The undefeated two-time 168-pound world champion lights up Las Vegas on Saturday night with a career-best performance atop a stacked PBC event on SHOWTIME Psy-Per-VIew.
David Benavidez once said, “the little fat kid will never go away, he’s always going to be with me.” The interim WBC World Super Middleweight titlist and former two-time WBC super middleweight world champion was once a pudgy little kid who was bullied and derided.
The pent-up anger he carries has fueled a career that reached new heights Saturday night before a sellout crowd of 13,865 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, when Benavidez won a 12-round unanimous decision over former IBF super middleweight titlist Caleb Plant atop a Premier Boxing Champions event on SHOWTIME pay-per-view.
Judges Tim Cheatham (115-113), Dave Moretti (116-112) and Steve Weisfeld (117-111) had Benavidez winning by varied scores, though there was no doubt who won.
There was a lot of animosity between the two in the build-up for the fight, but that was settled afterward when they hugged it out and respectfully spoke to one another.
“I want to shout out Caleb Plant,” Benavidez said. “I know there was a lot said between us but in the end we settled this like men. He’s a helluva fighter. I’m happy we gave the fans the best rivalry of the year or the last five years. I’m just very happy.”
“We were never going to settle it before we got into the ring but we got into the ring and settled it like men. I took his hardest shots and he took my hardest shots and the good thing is that we’re still standing at the end of the day, and we can go back to our families.”
In the first 30 seconds, Plant came out in a surprise move, standing in the pocket. Plant pecked at Benavidez (27-0, 23 KOs) with the jab, and immediately after the first clinch, referee Kenny Bayless warned Benavidez about roughhousing. There was little to no action in the opening stanza, though it was Plant that landed more.
It was an early tempo that worked well for Plant (22-2, 13 KOs) as his gameplan unfolded: Stay behind the jab and box, put rounds in the bank and each time he neared Benavidez, he would grab him.
“I was trying to hold him when necessary, punch him when necessary, and throw my combinations when necessary,” Plant said. “But when the best get in there with the best, you roll the dice and someone is going to come out with their hand raised and someone will come up short. And one thing that I pride myself on is that I roll with the best in the world. I haven’t ducked anyone and maybe we can have a rematch in the future.”
In the last 15 seconds of the second, Plant closed with a flurry of shots, including a right to the head and a left downstairs.
Benavidez’s first real sign of aggression was a left hook to the body within in the opening minute of the third. Near the end of the frame, which was Benavidez’s best round to that point, Bayless warned Benavidez about holding.
“Kenny Bayless is a helluva referee but he didn’t give Caleb Plant any warnings the whole fight,” Benavidez said. “But it is what it is and I still had to work through it. He was a tough fighter and we had figure out a way around that. It was a great fight.
“I knew I had to take it step by step and round by round. Caleb is a tough fighter. He’s not going to give you everything in the first few rounds so you have to find him. But I feel like I didn’t just show that I was a power puncher tonight. I showed that I had defense and head movement and I was able to move around the ring and cut the ring off really good. I hit him with a lot of hard shots. I would talk s--t but I like this guy now and I don’t want to keep it going.”
With 2:24 left in the fourth, a Plant combination bounced off of Benavidez’s face, forcing him backward. With 20 seconds left in the fourth, Benavidez connected with a left hook to the head, though Plant countered with a combination in the final 10 seconds.
Early in the fifth, Plant had Benavidez up against the ropes. There was one moment in the round when Benavidez motioned to Plant to stay in the middle of the ring and fight. Plant stuck to his plan although Benavidez was beginning to gather steam.
The momentum was in his favor by the end of the sixth as he got Plant’s attention with a left to the ribs. The “Mexican Monster” was now working the jab, cutting off the rib and digging to the body. Plant was slowing down.
In the middle of the seventh, Benavidez hurt Plant with a left hook, and 30 seconds later, Plant popped Benavidez’s head back with a straight left. However, it was clear the valiant Plant was struggling to keep Benavidez off him.
The eighth was particularly one-sided as a right hand in close quarters buckled Plant’s knees. The onslaught was on as Benavidez unloaded on his fatiguing opponent. At one point, Bayless stopped the action so the ringside doctor could look at a cut over Plant’s right eye.
Plant began the ninth with a hard low blow that caused Benavidez to wince in pain and elicited a stern warning from Bayless. Yet the round was more of the same as Benavidez poured it on behind a capacity crowd chanting his name.
And it seemed a matter of time before Plant would go. Benavidez uncorked a right uppercut that snapped Plant’s head back in the 10th. With 1:32 left, Benavidez popped another right uppercut that landed square on Plant’s head. In the last 30 seconds of the 10th, it was target practice on Plant.
Before the 11th, Plant’s trainer, Stephen “Breadman” Edwards, told his fighter that if he didn’t see more, he would call it. Each time Plant stepped to Benavidez to hold, Benavidez than began stepping back to open up distance to punch.
With his face covered in blood, Plant could barely stand nor defend himself. Yet he showed a warrior’s heart, bravely fighting to the end though outgunned.
Afterward, Benavidez made his intentions clear.
“I just want to tell everyone that I have a lot of respect for Canelo Alvarez but he has to give me that shot now,” Benavidez said. “That’s what everyone wants to see. Let’s make it happen. I don’t think Canelo is trying to avoid me. I just feel like he has a lot of options. But now the fans are calling for this fight, the legends are calling for this fight, so let’s make it happen.”
Jesus Ramos makes a strong point in stopping Joey Spencer in seven
It was a great challenge to both young super welterweights, because undefeated southpaw Jesus Ramos and undefeated Joey Spencer knew what it meant for the winner and for the loser.
Still, and much to their credit, 22-year-old Ramos and 23-year-old Spencer were willing to face each other.
It was Ramos (20-0, 16 KOs) that will advance in the 154-pound class, and Spencer who will need to re-evaluate where he stands after his corner stopped the fight at 1:25 of the seventh round.
“I felt like I looked really good,” Ramos said. “I showed some angles. After the first-round knockdown, I got a little carried away with my power a little bit so I took some time to start working on everything that we practiced in the gym.
“Ever since the knockdown I was looking for that punch for two or three rounds and my dad told me to box him behind the jab. And I started doing that more and I started to land more shots and started to do better and follow the game plan.”
Spencer was the one pushing Ramos to fight inside as soon as the opening bell rang. And with Spencer leaning with his head on Ramos, that’s when Ramos caught him with a perfect left that in the first round dropped Spencer (16-1, 10 KOs) for the first time in his career.
“He started to push me (when the fight started),” Ramos said. “He said he was stronger than me so I assumed he was going to do that and push me. So I was staying composed and looking for that right punch and it came and I hurt him.”
That seemed to ignite some fireworks. Spencer went after Ramos, and Ramos staved off the flurry. In between rounds, Spencer was told by his father and trainer, Jason, to work off his back foot.
It didn’t help.
Ramos picked up a strong first round with a strong second, landing right hooks and left uppercuts. About 30 seconds into the third, Spencer chopped at the body, and Ramos took them.
Ramos turned Spencer, maneuvering around him, while landing left uppercuts, body shots. In the fourth, Spencer cut through Ramos’ high guard with a combination, and they bounced off Ramos like pebbles on a tank. Ramos walked through the shots and pressed Spencer against the ropes.
By the sixth, Spencer’s eyes were swelling. Ramos was having his way. He was in control and using his size and length perfectly. In the seventh, Ramos began strafing Spencer with left uppercuts, right hooks and straight lefts and that’s when Jason Spencer saw enough and ended it at 1:25 of the seventh.
Chris Colbert rises from early trouble to surprise Jose Valenzuela
Chris Colbert got up from a first-round knockdown to win a highly disputed 10-round lightweight decision over southpaw Jose Valenzuela.
Judges Glenn Feldman, Lisa Giampa and Don Trella each had Colbert winning by 95-94 scores, giving Colbert the fight-deciding 10th round.
Both fighters were coming off the first loss of their careers.
Colbert corrected his one downfall, albeit with a controversial result.
“You’re a sore loser,” Colbert said after Valenzuela bitterly complained about the decision. “You lost. I’d like to thank my opponent. It was a hell of a fight. At the end of the day, I’m not the judge and I’m not a sore loser. I’m a man. I can take it on the chin like a man. He’s a sore loser. I outboxed him and hit him with more jabs.
“Don’t get me wrong. I’m a man and he had his spurts. He hit me with some good shots but then he stopped, and I jabbed, and I jabbed, and I jabbed. He got the knockdown but it’s a 10-round fight.”
Valenzuela was devastated. “I beat him. I want to thank everyone who came out here to support me. I thought I won. I was hitting him with the harder shots. I dropped him. I dominated. But it’s what it is. It’s boxing.”
Within a blink, Valenzuela had Colbert (17-1, 6 KOs) down on the canvas for the second time in his career. Stepping up in weight, donning yellow and black striped fur trunks, Colbert found himself in trouble within the first 30 seconds when Valenzuela nailed the Brooklyn, New York, native with a left on the chin.
“He over-extended and I caught him with a left hook (on the knockdown),” Valenzuela said. “He didn’t hurt me once in this fight. I was having fun. I enjoyed every minute of it. I won. I was having fun. I wanted to show the world what I could do. I can box and I can bang. I have defense. I was having fun but that’s what happens when you don’t get him out of there.”
Colbert spent the remaining portion of the first running for cover. Valenzuela smacked Colbert with another powerful left to the face and was caught against the ropes late in the round.
In the second, Colbert came out as a southpaw, and seemed to steady himself, though he began the third back in a conventional stance, and tapping Valenzuela with a consistent jab. With 2:24 remaining in the fourth, Valenzuela nailed Colbert with a left to the body, but Colbert popped Valenzuela with 1:14 left with a combination to the head. In the last minute of the fourth, Colbert switched back to southpaw, despite having spurts of success as a righty.
In the first minute of the sixth, Valenzuela (12-2, 8 KOs) had Colbert in some trouble again, starting with a right hook. Referee Celestino Ruiz was looking in as Valenzuela rained a barrage of punches on Colbert, who managed again to survive the onslaught. Colbert, however, came out of the storm with his left eye blinking.
Colbert climbed back into the fight in the seventh, using a steady jab. He had far more moments in the second half of the fight which carried him to the win.
“I felt like I put it on him,” Valenzuela said. “Definitely, I’d like a rematch. I have to be fair and square. I went through a lot. I worked hard. It was tough and to come out like this – it sucks.”
Colbert showed great character, taking a pounding and kept coming back. “If I felt he hit that hard, then I would have been boxing all night. But he was thumbing me in my eye but other than that, it wasn’t like I couldn’t take his power and I had to run. Listen, I love the fans. If he wants a rematch, then lets’ get it. I’m not no sucka.”
Cody Crowley remains undefeated in a brutal points win over Abel Ramos
You could hear the impact of each punch. Canadian southpaw Cody Crowley and heralded veteran Abel Ramos looked like conjoined twins throughout much of their 12-round WBC welterweight title eliminator.
They were never more than a few inches away from each other. The only thing that separated them was the bell to sound the end of the rounds.
On his 30th birthday, Crowley celebrated the largest signature victory of his career, with a majority decision over Ramos.
“This fight game is something else. I worked my whole entire life for this opportunity,” said a tearful Crowley, who has battled mental health issues and has been very public about his father Jim’s suicide last year. “The last few years, I didn’t want to live because I couldn’t get my shot, fights been getting canceled. I’ve been training since July. I’ve been broke. I wanted to take my own life and I didn’t and my dad did.
“And if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today. And for anyone who’s thinking of taking their own life and doesn’t want to be here, I’m proof that you can keep fighting and you will win. I just want to say that I love my dad and I love my mom. Without them I wouldn’t be here today. And I wouldn’t be the man that I am today.”
At the outset, Crowley (22-0, 9 KOs) immediately put pressure on Ramos. The Canadian southpaw was the aggressor, forcing Ramos (27-6-2, 21 KOs) backward. But Ramos began connecting with counter rights through Crowley’s high guard. In the second, Crowley crowded Ramos against the ropes. He kept looping right hooks off the side of Ramos’ head. With 15 seconds left in the round, Ramos hit the canvas, though referee Robert Hoyle correctly ruled it a slip.
Crowley really unloaded on Ramos in the first minute of the third with straight lefts. With 58 seconds left in the round, Crowley buckled Ramos against the ropes with a right hook.
“I call it the Cody Crowley Challenge for a reason,” Crowley said. “I was saying that I wanted him to meet me in the center of the ring and fight in a phone booth, and it only took a couple rounds until he got on the bicycle and started running. I was chasing him down but that’s the type of fighter I am. I want a war every time. This is who I am.
“He was tougher than I thought. He’s a veteran for a reason. He’s been in some exciting fights and he knows how to sit down and brace for the shots and he knows how to throw the Hail Mary’s. Hell of a fight. Hats off to Ramos. I prayed for him to have a good sleep so he could come out and have a good performance and I think he slept like a baby last night.”
With 43 seconds left in the fourth, Ramos, who was having a good round landing counter rights and left uppercuts, was warned by Hoyle about low blows.
After sliding in the fourth and fifth rounds, Crowley snatched back the momentum in the sixth, using left uppercuts inside while using his right shoulder to pin down Ramos. Crowley used the same tactics to put the seventh and eighth in the books.
With 1:03 left in the 11th, Crowley crouched and looked like he touched the canvas, marking the second time he was down in his career. It came from a Ramos lead right to the chin, causing Crowley to become off balance.
“I took a punch straight on the forehead and was off balance,” Crowley said. “I quickly squatted down and caught myself before the glove touched. I knew it wasn’t a knockdown, but they started counting. That’s why we have the review.”
Between the 11th and 12th rounds, the knockdown was later overturned on replay.
“Once we made the adjustment and started moving around and using our distance, that’s when I caught him with that shot and knocked him down,” Ramos said. “The ref told us that they were going to review it, and I guess it’s a technicality, but he went down. It’s like when the rope catches you. They call that a knockdown. So why wouldn’t this be”
In the end, Crowley closed peeling away from Ramos, feeling secure he won.
“I’m happy with the scores,” Crowley said. “A win is a win for me. It doesn’t matter if we win by an inch or a mile. This fight, with everything outside the ring, it was just about showing up and doing this for me no matter what the outcome was. Now, I’m the No. 1 mandatory for the WBC and I’ve earned my title shot. Within 12 months, I’ll be fighting for the WBC title.”
Ramos, obviously, did not agree with the decision.
“It was a good fight against a tough opponent, just like we expected,” he said. “But I feel that I was robbed with that knockdown. At first, I felt that he was getting tired so I wanted to try to catch him on the inside. But that’s what he wanted. He started headbutting and pushing me a lot. We got away from that but I think we did it a little bit too late.”
For a closer look at Benavidez vs. Plant, check out our fight night page.