO super middleweight champion, Billy Joe Saunders also waiting for his shot against Canelo, the division now has three kings looking to become undisputed.