Premier Boxing Champions’ new 4-year deal with Fox Sports kicked-off with a bang on December 22nd with both Charlo twins in competitive fights. That was on Fox, now the other part of this deal begins using the smaller FS1 platform. Their first installment is a quality main event between IBF 168-pound titleholder Jose Uzcategui and unbeaten mandatory Caleb Plant. It’s a matchup style of defense versus offense, which continues an ongoing debate ever since organized boxing began over 100-years ago. The undercard is highlighted by Brandon Figueroa vs. Moises Flores, and the return of Guillermo Rigondueax.
Jose Uzcategui is a seasoned pro who worked his way to a title shot and took full advantage of his opportunities when presented. In 2014, Jose loss to Matt Korobov in a 10-round bout. After that setback Uzcategui built his way back up the rankings ladder of the IBF with four victories in a row. Fast-forward to May 2017, the Venezuelan native who fights out of and resides in Mexico, got a shot against Andre Dirrell for an interim super middleweight strap. In a fight most boxing fans thought Uzcategui was winning suddenly took a negative turn from Jose’s perspective. A late hit after the bell rang in the middle of throwing a combination dropped Dirrell.
Ultimately, Uzcategui was disqualified for the shot but it did seem like Andre took the easier way out and played dead instead of taking the allowed five minutes to recoup (Easy for us to say sitting on the sidelines). What ensued post fight was absolutely disgraceful as Dirrell’s uncle clocked Jose via sucker punch. In the rematch Uzcategui would take apart Dirrell winning by 8th round technical-stoppage. Uzcategui stayed busy later that year on ESPN+ and now seems poise to make his mark in the division.
The undefeated prospect/contender Caleb Plant is ready to put a dent in the super middleweight division. In his last four fights, Plant has gone the full 10-rounds, or in the case of his last outing, 12 against tough-as-nails Porky Medina. While developing as a fighter Plant’s shown good movement on the outside, along with the necessary distance to operate as a decent puncher. His challenge this Sunday facing Jose Uzcategui on FS1 will be a difficult test far different than his opposition thus far.
Plant has a great jab that packs a punch and he can land it to the head or stomach. He’s got quick hands and loves to throw pot shot right hands that normally hit their target. He keeps his right hand somewhat low. It will be interesting to see if he comes out holding the telephone to his ear so to speak, against a real puncher. Surely Plant has studied the tape of Uzcategui vs. Korobov and will likely employ chunks of that successful game plan.
Uzcategui is an aggressive fighter no doubt with power in both hands but he’s not completely useless on defense. He does bring pressure mixed with some responsibility defensively. Jose attacks the body with left hooks that he later brings up top. He has a solid straight or looping right hand with a knack for putting quick combinations together.
So who will win this come-forward vs. outside boxing style contrast? Look for Plant to get out to an early lead as he pops his jab and smoothly moves around the ring. Plant’s goal will be to not allow Uzcategui a chance to set his feet in his attempt to cut off the ring on Caleb. As the middle rounds appear it will be crucial for Jose to have cut the distance and begin to corner Plant. Body work and a fairly active output of punches will be very important for Uzcategui. Speaking of body work, Jose was greatly affected by Korobov’s body work.
If Uzcategui is not able to slow Plant and get him to the ropes and/or force Caleb to shell up to protect from a barrage of heavy-handed punches, it be a long frustrating night for Jose. The action will be two-way from the middle-to-late rounds even if Caleb is controlling the pace. This is the part that’s difficult to predict and the Las Vegas betting books agree with Uzcategui around a -135 and Plant +150.
Plant will need to gain Uzcategui’s respect by landing flush jabs and straight right hands that stop Jose in his tracks. This hack-of-scribe is admittedly on the fence while putting pen to paper. In an entertaining bout with some pretty good action by both.
Uzcategui gradually takes this fight over by consistent body shots opening up Caleb to the head eventually. Plant’s outside ability keeps him from getting knocked out but Uzcategui hurts and possibly drops Plant to squeak-out a close point’s victory.
My Official Prediction is Jose Uzcategui by Majority-Decision.