By: Hans Themistode
The disgruntled moans and eye rolls were present amongst virtually all fight fans the moment Caleb Plant announced his next fight. The IBF super-middleweight belt holder is officially set to take on former titlist Caleb Truax on January 30th, at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles, California.
The disappointment that was etched on the faces of fans, mostly stems from the other big-name opponents in his weight class. With names such as David Benavidez, Billy Joe Saunders and of course, Canelo Alvarez, many were expecting Plant to take on a much tougher task.
Be that as it may, there’s a method to Plant’s madness. The Nashville, Tennessee native was last seen in the ring roughly nine months ago against mandatory challenger Vincent Feigenbutz. His showdown with Truax is yet another mandatory challenger. And while he isn’t the most recognizable name in the world, Plant (20-0, 12 KOs) explains exactly why he’s elected to face him anyway.
“It’ll be a back to back mandatory for me, which is the reason why we’re taking this fight,” said Plant during an interview with Fight Hub TV. “That leaves me a year’s worth of open and free fights to fight whoever, wherever and whenever. I’ll have a year free for Canelo or whoever wants to make a unification fight.”
Should everything go according to Plant’s plan, a matchup with Alvarez is the one he craves the most. Before a contract containing Truax’s name on it slid across the desk of Plant, the 28-year-old attempted to finalize an agreement to face Alvarez in late December. Those plans however, no matter how badly he wanted it, were immediately nixed by manager Luis DeCubas.
Simply put, DeCubas believed that no matter how many zero’s were at the end of his career-high paycheck, putting his fighter at a decided disadvantage wouldn’t be worth it.
“It’s a fight that I wanted,” explained Plant. “I’m a fighter, that’s what I wanna do but my manager Luis DeCubas just felt like with that being five weeks away, which is about four weeks of training, he just felt like a fight of that magnitude that he didn’t want to pull the trigger on it. I respect Luis for that because that’s a fight that he would’ve made a big payday on to. I’m a fighter, I want to fight, that’s what I love to do.”
For Alvarez, the Mexican product accepted Plant’s no at the negotiating table and instead, went on to dish out a one-sided beating to Callum Smith. The win for Alvarez may have netted him the WBA, WBC and Ring magazine titles, but in the eyes of many, it also pushed him towards the number one pound for pound spot.
Unlike Plant, Smith didn’t hesitate to accept the short notice fight. While Plant tips his cap towards the former champion for stepping into the ring, he also believes he knows why Smith opted to take the fight with such little time to prepare.
“It’s commendable for anyone to lace up the gloves to get in there with Canelo but at the end of the day I kinda feel like that was a money grab.”
With a showdown against Alvarez the ultimate goal, Plant’s contest against Truax could serve as a trap fight. However, with the biggest bout of his life just within arms distance, Plant won’t allow Truax to ruin the party.
“I’m not looking past January 30th or Caleb Truax. He’s upset people before. He’s a former world champion. Not looking past him but after I stop him, I think me and Canelo are going to have that fight that everyone wants.”