Anthony Dirrell has always come across as a stoic figure. But after months of hammering out a deal behind the scenes that will see him take on Caleb Plant in the chief supporting role to Deontay Wilder’s ring return against Robert Helenius on October 15th, the former super middleweight titlist was all smiles.
“I been wanting this fight for a long time,” said an ecstatic Dirrell during an interview on ESNEWS. “He knows what I bring to the table.”
Plant, a native of Nashville, Tennessee, has long teased a possible showdown against Dirrell since unwillingly forking over his IBF super middleweight title against Canelo Alvarez in November of 2021. Though viewed as a considerable underdog, Plant troubled the pound-for-pound star throughout.
With their undisputed showdown reasonably close heading into the 11th, the newly turned 30-year-old crumbled underneath Alvarez’s relentless pressure. Before succumbing to his power, Plant boxed carefully from the outside, refusing to engage with the Mexican star when he came within range.
Having watched Plant’s career unfold since the very beginning, Dirrell is fully aware that Plant will likely attempt to outbox him as opposed to being drawn into a firefight. Nevertheless, regardless of Plant’s stick and move game plan, Dirrell reveals that he has tactics of his own that will nullify his man come fight night.
“I know he’s going to get on his bike and move like he do in every fight,” continued Dirrell. “But we got plans for him. We got things to stop that.”
At the age of 37, Dirrell has openly flirted with the idea of hanging up his gloves for good. In one particularly brutal stretch from September of 2019 to February of 2021, Dirrell was unable to secure a victory. To begin his slide, David Benavidez truncated his transient title reign via ninth-round stoppage. Roughly a year and a half later, Dirrell would be forced to settle for a split decision draw against Kyrone Davis.
Since then, however, Dirrell (34-2-2, 25 KOs) has regained that winning feeling, scoring a brutal one-punch knockout over Marcos Hernandez on the undercard of Plant vs. Alvarez.
Ultimately, before registering that conclusive knockout, Dirrell has always expressed a desire to face Plant in the ring. In 38 fights as a professional, win, lose, or draw – Dirrell has been able to look his opponents squarely in the eyes and shake their hands either in or outside of the ring. That ability to be affable, regardless of the circumstances, is something that Dirrell believes Plant lacks, leading to Dirrell’s deep disdain for his upcoming opponent.
“With boxing, even with me and Benavidez, I think everybody, when we’re not fighting, were ok. We don’t have any ill-will against each other. But with Caleb, it’s just like he’s tough all the time, he’s too good for everybody. That just irks me. When two men like me and Benavidez get in the ring and can still be cordial outside the ring, that’s sportsmanship. That means something. Caleb just don’t do that.”
As Dirrell begins to ramp up his intensity in training camp, he divulges that despite previous retirement thoughts, walking away from the sport of boxing isn’t at the forefront of his mind. In fact, if the former two-time super middleweight belt holder breezes past Plant, he’ll wait by the phone patiently in the hopes that Alvarez gives him a call.
“I mean, that’s a fight that I always wanted. Canelo is a great fighter, we all know that but styles make fights at the end of the day. That’s a fight I want and hopefully, I can get it.”
Currently, in spite of Dirrell’s wishes, Alvarez is booked up for the foreseeable future. Shortly before both Plant and Dirrell swap fists in the middle of the ring, the Mexican star is slated to return on September 17th, against Gennadiy Golovkin (GGG).
In terms of how Dirrell views the third installment of their rivalry unfolding, while he respects Golovkin wholeheartedly, he believes he’s in for a long and painful night.
“I think Canelo wins by GGG being on the ground. I don’t think GGG is GGG anymore.”