The sight of January 13th on a calendar will always bring a smile to Caleb Plant’s face.
It was on that day in 2019 when he dropped to a knee and proposed to then-girlfriend Jordan Hardy. The scrapbook moment came shortly after the biggest win in Plant’s career, a 12-round decision over Jose Uzcategui to claim the IBF super middleweight title.
Plant and Hardy (now Jordan Plant) wed later that October, having emerged as boxing’s power couple. His stay as an unbeaten super middleweight titlist is still going strong, having recently passed the two-year threshold—and in fact the division’s longest reign. Still, the memory of his thoroughly outfighting the perceived super middleweight boogeyman is just that these days—a memory.
“It was a real accomplishment and a great night,” Plant told BoxingScene.com, though hardly celebrating the milestone. “That night’s gone. I’m more focused on making great nights ahead.
“Big things are ahead. I feel like I’m the best in the super middleweight division and that big things are gonna come. Things take time.”
Next up for the unbeaten 28-year old Plant (20-0, 12KOs) is a mandatory title defense versus former champ Caleb Truax (31-4-2, 19KOs). Their scheduled 12-round bout takes place this Saturday, live on Fox from Shrine Auditorium and Expo Hall in Los Angeles, barely two miles from Microsoft Theater where his title reign began.
Plant will attempt the third defense of his title, though his first fight in nearly a year. The Tennessee native a homecoming in his last outing, an 11th round stoppage of Germany’s Feigenbutz last February at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The fight took place roughly 30 minutes from Ashland City where he was born and raised and just 10 minutes from Music City Boxing Club where he and gym founder and head trainer Justin Gamber regularly trained before heading west to Las Vegas in 2017.
The night marked Plant’s first career fight in his home state, while his upcoming bout with Truax marks his fourth straight headliner on a Fox Sports platform. The win over Uzcategui set a viewership record as the most watched boxing match to ever air on FS1, with knockout victories over Mike Lee (July 2019) and Feigenbutz both airing live in primetime on Fox, as will be the case this weekend.
Plant is a heavy favorite to get past the 37-year old Truax—a respectable contender who held this very title three years ago. A win will pave the way for what Plant hopes will be a big 2021 campaign, with Saturday’s fight intentionally staged to enjoy a more active campaign and room to chase bigger fights.
Of course, the biggest of them all would be a title unification clash with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (54-1-2, 36KOs). The pound-for-pound king and unified WBC/WBA titlist will face a mandatory challenger of his own in Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12KOs) on Feb. 27th at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida. A win by the Mexican superstar will set up a planned quick return on May 8, in celebration of the preceding Cinco de Mayo holiday. Plant remains in the running to land the assignment, though perhaps a slight underdog to fellow unbeaten titlist Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14KOs) in the Canelo sweepstakes.
Even if the fight doesn’t line up next for Plant, it remains actively discussed between both camps—enough to where all parties involved remain convinced it will take place this year.
“The [Canelo] fight’s gonna happen,” vows Plant. “Canelo is saying the fight’s gonna happen. His team is saying it. I’m telling you it’s gonna happen. My team is telling you.
“So, the fight will happen. Everyone’s just gonna have to pump the brakes a little bit and wait. I promise the fight will happen at the right time. Right now, I’m just focused on Jan. 30th.”
From there can come the quest of creating new memories inside the ring.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox