Uzcategui and Plant meet Jan.13
By John J. Raspanti
Last seen winning an easy decision over Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna a few months ago, IBF super middleweight champion Jose Uzcategui returns to the squared circle this Sunday against undefeated Caleb Plant at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, CA.
Uzcategui, born in Venezuela but living in Tijuana, Mex, will be making the first defense of the belt he won by stopping Andre Dirrell last March. That fight was the second time he had faced Dirrell. Their first bout was filled with controversary.
Dirrell, behind on two of the judges’ scorecards, and tied on a third, was fighting for his life near the end of round eight. Uzcategui let fly with a three-punch combination-the last blow landing after the bell. Dirrell went down on his face, told to stay there by his trainer Leon Lawson.
After being informed by the ringside physician that Dirrell could not continue, referee Bill Clancy had two choices. He could rule the punch accidental, thereby sending the result to the judges, or that Uzcategui’s final blow was intentional.
Clancy picked the latter, giving Dirrell the victory. More chaos broke out in the ring a few seconds after the decision was announced. Lawson, standing near Uzcategui, landed a sucker punch on the unsuspecting fighter.
All this insanity led to a rematch five months later at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Both fighters were confident. Dirrell had hooked up with old friend, and trainer, Virgil Hunter. Uzcategui said he would bring more pressure. Dirrell said he would box.
He did, but without passion. Uzcategui got in Dirrell’s grill and punched. Dirrell tried to move, but whatever quickness he once had was gone that night. (He said after the fight that he had overtrained) Utcategui,28, rolled to an eighth-round stoppage.
Las Vegas native Plant, who lives in Nashville, TN, is undefeated in 17 fights, scoring 10 knockouts. The biggest name on his resume is former title challenger Rogelio Medino, whom Plant controlled over 12 rounds in February. Uzcategui defeated Medino five years ago. Plant, 26, is dedicating his fight to his late daughter Alia, who died at 19 months.
"Come January thirteen when I step in that ring it will be for a lot of reasons,’’ Plant said last month in a press release. “I’ll be stepping between those ropes for Alia. I’m stepping between those ropes for the people of my city and state and for the people who come from the very bottom.
“I’m stepping between those ropes to finish the job that my father started, for all the work and sacrifice he made to ensure that he gave us a better opportunity than the life we once had and lived.”
The aggressive Uzcategui is hoping that boxer Plant will stand and fight.
“It should a great fight with Plant, I will take the fight to him,” said Uzcategui.
Plant is expecting an action fight.
"I really think that with our styles, this is going to be fireworks," Plant said. “I believe that on January 13 you will hear ’and the new!’