Boxing’s 168-pound weight class is thriving once again. With the recent arrival of Canelo Alvarez as super middleweight champion, Billy Joe Saunders as the WBO titleholder, and former titleholder David Benevidez also in the mix, the division is as loaded as it’s ever been. On Jan. 30, another super middleweight beltholder looks to make his return to the ring after nearly a year of inactivity.
IBF super middleweight champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant (20-0, 12 KO) will be making his third title defense against former titleholder Caleb Truax (31-4, 19 KO), who held that same belt just a few years ago. The fight will headline a Premier Boxing Champions card which will be broadcast on Fox.
Plant, 28, scored his most significant victory to date in January 2019, winning a 12-round unanimous decision over Jose Uzcategui to win his IBF title. Since then, he has successfully defended his belt twice: a third round TKO of Mike Lee in July 2019 and most recently, a 10th round stoppage win over Vincent Feigenbutz in February 2020. Obviously, the COVID-19 pandemic had a lot to do with Plant’s absence from the ring.
Truax, 37, is ranked no. 3 by the IBF and is the mandatory challenger for the organization’s belt. Many boxing fans will most likely remember Truax from his upset majority decision win against then IBF titleholder James “Chunky” DeGale in Dec. 2017. Truax’s title reign was short lived though, as he lost the title to DeGale in an immediate rematch in April 2018. Since then, he’s added a third round TKO of Fabiano Pena, a no contest against Peter “Kid Chocolate” Quillin in April 2019, and a majority decision win over David Basajjamivule in January 2020.
If Plant can get the job done in style against Truax—and he is a big favorite to do so—he’ll be in serious contention for a big money unification bout with WBC/WBA/Ring Magazine super middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, or possibly another titleholder in the weight class. Either way, fans will most likely be asking for a bigger fight for Plant should he win on the 30th. For Truax, that night may be his last opportunity at an elite level, unless he can pull off a miraculous upset, which is something that he is not unfamiliar with doing.
Fighter’s Form (last 5 fights):
Vincent Feigenbutz - WIN by TKO 10 - 15/02/2020
Mike Lee - WIN by TKO 3 - 20/07/2019
Jose Uzcategui - WIN by UD (116-110, 116-110, 115-111) - 13/01/2019
Rogelio Medina - WIN by UD (120-108, 119-109, 117-111) - 17/02/2018
Andrew Hernandez - WIN by UD (100-90, 100-90, 100-90) - 08/09/2017
David Basajjamivule - WIN by MD (97-91, 95-93, 94-94) - 25/01/2020
Peter Quillin - No Contest - 13/04/2019
Fabiano Pena - WIN by TKO 3 - 24/08/2018
James DeGale - LOSS by UD (117-110, 114-113, 114-113) - 07/04/2018
James DeGale - WIN by MD (116-112, 115-112, 114-114) - 09/12/2017
Date: January 30th, 2021
Time: 4 am (UK), 6pm (PT), 9pm (ET)
Venue: Shrine Exposition Center, Los Angeles, California, USA
Elsewhere on the card
In the co-main event, unbeaten heavyweight Michael Coffie (11-0, 8 KO) will square off against fellow unbeaten Darmani Rock (17-0, 12 KO) in a 10-round bout. Also featured is junior middleweight Joey Spencer (11-0, 8 KO) taking on Isaiah Seldon (14-3-1, 5 KO)—son of former heavyweight titilist Bruce Seldon—in an 8-round contest.