Caleb Plant Is Why You Love Boxing

By Paul Magno on January 14, 2019
Caleb Plant Is Why You Love Boxing
“I don’t fold…for anybody…for anything. And that’s no disrespect to anyone else.”

Twenty-six-year-old Caleb Plant once again proved how special boxing can be when it’s not being ruined by those trying to run it…

Boxing writing is full of macho fairytales and silliness that borders on fetish fan fiction, but it’s easy to see why that is. Boxers are unique human beings with unique stories who risk their very lives doing things regular, “normal” human beings work their damnedest to avoid.

This sport isn’t about catching a ball or running really fast. Actually, it’s hardly a sport at all. It’s more like a vocation built around a catharsis where passion pays off for those who work hardest and are best at channeling their own personal suffering into the physical suffering it takes to become a world class fighter.

On Sunday, a poor kid who lived in a broken down trailer and who, years later, had to live through the tragic death of his 19-month-old daughter, became a king of sorts.

Twenty-six-year-old Caleb Plant, who, almost literally, came out of nowhere to claim mandatory challenger status for Jose Uzcategui’s IBF super middleweight world title, put on the best performance of his young career to capture the belt and once again prove how special boxing can be when it’s not being ruined by those trying to run it.

Falling to his knees after the unanimous decision victory was announced, “Sweethands” was overcome with the emotion of the moment. In the post-fight interview, he touched on his inspiration for this performance and brought things back around to his daughter, Alia, and how everything he is, everything he does is for her. To make the evening even more special, Plant would propose to girlfriend, fight correspondent Jordan Hardy, in his dressing room after the win.

An unapologetic boxing stylist by design, Plant’s poke and prod style and modified James Toney defense is not every fight fan’s cup of tea. But, against Uzcategui, the rush of the moment moved him to another level, even adding enough fuel to drop the sturdy Venezuela-born, Tijuana-based champ twice en route to the decisive points victory

In an interview conducted with writer Shaun Brown prior to the Uzcategui bout, Plant spoke about the strength of character needed to keep going after his reason for being had been snatched from his life.

“I buried her on a Thursday,” Plant said, “the next Thursday I was in the gym.  And it was hard to keep it together throughout my workouts, hard not to tear up, some emotions did get to me but I was determined to stay in the gym, continue on with what I had promised her and my mission that I had started long before her. I don’t fold…for anybody…for anything. And that’s no disrespect to anyone else, how they would handle it, how they would grieve but me…I do not fold for anybody or anything. I do not quit for anybody or anything. No matter what. In boxing, in life, whatever pressure is given to me I will come out the other side. I knew that I had a job to continue. I’m a man. My job is to continue on. That’s what my father taught me and that’s what I did. And that’s what I’m doing.”

Plant didn’t beat Bob Foster or a prime Roy Jones Jr. last Sunday night at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. But he did beat a good, solid Jose Uzcategui for one of the four recognized world titles at super middleweight and, in doing so, became a member of the elite 1% of pro fighters to wear a world title.

What makes Plant’s win all the more special is that, as a disposable poor kid in a bad place and with zero hope of getting out, he was never supposed to do any of this. And when later blasted with a personal tragedy like losing a child, nobody would’ve blamed him one bit if his dreams were smothered permanently under the weight of despair.

But boxing is built on these stories of disposable kids working their way to greatness with nothing more than hunger, a high tolerance for pain and suffering, and a firm belief that if you fight long enough and hard enough, good things will come. This is why boxing is special.

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  1. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 08:15am, 01/15/2019

    Winning a “world title” in boxing is definitely an accomplishment to be proud of, but lets get real here, it isn’t like there are only 8 world champions out there. And yes, the guy Plant beat wasn’t Bob Foster or Roy Jones by any stretch. Still, nice to see this kid get a break in life. Not much tougher things to deal with in life than losing your child.  Congrats to Mr. Plant.

  2. Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers 07:47am, 01/15/2019

    “Fall down seven times, get up eight.”—- Japanese Proverb

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