After receiving his first loss at the biggest moment of his career in November 2021 against Canelo Alvarez, former super middleweight champion Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant is on a redemption path to a rematch with the biggest name in boxing, and it starts this Saturday (Oct. 15) against Anthony Dirrell.
During fight week, The Source’s Bryson “Boom” Paul speaks with the former champion on Zoom about his return plans, new baby, the current super middleweight division, his future in boxing, and more. Read the full interview below.
[The Source]: First and foremost, how do you feel about getting back in the ring?
[Caleb Plant]: It feels good, you know it’s been a little minute, but I’ve been diligent and disciplined. I been working ever since I got out of the ring — against Canelo. So, you know, just been tightening some things up, continue to work on some things I’ve already established in the boxing ring, and, you know, looking forward to getting back in there.
Do you feel like the boxing community turned their back on you after suffering your first loss at all?
No — No, not really. I mean, I’m sure there are some people out there, but, for the most part, I feel like a majority of the fans, they seen what kind of performance I put on and the success that I had, and what I was able to accomplish during the fight. You know, they tip their hat to it. I went out on my shield. Not like I just went in there and embarrassed myself or something like that. I went in there and did my thing but you know I got caught with a good shot — and that happens in boxing. You know it’s been plenty of great fighters, legendary fighters, that get stopped in the past. When two great fighters fight each other, you know, somebody’s gotta come up short.
Definitely, you know, leading up to this fight, a lot has changed for you. Congratulations, you’re a new Dad. A new daughter here. How does it feel going into this now with a whole new perspective?
Umm… You know, not my first time being a Dad… I’m sure most of you out there know my story. But it feels good to have Charlie (daughter) here with us and she’s strong, and healthy, everything is on point. But you know right now I’m really just focused on camp, and handling my business on October 15. And then, you know, being able to rest and enjoy my family throughout the holidays. But, you know right now, I’m really in camp mode. You know I got to enjoy some moments with her but for the most part, I’m locked in, and I gotta handle my business. And like I said, after that we’ll be able to enjoy the holidays together. So I’m looking forward to it.
How’s your mental health been heading into this camp?
It’s been good, it’s been good. Same as always. Just cause I came up short that doesn’t deter me from my dreams or make me feel like that I can’t accomplish this or do this, or do that. There’s been plenty of things that came up in my life that, you know, could have deter me from continuing on but there’s nothing that can deter me from continuing to strive and reach for my goals. Things I want to accomplish in boxing. So, I’m hunger than ever. I’m training hard as ever. I’m just excited to get in there and let the bell ring.
In July, you mentioned that you are reaching the point where you’re considered “one of the all-time greats.” Care to elaborate on that?
With only 22 fights, you know, I don’t know if I can’t be considered one of the all-time greats yet but that’s why I’m continuing to stay focused and stay hungry. Continuing to strive for each of my goals. There’s still a lot more I want to accomplish. And I definitely want to — and I’m going to — you know, go down as a all-time greats, whether that be in my division or boxing in general. But right now, with 22 fights, you know there’s still a lot more work to be done. I’m aware of that and I’m focused on that. Me and my team are doing what needs to be to cement that legacy.
You’ve been out for a little bit. I want to ask you: In your opinion, how do you feel about the super middleweight division you’re walking into now?
Ummm… You know the super middleweight division is… It’s got some big names in it. Some big names that are looking to step in soon. I feel like it’s a good division to be in at the moment, but you know right now, I’m just focused on the fight in front of me and the task at hand. You know, after being successful on October 15, looking to step to bigger and better fights.
Bigger and better fights. Now, are you talking about anybody in particular or whomever comes your way in the super middleweight division?
The biggest fight that could be made. I wanted to get the biggest fight that could be made coming off a loss. Obviously, that’s not the biggest fight that could be made, but coming off a loss, fighting Anthony Dirrell was the biggest fight that could be made. A former two-time world champion, a big name, someone who’s got a name, like I said. But right after this, looking to step forward and make the biggest fight that can be made. Whether that’s David Benevidez, whether that’s Charlo. Really don’t matter to me. So which ever one wants to act funny with negotiations or anything like that. I’m not here to mess around, play around, I’m step right to the next one and get the biggest fight that could be made. Keep giving the fans big-time fights and keep cementing my legacy. Marking off and exiting out each super middleweight one at a time until I can get that rematch with Canelo. That’s what I’m looking to do.
You are walking into your upcoming fight with a lot of bad blood between you and Dirrell. Where does it stem from?
I mean, I don’t know the dude, I don’t know nothing about him. I’m obviously aware he’s a former two-time world champion, but as far as him and who he is, I don’t know anything about him. I don’t know the dude from a hole in the ground. So any negative feelings for him, he’s saying shit like he hates me and all this other stuff, he don’t even know me enough to hate me. So it’s not from no personal reason, I just feel like he hates me because deep down he knows he can’t fuck on me, so what other reason would there be to hate somebody?
But he can live with that, you know what I’m saying? That’s something he can take to his grave. So I’m not worried about his negative feelings towards me. It’s a fight anyway, so why would I care if he likes me or dislikes me, or he’s making a point, like I said before, to let everyone know other people in my weight class don’t like me. Those aren’t even things that I think about. I don’t concern myself with whether people like me or not.
What made Anthony Dirrell the perfect choice for your comeback fight?
Well, like I said before, just because I took a loss in my last fight, I could have came back with some sparring session type name of a guy, but I wanted to, like I said, get the biggest fight that I possibly could coming back and keep carrying that momentum forward, even though it’s been a little bit since the Canelo fight. I still did great things in that fight and it was a close fight leading up until that point. So I want to continue that momentum forward, moving forward, get the biggest thing that I possibly could. This is what we was able to come up with, and looking to do damage on October 15th, like I said, and then move forward to bigger and better.
When it comes to family, yours is a lot different then others being your wife is also apart of the business. What was the conversation like between you two as far as you making your return?
Just my wife Jordan, she knows a lot about boxing. She’s, obviously astute in the game like you said, and a boxing reporter. So she knows the game and she knows how it works, she knows the ins and outs. And she was also a former Division 1 collegiate athlete herself, being 100-meter hurdler. So she knows the ups and downs of life and in sports.
So just gathering myself and just getting right back to it. You can’t cry over spilled milk, you know what I’m saying? So I’m not looking to sit around, lick my wounds and feel sorry for myself. That’s never been the type of guy I am with anything that comes up in my life. So just get back to it, put one foot in front of the other, tighten up things you need to tighten up, keep working on things you’re good at, and just get back in the ring, get back to my winning ways.
You learned a lot from your fight with Canelo. What you adapted at the training camp that you plan to take into the ring against Anthony Dirrell on October 15th?
I’m not going to let any technical advice out, but the biggest thing was just the experience. That’s something that you can’t buy and I feel like I handled Fight Week well, the emotions of everything that happens on Fight Week with the media. I’ve headlined on FOX cards before where I had a lot of media obligations and it wasn’t really too different than that honestly, just the amount of people that was there. But that didn’t really concern me or bother me. But just everything that happened through Fight Week and through the fight, that’s experience that I get to take with me and move forward into these other big fights with and take that with me. And like I said, that’s not something you can buy. So just the experience in general.
Going back to you and your wife Jordan, has there ever been any thoughts of coming together and doing maybe a podcast together? Maybe even you getting in the corresponding seat one time?
Yeah, yeah. I mean, we talked about things like that but right now, I’m so focused on my career and I try to keep my priorities in line. And I’m in my heyday right now, so I don’t want to get too busy doing other things. Whether I got a fight coming up or not, all my free time goes into, whether it’s strength and conditioning or being in the gym, running, recovery work, PT. I’m a full-time athlete at the moment. So there’ll be opportunities for stuff like that down the road,, I’m sure, but as of now, I’m just focused on the task at hand, like I’ve said, and that’s boxing and keeping boxing my main priority.
Is Caleb Plant the most feared man in the super middleweight division?
Yeah. I mean, that’s a question for everybody else. So I can’t speak for everyone else, but I know what I bring to the table and I bring skills that a lot of these other dudes can’t bring the table. I bring a certain type of energy that a lot of these dudes don’t bring to the table. I know what I can do. I’ve been consistent in boxing for a long time. I’m a national champion, I’m an Olympic alternate, I’m a world champion, title defenses I’ve stepped up in. I got a decent resume with Jose Uzcátegui, a former World Champion, and Caleb Truax. And Rogelio Medina, he really should have beat James DeGale to become world champion. I handled him with ease. And everyone knows that I had a good night against Canelo, but I wound up running into a shot and those things happen in boxing. So I’m confident in my skills and what I’m able to do. And so just have to tune in and see for yourself.
Last month, Eddie Hearn said that the PBC roster fights absolutely nobody. How do you feel about that? About him coming around, talking about you guys in the super middleweight division?
Well, besides Canelo, he has no big hitters in the super middleweight division. So maybe he’s talking to the rest of the super middleweight division, but he’s not talking to me, because me and Canelo just fought and that’s the only super middleweight that he has worth mentioning. And I just fought him and like I said, everyone knows I had a, that I did good in that fight. So other than that, I really don’t have nothing to say to that.
Check out the Wilder vs. Helenus plus Plant vs. Dirrell preview below.