Plant after one of his title defenses

Boxing Champ Caleb Plant

World Boxing Champ Caleb Plant made a promise to his dying daughter: he will win the title and let no opponent stop him–including Caleb Truax (31-4-2, 19 Kos). Who will fight this Saturday at the Shrine Exposition Center in Los Angeles, California. The fight will air on Saturday on PBC on FOX.

“I love her very much. I would do anything and everything for her. I miss her. I wish she were here,” Caleb Plant told a Los Angeles Times reporter several years ago. “But I feel like she’s in a better place, and luckily, she doesn’t have to suffer anymore.” Plant spoke to a reporter in 2015, on the day that his 19-month-old daughter, Alia, was removed from life support. She had been suffering from a brain disorder that was causing her to suffer 200 seizures a day.

“She was in an induced coma, and I went up to her, and I said, ‘Alia, are you tired of this? Do you not want to do this anymore?'” Plant told writer Kevin Iole. “She’d been through so much. I said, ‘Are you tired? Because if you are, I’m not going to be disappointed in you. I’m not going to be mad at you or upset with you. I want you to know if you don’t want to go through this anymore, I support you. I love you, and your Dad’s not going to be mad at you.'”

Plant's late daughter

 

Plant’s late daughter

After Alia’s, death Plant, 28, promised that no matter. What happened during his boxing career, he would honor her memory by winning a world title when the opportunity came. The opportunity finally came when he defeated then IBF world titlist José Uzcátegui, taking the crown for himself.

On Plant’s has a tattoo of his daughter’s face on his arm. Regardless of the trunks he wears on a given fight, Alia’s name is prominently displayed. Saturday’s contest will be no different.

A Plant ( 20-0, 12 KOs) is a 20-1 favorite to steamroll Truax in a one-sided demolition. Truax, 37, hasn’t had a top-level fight since he faced a faded former champion in Peter Quillin in 2019. That fight ended in no-decision due to a nasty cut Traux suffered over his eye, which required over 28 stitches to repair.

Boxing Champ Caleb Plant

Boxing Champ Caleb Plant has the last scheduled fight in April of last year against Alfredo “Perro” Angulo, a fighter who is arguably past his prime. However, Truax pulled out the day before the fight citing medical reasons ( later revealed that he had been suffering from dehydration). The most recent argument before that came after a long layoff. Truax returned to fighting, challenging David Basajja Mivule, who seen as a “bum” and a comfortable victory. But Truax looked rusty and slow, winning in a close win; one judge scored the bout 94-94, while the other two judges scored the bout 97-91 and 95-93 for Truax.

Given all of Truax’s defects going into the fight with Plant. What motivation will Plant have–outside of keeping his promise to his late daughter–to take Truax seriously?

One reason Plant psyched to defeat Truax is a 2016 tweet from Truax, in which Plant felt Truax disrespected him. “I keep it in my back pocket,” Plant told SecondsOut.com. It has motivated him throughout his intense training for the upcoming fight. The tweet in question said Truax hoped Plant would be knocked out during one of his arguments. Because there was only one Caleb room.

Plant Vs Feigenbutz

Plant Vs. Feigenbutz

In 2018, Plant caused a stir at the Truax-James Degale press conference. When he jaw-jacked Truax from the audience, challenging him to a fight for freedom. Strangely, Truax didn’t respond, accepting Plant’s disrespect without a response. Afterward, Plant talked to Fighthype about Truax’s tweet. “That ain’t a no-good look. I got 12 fights; you also got 30. So I am here today to see if he means what he says, then we can figure it out.”

It is a boxing tradition that fighters seen as enemies; they offer praise to their preferred peers and criticize their enemies. The whole thing feels very childish, and you would think that. Someone who fights professionally would have thicker skin. But like most boxers, Plant is susceptible, especially given the trauma and dysfunction he experienced growing up in Ashland City, Tennessee. His mother, Beth, suffered from severe mental health and substance abuse issues. So Plant and his sisters had to survive the best way they could.

Donated Food

 “We’d bundle up next to little space heaters in the winter. Donated food from churches or we had little to eat,” Plant told reporter Joseph Santoliquito in 2019. “I’d ask for a dollar from people at school for snacks for my little sister and me, and we got served foreclosure papers a lot.” At one point, Plant sold drugs for his mother as a teen. And the mother-son relationship managed to stay healthy until Plant grew tired of his mother’s destructive ways as the fighter reached adulthood. Beth and her son’s relationship ended permanently on a tragic note.

Beth experienced a medical emergency and transported to a hospital in an ambulance. But she became distraught, and the driver pulled over and called 911. When law enforcement arrived on the scene, Beth pulled out a knife and ran toward the officer, who fired a shot and killed her instantly. Plant’s mother’s death happened shortly before one of his title defense fights.

World Boxing Champ Caleb Plant
I Miss My Mother

 “I miss my mother very much. She was a lovely and wonderful lady. She had demons she was battling with,” Plant told reporter Manouk Akopyan in 2019, before his title defense against Mike Lee. “Some of her demons were stronger than she would have liked for them to be. She had her flaws just like anything other humans do, but we still stayed in touch, and we loved each other very much.”

Plant’s father, Richie, was involved in his kids’ lives; however, working nonstop as a driver to pay the family’s mounting bills forced him to spend long hours away from home. Plant’s father took what little money he had and forced. His son joins boxing in the hopes of protecting him from the dangers of the streets. Where many of Plant’s friends were addicted to drugs and moving in and out of jail.

“What I have now didn’t come easy, and it’s not something that I want to lose,” Plant told Akopyan. “This is the life that I asked for, worked for, and want to keep. To me, boxing is life or death.”

Truax, by comparison, is your typical Minnesota friendly. He’s low-key and unassuming; in boxing terms, he is what you call boring. He represents Minnesota proudly with his generally quiet personality. But in the fight game, Truax’s noble demeanor means little. Fans are not interested in niceness; they want their boxers speaking and fighting to be belligerent, quarrelsome, and destructive. It might be where we see Truax’s downfall on Saturday. He’s a slow starter and doesn’t have the hand speed, who goes by “Sweethands.” Truax’s recent inactivity, health issues, and advanced age may prove burdensome as the fight progresses.

Truax after his mega title win

 

Truax after his mega title win

This weekend Truax will go up against a Plant that has something to prove. Many fans and members of the boxing media, criticized by many fans, are growing impatient with the cat-and-mouse game that Plant and other top-level fighters in 168-pound are playing. The biggest name fighters in the division continue to jaw-jack and tease fans, each saying they promise to destroy their opponent in the ring. But they are doing nothing to suggest they are working on making that happen.

David Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) is a former world champion and a devastating fighter who continues to call out Plant. But to Plant’s credit, he does the same. Then there’s kingpin Canelo Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs), who is considered the best in the division. And holds the WBA/WBC/Ring champ belts. If Plant (20-0-12) defeated Alverez, Plant would be the undisputed champion and receive the glory and millions of dollars that come with those accomplishments. Is something Plant knows?

Wanted Fight

 “It was a fight I wanted, and it was a fight that I was ready for. And anyone that follows me, you know they’ve been seeing me working throughout the pandemic,” Plant told SecondsOut.

For now, Plant better buckle down and plant his feet because Truax can still dig down and is well-suited for a dog fight. This fact makes him more enthusiastic about performing well.

“He upset some people before who didn’t take him seriously,” Plant told SecondsOut. But Plant, who married Jorden Plant, a PBC boxing reporter last year, said of Truax: “This isn’t somebody I am overlooking or looking past, but I am looking through him. I am looking to put on a dominant performance to stop him that’s either him. And his team throwing in the white towel, I throw in the white towel for him, or make the ref step in and do his job.”

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