It was clear that Caleb Plant did not lose his confidence.
The last time we saw him in the ring, he beat the balance-pounder Canelo Alvarez, who stop Tennessee in 11order became the undisputed super-middleweight champion last November in Las Vegas.
Plant returns to battle veteran Anthony Dirrell on the Deontay Wilder-Robert Helenius card on October 15 in Brooklyn and predicts things won’t go well for the former owner.
“He’s going to retire after this,” Plant said during a virtual press conference. “He’s done. I’m going to beat him up in a way that he won’t want to be involved in this anymore.”
Plant (21-1, 12 KOs) was sublime ahead of the match against Alvarez, having successfully defended the 168-pound IBF title he won overtaking Jose Uzcategui in 2019.
And he was reasonably acquitted of the Mexican star before he got tired and was caught with a left-right combination that knocked him down and injured him in the penultimate round. He got up but quickly descended again, which ended his night.
Plant looks back on the setbacks as a lesson learned.
“The biggest thing I took away from the fight with Canelo Alvarez was the overall experience,” he said. “Experience is not something you can buy. You have to go through it to get it. Obviously I made the omission and there was no excuse there.
“I went right back to my team and back to work.”
He certainly didn’t pick a pusher for his return opponent.
Dirrell (34-2-2, 25 KOs) is 37 and only 1-1-1 in his last three skirmishes but is still capable. He was compete with David Benavidez before falling victim to a terrible cut and big hits from Benavidez in the ninth round in 2019, costing him his life.
He then drew with slick Kyrone Davis last February before stopping top laner Marcos Hernandez for four rounds and eight months later.
Plant insists he doesn’t look past Dirrell but has also taken some pictures of him.
“He’s never had a successful title defense,” he said. “He knocked out a middleweight opponent (Hernandez) in his last game. We’re not even in the same galaxy as the guy he fought. The list goes on. …
“He says what he wants, but when was the last time he beat a real super-middleweight?”
Whatever Dirrell brings, Plant says he’ll be ready for it.
He said he had an outstanding game in training camp, against Carlos Adames, Shane Mosley Jr., Davis and others. And he already has respected coach Stephen Edwards in camp, which he says has bolstered his preparation.
He plans to prove it on October 15.
“I just focus on the task at hand and the battle ahead,” he said. “Just because I know I will beat him, doesn’t mean I look past him.
“The only way to achieve your long-term goals is to accomplish your short-term goals.”