IBF super-middleweight champion Caleb Plant (20-0, 12 KOs) defends his title tonight against Caleb Truax (31-4-2, 19 KOs) to conclude what has been a quiet January for boxing. Plant took the title in 2019 when he unseated José Uzcategui. He sent the Venezuelan to the canvas twice in an excellent performance. Plant has made two defences of his title against Mike Lee and Vincent Feigenbutz. Though the opposition wasn’t quite up to the standards he faced to win the title, Plant did what he was supposed to do and looked the part of an elite fighter when he easily dominated and stopped them.
Truax held the belt briefly after he upset James DeGale but lost it in the immediate rematch. Since then he has stopped journeyman Fabiano Pena and a cut suffered due to a clash of heads put a stop to his fight with Peter Quillin after just two rounds. More worryingly, he struggled to get to a majority decision win in his last fight against David Basajjamivule, a 41 year old who hadn’t fought in almost 3 years. Basajjamivule was on the wrong side of two harsh point deductions for rabbit punching which took the result from a draw to a win for Truax and some would argue that a draw was flattering in the first place.
At his best Truax was a competent, hard nosed fighter who might have been to give Plant some work. However he’s 37, he hasn’t fought in a year and is coming off of a very bad performance while Plant looks like one of the very best fighters at the weight in his prime. Stylistically, the cornerstone of Plant’s game is his excellent jabs which he uses very well, be it to the head or the body to control the range of the fight. His left hook off of the jab is also a great strength of his and though he is not a lights out puncher, his hook is fast, accurate and powerful enough to send anybody down. Though he does most of his work on the back foot, he can turn up the offense once he’s established control of the fight and reads guards very well. This allows him to exploit holes with 3 to 4 punches combinations varying targets, using head shots to open up the body and vice versa. As Truax does his best work on the inside, it is hard to envision him getting past the lead hand of Plant often enough to consistently win rounds and a dominating performance for Plant culminating in a mid-rounds stoppage seems likely.
Hopefully this sets up Plant for bigger and better things. I think he would be Canelo’s most compelling opponent at super-middleweight but a fight with David Benavidez would also be an interesting possibility.
The most noteworthy fights on the undercard are a heavyweight prospect clash between Michael Polite Coffie (11-0, 8 KOs) and Darmani Rock (17-0, 12 KOs) and the return of former IBF lightweight champion Rances Barthelemy (27-1-1, 14 KOs) after almost 2 years away from the ring.
Plant vs Truax airs on Fox on Saturday, January 30th at 8:00pm ET / 5:00pm PT.