David Benavidez Tops Caleb Plant By Unanimous Decision
LAS VEGAS – After a very slow start, David Benavidez caught up to Caleb Plant, dominating the back half of the fight and earning a unanimous decision (scores: 115-113, 116-112, 117-111) in a fight nearly five years in the making. ITRBoxing scored the fight 115-113 for Benavidez.
For the first half of the fight, Plant’s constant movement, defensive slickness and hand speed seemed to really bother Benavidez (27-0, 23 ko) and prevent him from getting off. Plant (22-2, 13 ko) was able to keep Benavidez at bay with his jab to the body, and anytime Benavidez would get in range to punch, Plant did a great job of closing distance and smothering Benavidez. I even thought to myself at one point during the fifth round “David looks a little lost in there”.
But Benavidez kept the pressure up and started making Caleb pay for clinching, roughing Plant up and making it very physical. Somewhere in the mix of all that, he started landing hard shots to both the head and body that continued to wear down Plant and slow his mobility. By the start of the 10th, Benavidez had clearly won several consecutive rounds, likely pulling ahead and gaining steam while Plant seemed to be transitioning into survival mode. Plant had some nice flurries down the stretch, but Benavidez dominated the final few rounds of the fight.
Tactically, Plant came out with the right game plan. He never allowed Benavidez to set and punch and kept him off balance. But he didn’t assert anything offensively to deter David from walking him down, and pressure built up. I think a combination of Benavidez adjusting and Plant fading led to Plant’s gradual breakdown. But the first half of the fight at least raised the question: how will David do against someone who boxes well and can really sustain a gameplan for twelve rounds, and does that guy exist at super middleweight? Of course the answer is Canelo Alvarez. (58-2-2, 39 ko), and while there are really interesting young fighters at the division like David Morrell and Diego Pacheco (who he likely won’t fight because they train together), we don’t know as much about how those guys will sustain under pressure in a twelve round fight. At 168, Canelo vs Benavidez is the fight.
Before that can happen, Canelo has to get past John Ryder, who is surely an underdog but a credible opponent nonetheless. He has also continued expressing interest in a rematch with Dmitriy Bivol, and we will have to see how aggressively he pursues that fight before taking on Benavidez. If Canelo were to seek that rematch out next, it would be hard to say he was “ducking” Benavidez, or anyone else for that matter, but it would prevent the best fight at super middleweight at the moment from happening while it’s hot.
Jesus Ramos Dominates Joey Spencer for 7th Round Stoppage
In perhaps the most impressive performance of the night, 22 year old jr. middleweight Jesus Ramos (20-0, 16 ko) dominated and stopped fellow prospect Joey Spencer (16-1, 10 ko) in the seventh round of a fight Spencer could never really get himself into.
Spencer started the fight aggressively in the first, throwing fast combinations at Ramos while he got a look at Spencer. But a hard knockdown at the end of the round changed the course of the fight, and Ramos stalked Spencer for the remainder of the fight and tactically picked Spencer apart. Spencer couldn’t handle the angles, footwork, and IQ of Ramos, who may be young but already looks like one of the best that 154 lbs has to offer.
This fight was stopped a little late for my liking. It became obvious in the fourth round that Spencer didn’t have anything to turn the fight around and was in over his head. As much as I am glad that the fight was stopped when it was, Spencer is a really good young fighter with a long career ahead of him that showed the bravery to take a massive step up, and I hope the punishment he took in this fight doesn’t effect him moving forward. Young fighters should always be rewarded for taking risks.
For Ramos, it is tough to know how quickly to move a fighter so young yet so talented and mature. You name any top guy in the division; Brian Castano, Tim Tszyu, even Jermell Charlo, I like Ramos’ chances. Whatever he does next I am not entirely sure, but he is one of the best young talents in boxing right now.
Chris Colbert Wins Controversial Decision over Jose “Rayo” Valenzuela
Despite being dropped and badly hurt in the first and seemingly outworked in the majority of rounds, Chris Colbert (17-1, 6 ko) won a unanimous decision over Rayo Valenzuela (12-2, 8 ko) by scores of 95-94 from all three judges. ITRBoxing scored the fight 96-93 for Valenzuela.
Rayo could have probably finished the. fight in the first, and I. am sure looking back now he will regret not having done that. He had Colbert badly hurt multiple times in the. round. But Colbert showed a lot of grit and determination, willing his way back into the fight and winning some rounds along the way. It should have been a clear win for Rayo and a moral victory for Colbert who showed the character of a fighter. Instead, we get a bad decision that does nothing to benefit either guy. For Rayo, he will likely lose out on some opportunities that would have come about with a win, and for Colbert the performance does little to up the demand to see his fights outside of being a tough, entertaining guy. All the respect in the world to both guys for taking the fight, but the decision soured what was otherwise a great fight to watch and warranted praise of both guys.
Cody Crowley Continues Hot Streak With Majority Decision Win Over Abel Ramos
Rugged welterweight contender Cody Crowley (22-0, 9 ko) won a hard fought majority decision over proven veteran and uncle of Jesus Ramos, Abel Ramos (27-6-2, 21 ko) in a great fight to open up the card.
Crowley spent the majority of the fight stalking Ramos and wearing him down gradually, but as Ramos often does, he stuck with it and rallied down the stretch, landing some hard shots on Crowley and making a real fight of it. Unfortunately it was too little too late, snd Crowley pulled off the win.
The welterweight division is in a such a strange place right now that its tough to talk about any of the top guys without mentioning that. We still have no idea if Terence Crawford and Errol Spence will ever fight, and frankly I am personally losing interest. Its unclear what Boots Ennis will do next. Keith Thurman rarely fights, and Yordenis Ugas has been inactive since losing to Spence. The only interesting fight signed at the moment is Vergil Ortiz vs Eimantis Stanionis on 4/29. So as far as what could be next for Crowley, I am not sure. But his victory in his battle with mental illness is an inspiring one, and he is a fun, interesting, skilled pressure fighter who will make good fights with anyone at the top of the division, whoever that even is.