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The Maryland native and his trainer believed that one day "Swift" would become a unified world champion ... and that was just part of their prophecy.

For Jarrett Hurd and his trainer, Ernesto Rodriguez, 2018 was all about fulfilling a prophecy.

Rodriguez, a self-described highly religious man, had promised Hurd that one day he would become a unified world champion.

That day came on April 7 when Hurd unified the 154-pound division with a hard-earned 12-round split-decision victory over Erislandy Lara in an all-action fight at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

“It was a tough one, but I went out there and did exactly what I said I was going to do — fight all 12 rounds and get the victory,” said Hurd, who scored a knockdown in the final minute of the bout—which was just the seventh title unification in division history.

“I didn't feel like that (I needed the knockdown). I feel like I was in control the whole fight, applying the pressure.”

Prior to the bout with Lara, Hurd had torn his rotator cuff during training. Living up to his nickname of “Swift,” Hurd underwent successful arthroscopic surgery in June and was back in the ring by December.

It took a little time to warm up in his return outing, but Hurd got going and successfully defended both is IBF and WBA titles with a fourth-round KO against James Welborn of the United Kingdom in the co-main event to the Deontay Wilder vs Tyson Fury heavyweight blockbuster.

“I’m just coming off surgery so I wanted to see how I worked off the jab,” Hurd said. “I felt good I was working behind the jab I got caught on the ropes and got caught with some shots and said ‘that’s enough. He got enough TV time.’ I heard the crowd and I didn’t want to get brave. So I turned it up and got the knockdown.​"​

While Hurd’s prophetic 2018 earned him the PBC’s Fighter of the Year award over notable contenders like Deontay Wilder, Mikey Garcia, Shawn Porter, Gervonta Davis and Errol Spence Jr.—the native of Accokeek, Maryland promised even bigger goals lie ahead in 2019 and beyond.

 “We definitely want Charlo,” Hurd told SHOWTIME reporter Jim Gray, after the Welborn fight. “I’m calling the shots. I’m No. ​1​ right now. When I say answer the phone, answer the phone. I got the date.”

After all, becoming a unified world champion was only part of his trainer’s prophecy.

For a closer look at Jarrett Hurd, check out his fighter page.

For all of the year-end honors, visit our Best of PBC 2018 page.

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It’s no secret that Danny Garcia and his father, Angel, come in the same package. Not only that, they're pretty darn funny when they're around each other.

Since Danny was 10, Angel has been by his side professionally as his primary coach, and has shaped Danny into the fighter he is today. Danny cites Angel Garcia as being his biggest inspiration in and out of the ring.

Danny and Angel spend the majority of their time together, hanging out, dancing and doing hilarious things, most of which become social media gold. Here are the top moments Danny and Angel Garcia proved they are one of the best father-son duos in sports:

7. That time Angel tried to climb a rope ladder

I bet him 1k he couldn't do it

A video posted by Danny Swift Garcia (@dannyswiftgarcia) on

At a local fair, Danny bet Angel $1,000 he couldn’t climb a rope ladder. Angel accepted. Hilarity ensued. 

6. The year Angel had the best Father’s Day

Pops out here coolin #FathersDay #TeamDSG

A video posted by Danny Swift Garcia (@dannyswiftgarcia) on

Angel loves dancing, singing and basically doing silly things in front of the camera. This gem was filmed on Father’s Day. How appropriate.

5. The #TBT to end all #TBTs

#TBT me and pops it's been a long journey and we just getting started!

A photo posted by Danny Swift Garcia (@dannyswiftgarcia) on

This is a rare shot of Angel chiseling Danny into a great champion. At the ripe age of 10, Danny and Angel already shared a close bond—only they knew where this moment would lead.

4. The moment the Garcias won Vine

Angel Garcia made his debut on the social media site Vine last February, making for instant father-son social media gold.

3. Any time Danny teases Pops 

Teasing my pop cause he couldn't get the words right to the commercial

A video posted by Danny Swift Garcia (@dannyswiftgarcia) on

Danny and Angel Garcia are also known for the business prowess. The DSG brand has created the family an empire both in and outside of the ring for no other reason than their hard work, dedication and business acumen when taking on new ventures. However, Danny doesn’t like taking things too seriously—even at Angel’s expense. 

2. When the Garcias owned the new year

Pops dancing his way into 2015! #TeamDSG

Un vídeo publicado por Danny Swift Garcia (@dannyswiftgarcia) el

2015 is going to be a big year for Danny. So what better way to start off the new year with an Angel Garcia dance-off?

And...the top social media moment that shows why the Garcias are the top father-son duo in sports:

Let's get it

A video posted by Danny Swift Garcia (@dannyswiftgarcia) on

What's better than this? A father and son getting it done in the ring.

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A thorough breakdown of Saturday night’s highly competitive supporting bouts in Las Vegas on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View.

This Saturday, March 25, live from the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, bad blood boils over when former super middleweight world champions David “El Bandera Roja’’ Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) meets Caleb Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) atop a SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View event (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), presented by Premier Boxing Champions. 

Underneath that guaranteed thriller of a main event, though, is a stellar undercard with three high-intrigue main stage battles featuring six fighters staring down “must win” scenarios. Here’s a look at the stacked Benavidez-Plant lead-in.

Jesus Ramos vs. Joey Spencer

You don’t often see 22-year-old undefeated future stars meeting one another on the rise to title contention. There will be a whole lot of risk involved in this 10-round super welterweight battle, but there’s also plenty of reward to be reaped as the victor will emerge as the top young contender in a division currently ruled by Undisputed World Champion Jermell Charlo. 

Jesus Ramos (19-0, 15 KOs), the nephew of welterweight contender Abel Ramos, is physically strong and mature beyond his years with a varied arsenal of offensive assets. A thudding left hand off a solid jab is probably his best offensive weapon, but the southpaw from Casa Grande, Arizona can do damage with pretty much anything he throws. 

Joey Spencer (16-0, 10 KOs) is disciplined and has a tight skill set with a somewhat conservative style. The native of Linden, Michigan has fairly heavy hands, but has more pop in his right, which he likes to utilize as an overhand shot or as a follow-up hook behind the jab. He varies his attack well, working an opponent’s body as well as touching him upstairs. 

Ramos-Spence is the epitome of an old school clash of young battlers. It’s a throwback to times when the best fought the best, not only at the very top of the sport, but also on every rung on the ladder to the top. Expect this all-action clash of rising young stars to be fought with the appropriate amount of urgency.

Chris Colbert vs. Jose Valenzuela

Trainer Joe Goossen once referred to Chris “Primetime” Colbert (16-1, 6 KOs) as the “best prospect on the planet” and, up until his upset unanimous decision loss to Hector Luis Garcia in February 2022, it was hard to argue with that assessment.

The switch-hitting 26-year-old Brooklynite is a uniquely gifted fighter with blinding speed and outstanding reflexes. He was dominating his way up the ranks and quickly earning a spot among the most respected young fighters in the game when he suffered his setback. The fairly decisive loss to Garcia was a stunner and it caused the Colbert bandwagon to stall entirely. 

The 23-year-old Jose Valenzuela (12-1, 8 KOs) saw his own bandwagon hobble over to the side of the road last September when he was stopped in a three-round firefight by Edwin De Los Santos. Prior to that, the highly regarded prospect was riding high following a first round KO of former world champ Francisco Vargas.

“Rayo” is a talented offensive fighter whose left hand is especially strong, whether delivered as a hook, an uppercut, or as a straight shot behind a blistering jab. Like Colbert, Valenzuela is a switch-hitter, able to fight from both southpaw and orthodox stances.

With both Colbert and Valenzuela coming off high-profile, career-stalling losses, this Saturday’s lightweight showdown is a true “must win” contest in a division stacked with talent and lucrative big fight opportunities. 

Cody Crowley vs. Abel Ramos

Canada’s Cody Crowley (21-0, 9 KOs) is making a case for himself as part of the next wave of welterweight standouts. Recent decisive victories over veteran war horse Josesito Lopez and then-undefeated top contender Kudratillo Abdukakhorov make the case for his main stage worthiness

Now fighting out of Las Vegas, the 29-year-old one-time sparring partner of Floyd Mayweather and Gervonta Davis has a good jab from the southpaw stance that he uses to the head and body. His best offensive weapons may be a sharp straight left hand and a solid right hook, but his most useful offensive asset is his ability to establish the pace and space of a bout with his stiff jab and high-end ring generalship. 

Abel Ramos (27-5-2, 21 KOs) is a blue collar battler whose tenacious nature keeps him in fights, even when facing opponents blessed with next-level athleticism and elite-level skills. All-around solid in skill and ability, the 31-year-old native of Casa Grande, Arizona has a good jab when he chooses to utilize it and works the body well. In this contest, he will also sport an edge in high-end experience, with a resume that features five former or current world champions and a handful of top contenders.

Although coming off a points loss to Luke Santamaria in his last bout, the older brother of the fighting Ramos family is not too far removed from, arguably, the best three-fight run of his career. From February 2020 to May 2021, Ramos stopped both Omar Figueroa Jr. and Bryant Perrella and lost a close split decision to Yordenis Ugas in a try for the vacant WBA welterweight title. 

The winner of Crowley-Ramos takes one full step closer to title contention and to a shot at establishing himself as a presence in the deep end of the talented, top-heavy, and lucrative welterweight division.

For a closer look at Benavidez vs Plant, check out our fight night page. 

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The undefeated welterweight contender is closing in on his world title aspirations as he prepares to face the dangerous Abel Ramos Saturday night on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View.

On Saturday night, undefeated welterweight contender Cody Crowley opens the SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View telecast (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) against veteran Abel Ramos in a Premier Boxing Champions event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. 

For Crowley, it’s been a long journey to realizing his dreams of fighting at the famed boxing venue. Nearly 10 years ago, he moved from his home in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada to Las Vegas and made several promises to himself. 

“When I first moved to Vegas at 21, I was living at the Hooters Hotel right across the street from the MGM,” Crowley recalled. “I remember waking up every day looking across at the MGM saying that I'd fight there one day. Almost a decade later, here we are.”

As part of that goal, he promised from age 21 to 31, he would give boxing everything he had. 

“I promised myself that I’d become a world champion in those ten years,” Crowley said. “And if I didn’t, then I’d allow myself to do whatever else came up. But for those ten years, I promised I’d dedicate my whole life to boxing.” 

He’s done just that. But the journey was a lot harder than he ever imagined. Thanks to three very different men – his late father, his trainer Ibn Caron, and Floyd Mayweather – Crowley is poised to reach his ultimate goal. 

Honoring His Father

Growing up in Canada, it seemed like every kid was expected to play hockey. However, Crowley’s father put his chubby child into kickboxing to stay in shape. Thus began his boxing journey. 

Crowley describes his father as a blue-collar type, a hard worker—and his biggest fan. But he was someone with demons.

“As I was growing older, most of our relationship was just through my boxing,” Crowley said. “I would win, and I would get his acceptance, but there wasn't much communication back and forth.”

Last summer, as Crowley was finally seeing success with his career, his father committed suicide. “A lot of his demons his from his childhood that he wasn't able to work through caught up to him. And I feel like a lot of those demons are what caused me and his relationship to go a little bit sour.” 

While Crowley is still processing the huge loss, he decided to learn from what had happened. “It has allowed me to take the role as a man and a person a lot better. And it has shown and been an inspiration to me to open up more and share my feelings. One of the ways that I'm doing that is talking about my own demons, my own personal issues. I’ve battled with suicide a lot.”

To honor his father, for his upcoming fight, Crowley has partnered with 55 For 55: Let’s Tackle Suicide Awareness in his hometown of Peterborough, Canada. The organization is holding several fundraisers and has a goal of raising $55,000 before the fight. 

“They offer help to people who are in a bad place and need assistance,” Crowley explained. “And if you can't afford therapy or other healing modalities, that's how they help. I’m using my dad's passing as a way to raise money and help others who were in the situation that he was in.” 

A Trainer’s Influence 

While his father pushed him toward boxing, Crowley knew he wasn’t going to excel training in Canada. So, when he graduated high school, he headed to Las Vegas to train. Crowley admits he was a diamond in the rough. He sought trainer Ibn Cason but was initially turned away. 

“My boxing IQ was a lot lower than the fighters he was used to,” Crowley admitted. “My abilities were a lot lower than what he was used to. He didn't see anything there that he wanted to work with. But I kept showing up every single day. I was the first one there and the last to leave and months later I started to get the better out of these people who had greater skills and more experience than me.”

I promised myself that I’d become a world champion in those ten years. Undefeated Welterweight Contender - Cody Crowley

Impressed by his work ethic, Cason started working closely with Crowley, and has been in his corner for all 21 of his pro victories. 

“We've molded a beautiful relationship, which has turned into family,” said Crowley. “It only makes our connection that much stronger in the ring.”

Like other things in Crowley’s life, the journey up the ranks wasn’t easy. “It’s been a lot of years of headaches, of obstacles, of fights getting canceled, of having to pay for fights, and of funding everything ourselves. We didn't take any handouts. We didn't have any favors. I've literally done everything the hard way to get to this point. I earned my spot.” 

Learning From TBE 

While Ibn helped craft Crowley into one of the top welterweights in boxing today, it was a chance sparring session with the TBE that showed Crowley he could compete at the elite level.

When Floyd Mayweather was training for his fight with Manny Pacquiao, Crowley was brought in to be one of his sparring partners. 

“It was a life-changing event for me,” Crowley said. “I went into the deepest waters of my life. I asked myself, ‘Are you going to take a knee right now, go home, and shut the door on this dream? Or do you have what it takes inside to man up and become a world champion one day?’ And 12 rounds later, Floyd tapped my gloves, said good job, and I became one of his two sparring partners for that camp.”

Through the estimated 200 rounds sparring together, Crowley learned many valuable lessons from Mayweather. 

“It showed me muscles and power don't mean anything,” Crowley said. “It's the operator behind all of that stuff. I would see Floyd set up things in rounds and come back later and catch them off guard. He would set traps for people nonstop. I learned boxing isn't one dimensional. It’s about really strategically breaking your opponent down physically, but also the human psyche at the same time.”

“I learned his brain was operating on another level. It showed me that most guys were playing around in elementary school and he's working from the university level. I couldn't be any more grateful after that sparring session happened.”

Since his experience with Mayweather, the 29-year-old Crowley has sparred some of the best in the business, including Timothy Bradley and Chris Algieri.

“That one opportunity opened up so many doors that just led to more and more experience working with the best fighters in the world. I got so many different looks, different personalities, different styles, that it taught me how to handle whatever is placed in front of me in any situation.”

In fact, Crowley said that doesn’t watch or prepare for a fighter specifically ahead of time, but instead adjusts after seeing the fighter in the ring for the first round. 

“I come fully prepared and work with every style possible,” said Crowley. “But I like to go into every fight with no game plan. I have my basic plan, but I take the first round to let my opponent present as much information to me, then create my game plan on the fly.” 

This, along with inspiration from his late father, the bond with his trainer, and the experience with Mayweather, have put Crowley in a position to realize his dreams—in the venue he always dreamed about. 

For a closer look at Cody Crowley, check out his fighter page.  

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A look back at some of the greatest matchups in 168-pound history ahead of the highly-anticipated showdown between David Benavidez and Caleb Plant Saturday in Las Vegas on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View.

Saturday night’s super middleweight battle between undefeated two-time 168-pound world champion David Benavidez and former world champion Caleb Plant is one of the biggest-possible matchups in the sport.

The long-awaited showdown headlines a Premier Boxing Champions event from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, live on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT). Benavidez-Plant is only the latest on a long list of important 168-pound fights since the division went mainstream in the mid-1980s. Here are five of the most memorable super middleweight battles:


Date: June 12, 1989 

Location: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas

Background: Fans often reminisce about the first fight between Leonard and Hearns, the classic welterweight showdown that a 25-year-old Leonard won by a dramatic 14th-round knockout in 1981. It took eight long years for them to do it again, with both future Hall of Famers past their primes. They were living legends, though. For that reason the rematch generated tremendous crossover interest worldwide. And the old rivals didn’t disappoint, delivering the kind of ebbs and flows that make a fight memorable. Hearns, who carried his power to every weight at which he fought, put Leonard down in round three. The resilient Leonard hurt and almost took out Hearns in a harrowing round five. Sugar Ray went down again in round 11. And, finally, Leonard rallied with a strong round 12 to stave off defeat. The scores: 113-112, 112-113 and 112-112. Many observers thought Hearns deserved the nod but he didn’t complain vociferously. Both men were happy to have given a good showing.

Quote: “I think we both showed we're champions,” Leonard said.


Date: Nov. 18, 1994 

Location: MGM Grand, Las Vegas 

Background: This fight was more of a coronation than a pitched battle. Hindsight tells us that Jones and Toney were two of the most gifted all-around fighters ever, as both of them landed in the International Boxing Hall of Fame. And they were in their physical primes when they met, Toney 26 and Jones 25. Everyone expected a good, competitive fight as the ultra-talented Jones took on his toughest test to date against a man ranked among the very best worldwide. Instead, Jones served notice that the next pound-for-pound king had arrived, outclassing the favored 168-pound titleholder from the opening bell to put Toney down in round three and win an impossibly wide decision. Toney simply couldn’t cope with Jones’ otherworldly tools, most notably hand and foot speed that was reminiscent of a prime Sugar Ray Leonard. You can’t avoid what you can’t see. The legend of Roy Jones Jr. took hold that night.

Quote: “I knew my hands were so fast and my feet so quick that all I had to do was box,” Jones said.


Date: Feb. 25, 1995 

Location: London Arena, London

Background: One of the division’s most vicious battles was also one of the sport’s most tragic. Benn, the WBC titleholder, and McClellan, making his 168-pound debut, entered the fight as two of the most feared knockout artists in the business. Benn had already made history with his epic two-fight series with countryman Chris Eubank. And McClellan was on a run of 13 consecutive stoppages, including first-rounders in his previous three fights. McClellan attacked from the outset, knocking the hometown fighter out of the ring in the first round. Then, after savage back-and-forth exchanges over the next seven rounds, McClellan put Benn down again in the eighth. That’s when the tragic nature of the fight began to emerge. McClellan retreated in round nine and, after taking a few hard shots, he took a knee in round 10. He never fought again. He collapsed in his corner, was rushed to a hospital and diagnosed with a severe brain injury, which left him permanently disabled. A great fight became an example of how cruel the sport can be.

Quote: “One thing he always says to me is, ‘Did I lose that night?' I always tell him, ‘No, you won,’” McClellan’s sister Lisa said.


Date: December 17, 2011 

Location: Boardwalk Hall, Atlantic City, N.J.

Background: The Super Six World Boxing Classic was a tremendous platform for some of the top 168-pounders of the late 2000s and early 2010s. Veterans Arthur Abraham and Mikkel Kessler were among the favorites to win the tournament. Somewhere near the bottom of the list was the 25-year-old Andre Ward, the 2004 Olympic champion who entered the fight with minimal big-fight experience as a professional. In the end, we learned what Ward was all about. He outclassed in succession Kessler, Allan Green, Abraham and finally Froch in the championship bout. We learned in four impressive performances that Ward had rare ability and the bearing of a more mature fighter, which allowed him to beat the rugged, more-experienced Froch convincingly and climb onto pound-for-pound lists overnight. An all-time great fighter was born in that tournament.

Quote: "I can't believe it, I can't believe it. It's not so unbelievable that we never thought we were going to win, but now that it's happened, it is unbelievable,” Ward said.


Date: May 31, 2014 

Location: Wembley Stadium, London

Background: Froch and Groves engaged in one of the more-compelling two-fight series of the 2010s. The first one had a controversial ending, as some believe referee Howard Foster jumped in too soon to save Groves from taking undue punishment and give Froch a TKO victory in Manchester. A rematch was in order. And 80,000 packed Wembley to see it. They weren’t disappointed. Froch, a two-belt champion, and Groves once again fought on even terms for six back-and-forth rounds. Then, in round eight, came a historic conclusion to the fight and series. Froch threw a lazy left hook that distracted Groves and followed with an epic right cross to the jaw that rendered Groves unconscious before he hit the canvas and sent the massive crowd into a tizzy. Froch retired after the fight, making the stunning stoppage one of the great mic-drops in the history of the sport.

Quote: “I knew it was only going to take a couple of big right hands to the chin and I timed it perfectly,” Froch said.

For a closer look at Benavidez vs Plant, check out our fight night page. 

David Benavidez, Jose Valenzuela & Benavidez vs. Plant

THU, JAN 01, 1970

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Benavidez and Valenzuela discuss their upcoming fights as we look ahead to Saturday night's monster PBC on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View card.

Undefeated two-time WBC world super middleweight champion David Benavidez and lightweight contender Jose Valenzuela are this week's guests on The PBC Podcast. Both Benavidez and Valenzuela are hyper-focused as they prepare for their bouts this Saturday, March 25 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

Benavidez discusses camp and his mindset headed into his main event versus Caleb Plant on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) while Valenzuela talks about bouncing back from a loss and facing a do or die moment versus Chris Colbert on the Benavidez-Plant undercard. Plus, hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Michael Rosenthal break down this weekend's entire Pay-Per-View card and much more. 

For a closer look at David Benavidez and Jose Valenzuela, check out their fighter pages. 

The PBC Podcast is a weekly boxing show featuring timely analysis and interviews with the sport’s biggest figures. The show is published every Wednesday on YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, Soundcloud, Stitcher, Spreaker and other outlets. Alternatively, listeners can find The PBC Podcast on the PBC website at www.premierboxingchampions.com/podcast.

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The respected trainer of former 168-pound world champ Caleb Plant discusses the nuances of the game ahead of Plant's mega-showdown versus David Benavidez Saturday night in Las Vegas on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View.

This Saturday, March 25, longtime adversaries David Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) and Caleb Plant (22-1, 13 KOs) finally meet inside the squared circle with Benavidez’s interim WBC Super Middleweight World Title – and much more – at stake.

The bout headlines a Premier Boxing Champions event at MGM Grand in Las Vegas, live on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT)

Plant’s head coach, Stephen “Breadman” Edwards, will be in the former IBF world champion’s corner for the second time on fight night. You could say they’re off to a good start: In their first fight together last October, Plant earned PBC’s Knockout of the Year award, stopping former two-time world champion Anthony Dirrell with a single shot in the ninth round.

Ahead of Saturday’s big fight, Edwards took the time to break down the fundamentals of boxing and how Caleb Plant utilizes them in the ring.

It All Starts With the Jab

Against Dirrell, who trains out of the famed Kronk Gym in Detroit, Plant employed a consistent jab to throw Dirrell off and keep him guessing.

“Kronk fighters, they have big right hands,” Edwards said. “We wanted to keep Dirrell from lining us up with the right hand. I knew Dirrell had a big right hand. He has a lot of knockouts and I faced him before with another one of my fighters, Kyrone Davis. 

“Most fighters parry the jab with their right hand. We jabbed Dirrell in different spots to occupy his right hand, so he wouldn't be so inclined to throw it. It just kind of threw him off and he didn't land a lot of right hands in that fight.”

Plant also utilized lead right hands and hooks more often in that bout.

“Even if you're super talented or super fast, if you keep giving the same look over and over, eventually he will pick up on it and to be able to counter punch you,” Edwards said. “Caleb is known for a good jab, so sometimes we would just switch it up and lead with the right hand to change the look, so he couldn't start timing Caleb.

“And it wasn't something I had to ask him to do, to be honest. It was something that we went over in training so it could become muscle memory, and then when he saw it in the fight, he could just do it.”

Footwork & Positioning

Plant utilized elite-level positioning and movement in the fight against Dirrell. Edwards explained, “Dirrell wanted to move Caleb to his right. I saw that he was letting Caleb go over there and I think somebody from Dirrell’s corner screamed it. I was like, ‘Caleb, just keep going to your right because he's gonna have to cross his body to hit you with a right hand.’ 

“I don't think that they thought Caleb can go to his right, but he can. Then Dirrell had to cross all the way over his body and hit a faster guy with his right hand. So that just worked out for us.”

Plant’s ability to move in both directions with fluidity is no accident. 

“Every single thing we do in the gym—if he can do it to his left, he has to do it to his right. Or if he can do it going forward, he has to do it backwards. He has a lot of dexterity.”

There is pressure in a fight. Caleb Plant Trainer - Stephen "Breadman" Edwards

Protect Yourself At All Times

“I think Caleb’s defense lies in his feet,” Edwards said. “Some days your eyes are just on and you just pick up on the punches a little bit better than other days.

“Caleb is a little bit fancy with his defense…I let him do his thing, because he has to get his rhythm a certain kind of way. We have a compromise with it. Sometimes I'll let him do the fancy stuff, but I believe in hands up, chin down, elbows in, you know, keep your defense nice and fundamental. Everybody is not blessed with catlike reflexes like Muhammad Ali or Roy Jones.

“When your defense lies in your fundamentals, your reflexes don't have to be as good. But Caleb is a good athlete, so sometimes he relies on his reflexes. I'm trying to get him to rely on both: his reflexes and his fundamentals. 

“Our defense in this fight [against Benavidez] has to be even better because David is a little faster than Anthony. He punches in bunches more and he's really good at getting fighters up against the ropes.”

Control Distance

“Breadman” believes in teaching his fighters to be comfortable fighting at any range, including on the inside.

“Inside fighting is something we do constantly in the gyms in Philadelphia, where in other places they may not be on it as much. It's an acquired skill. In training sometimes I’ll tell Caleb to stay inside and work there for a while.

“Sometimes on the inside you use your tactile reflexes, where you're touching the guy and you can feel when he's going to punch. It's something that you got to do over and over again, like anything else, but obviously it's very dangerous because you're right next to the opponent.”

Champion Mindset

“There is pressure in a fight,” said Edwards. “The fighter’s adrenaline is up, cortisol gets released in the body, they're getting hit in the head, you know…so from my experience, you practice something in the gym and the scenario to use it in, and you just hope that the fighter's muscle memory and instincts take over. 

“You know when the fighter is really on his game because he'll do it instinctively—he won't have to think about it. That comes from practicing over and over again.”

Edwards is a big proponent of sparring in training, not just for the benefits of practicing boxing technique but its mental benefits as well.

“You hear all these people on the medical side saying, don't spar. Well, it'd be pretty tough to spar 10 rounds a week getting ready for a 12-round fight. You got to spar. And you want to simulate as much as you can: The stress. The heart rate. The emotions. Because it's not always if a guy is in physical shape, sometimes mentally he burns out in the fight because he's not managing his stress.

“You got to find a happy medium with sparring. You don't want a guy to get his butt kicked in sparring or leave everything in the gym, but you definitely don't want a guy that's sparring too easy and then he gets in the fight, he gets pushed, and he doesn't respond to it. It hardens your body, it hardens your mind, it gets you ready for the fight. 

“And for Caleb, there are a lot of emotions in his fights. For some reason, his opponents don't like him, and it's so emotional. Emotions can burn you out and make you fatigued. If you get into a hard argument with somebody, see how your heart rate goes up. It's fatiguing. So imagine that being in a fight. I want him to get the feel of that, as much as he can.”

For a closer look at Benavidez vs Plant, check out our fight night page. 

David Morrell, Kenny Ellis Talk Boxing

THU, JAN 01, 1970

TOMORROW: Benavidez vs Plant


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