By Dan Ambrose: Eddie Hearn says that a victory by David Benavidez over Caleb Plant on March 25th could be the “statement” needed for him to get the elusive fight he’s been longing for against Canelo Alvarez.
Hearn isn’t sure whether Canelo (58-2-2, 39 KOs) will agree to fight Benavidez, but with him being the WBC mandatory and interim 168-lb champion, he’d have to give up the belt unless the World Boxing Council allows the Mexican star to sit on the strap for two years without defending it, as they’ve done with their 160-lb champion Jermall Charlo.
Canelo will have a big decision to make after he faces John Ryder & Dmitry Bivol this year. Will Canelo dare to face Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) or continue to give him the cold shoulder as he’s been doing for years?
Benavidez still needs to defeat former IBF super middleweight champion ‘Sweethands’ Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) on March 25th on Showtime PPV at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Paradise, Nevada.
The 30-year-old Plant is an elusive runner type of fighter who won’t stand and fight Benavidez because he lacks the armament to hold up under the heavy artillery that will be rained down on him.
It will be ugly with Plant in full flight the entire time, forcing Benavidez to chase him in what could be a very dull match to watch. Plant was willing to stand and have it out against Canelo because he had nothing to lose. After all, that was the big payday fight for him.
But against Benavidez, Plant needs a win to get the second payday against Canelo, so he’s going to make sure he stays on the run the whole time and hope that the judges are impressed with the sporadic shots he lands.
“Yes, I believe Benevidez beats Plant. It’s a tremendous fight, and it’s great for boxing,” said Eddie Hearn to the DAZN Boxing Show.
“Just to make one thing clear, in all my dealings with Canelo Alvarez, never have I gotten the impression, never have I doubted that there is one fighter that he wouldn’t fight,” Hearn said when asked if Canelo would ever fight David Benavidez.
“The Benevidez thing, when you talk about a big fight, because of what Canelo has given to the sport, because of risks that he’s taken, because of the fights he’s been involved in, I think he wants the champions to do the same and genuinely go down the same route.
“People like Benavidez, for me, needs to make a statement to create a fight [that is monstrous with Canelo]. Benavidez, by the way, has always wanted those big fights. Now, he’s got one [Caleb Plant].
“So, I truly believe if Benavidez beats Plant, then you put him in the position [to fight Canelo]. Of course, Canelo against Benavidez is a huge fight. The only thing on Canelo’s mind right now is avenging his defeat to Dmitry Bivol, and obviously taking care of business in May.
“But the Benavidez fight, if he goes out and beats Plant, you have to say that’s one of the biggest fights out there now. I know he [Canelo] would never duck a challenge, and he would never ever be against a challenge.
“Anytime that name [Benavidez] would come up, the response would be, ‘No problem.’ He [Canelo] would genuinely fight Usyk at cruiserweight. He fought Bivol at 175. He would have no problems fighting Benavidez at 168.
“But it’s different. It’s countryman; it’s different stables,” Hern said about the obstacles blocking a fight between Canelo and Benavidez. “It’s almost like a ‘go and earn it,’ but a victory over Plant would certainly start ticking those boxes,” said Hearn.