Caleb Plant: more than a champion

Born to a poor family and raised in a small town just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, Caleb Plant has faced more than just hard-hitting opponents in the ring. The now super-middleweight champion has led a life filled with difficulty, from sleeping on a dirty futon in the back of an office building, to watching his 20-month-old daughter pass away in ICU, his life has been a constant battle.

But that hasn’t stopped the undefeated champion. If anything, it has made him stronger in the ring and almost unbeatable in his mind. Whether it be going to bed hungry, selling drugs for his mother or sleeping in a rundown building, Caleb has admitted that growing up rough has made him the fighter he is today.
“Without all of those things that happened to me as a child and being young and alone at one time, with no place to stay, with times like that, knowing what it was like to be cold and hungry, I wouldn’t be where I am today,” Caleb said.
“This might sound crazy, but I think I needed that. I needed to be put into the fire to be forged into steel. I needed those days, because it’s made it possible for the days ahead of me.”

Tough love

Caleb Plant controlling the ring
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Perhaps the only positive light in Plant’s life was his father. Despite his rocky relationship with Caleb’s mother, he was a rock for his son to lean on, a motivating voice for him to listen to and an inspirational guide leading him towards greatness. That’s not to say that he was easy on Caleb, in fact he was the complete opposite. He would encourage and force Plant to find it within himself to take that extra step, throw that extra punch, run that extra meter.
It is that delicate balance between unconditional and tough love that has seen Plant storm his way to a professional record of 18-0-0 (10 K.O) and the super-middleweight title. After turning pro in 2014, Plant went on to win eight of his first nine fights by knockout, six of which took place in the first round.

The chance of a lifetime

Caleb Plant wins the IBF tite
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Eventually, four years after turning pro, Plant was handed a shot at the IBF super-middleweight title. He would be forced to face tough Venezuelan, José Uzcátegui, who, up until that point, had only lost two of his last 30 fights and had won 23 of the remaining 28 by knockout.
Plant would put on a boxing spectacle throughout the 12-round bout, knocking Uzcátegui to the canvas on two separate occasions. It was by no means an easy fight for the American, though, with the fight looking to slip away from him in the later rounds.
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At the final bell it looked as though Plant had done enough, but it was difficult to tell. Short of knocking Uzcátegui out, he had done everything he could, and his fate lay with the judges. As you can expect, he won by unanimous decision, and broke down shortly after having his hand raised. But the best night of his life didn’t end there. In his change room, the new champion proposed to his girlfriend, Jordan Hardy.
“A lot of good things have gone on in my life, starting with Jordan,” Plant said. “She’s another reason why I am where I am today. I still believe that, no matter what, I would be a world champion.
“But I wouldn’t be doing things at the level I am without her. It’s nice to do things with a partner. I have a best friend that we do everything together.”


Defending more than the title

Caleb Plant ready to face Mike LeeImage source:

On the 20th of July, Plant will defend his title for the first time at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. He will face Mike Lee, another powerful opponent, who despite being a heavy underdog, will push the champ to his limits, and Plant is well aware of this fact. The champ has already started firing digs at his opponent in an attempt to throw him off his game.

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“Mike Lee may have a financial degree, but in boxing, I have a Ph.D,” Plant said last month at the press conference to announce the bout. “That's something he doesn't know anything about. I came from very rock bottom, where nobody makes it out. If he thinks I'm going to let him mess this up for me, he's not half as educated as I thought he was. I have everything to lose. Every night from now until July 20, I hope Lee and his team are envisioning the words ‘and still,’ because that's all anyone is going to hear on fight night.”
Plant v De Angel
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Regardless of who you think will win this fight, there is no doubt that Caleb Plant is an extraordinary fighter, one who has truly been on his knees, but has not been afraid to stand up and punch back. As often as life has had him on the ropes, he has always bobbed and weaved his way out of trouble, hitting hard, and ending up on top.

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Published: 07/17/2019