A Hometown Setback’s Highly Unlikely For Caleb Plant in Nashville
Nearly three decades have passed since its relevancy, so I had to let me my “fahrvergnugen” lead-in die while looking at IBF Super Middleweight champion Caleb Plant’s mandatory title defense against Germany’s Vincent Feigenbutz. The phrase was once featured in a 90s ad campaign by German automaker Volkswagen.
Aye, this match-up could use some marketing!
Presumably, a homecoming bout was once regarded as an awesome reward for the accomplished fighters campaigning under the Premier Boxing Champions banner.
The PBC brass probably contacted a kid and said something like, “You’ve worked hard the past year or two. You’ve made a name for yourself. Now let’s take you back to where it all started and put on a good show!”
A few years ago, Adrien Broner battled through an early hand injury to earn a 10-round split decision over Adrian Granados at Xavier University’s Cintas Center in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Just last year at the EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia, Jarrett Hurd experienced arguably the worst homecoming. Well, maybe the first worst. Challenger Julian Williams dropped the then-undefeated unified Super Welterweight champion in the second round, and dominated the Accokeek, Maryland native en route to a unanimous decision upset in a Fight of the Year-caliber scrap.
On January 18, Jeison Rosario shocked the shocker, stopping Williams in the fifth round at Temple University’s Liacouras Center in Philadelphia, PA.
This Saturday undefeated Super Middleweight champion Caleb “Sweethands” Plant returns home to Nashville, Tennessee for his second title defense against mandatory challenger Vincent Feigenbutz.
Ironically, the venue is not the home of a college basketball team!
Plant and Feigenbutz square off at Bridgestone Arena in a Fox PBC Fight Night main event, as well as on Fox Deportes. The bout will be Plant’s first time fighting in the “Music City” as a professional. Feigenbutz will be making his U.S. debut.
During a media workout Wednesday Plant expressed his gratitude regarding the opportunity to bring championship boxing to the place he encountered the sport.
“I’m excited about fighting in my hometown. This is something that I’ve wanted to do since I turned pro. To be coming back home as a world champion at Bridgestone Arena is exciting and motivating. I’m ready.
“I’m excited but I’m not really focused on anything but the fight. I’m happy to be here in Nashville in front of my home crowd. This is something that I pushed for, but once I got it, there’s no reason to really focus on it. I have to treat this like another day at work.
He also shared memories of earlier phases of his career that help maintain his focus.
“I’ve worked very hard for this moment over many years. There was a point in time when there were no cameras in front of me. It was just me and my small team, that’s grown into a big team. Now we’re on the big stage and we’re prepared.
The 27-year old, who now resides and trains in Las Vegas, Nevada, talked about a simple lesson his father taught him about the level of commitment required in a sport like boxing.
“My father (co-trainer Richie Plant) has always instilled in me that anything you’re not willing to do, there’s someone out there who is. I’m a fierce competitor and just like I don’t want to lose in boxing, if somebody is working harder than me, I’m losing in that area too.
“Preparation for this fight was great and I’m feeling good right now. I’m rested and relaxed. All the hard work is done. I can’t get in any better shape. At this point, you’ve put the work in or you haven’t.
As a champion ahead of his one of his earlier title defenses, Plant spoke of the future but avoided looking as far down the road as Williams did during his fight week under a month ago.
“It’s not hard for me to stay hungry. People say I’m the hunted now, not the hunter. But I still feel like I’m hunting. It was just one goal to become a world champion. The other goals and aspirations that I have, those are what keeps me motivated.
Feigenbutz (31-2, 28 KOs) arrives in Nashville having won 10 straight fights, ending each inside the distance with the exception of a unanimous decision in May 2017. The 24-year old German has only fought twice each of the last three years, so he doesn’t hold a significant advantage over Plant in terms of activity.
Plant dismantled an over-matched Mike Lee in three rounds in July after unanimously winning his first title in a sensational two-knockdown performance against Jose Uzcategui six months earlier in January. As the number of days until fight night have moved towards zero, Plant’s signature over the top savage-styled of trash talk has surfaced.
This is a fight, Feigenbutz carries some power, Plant closed out 2019 enjoying an extended honeymoon period with his wife Jordan, and it only takes one punch to decide winners in boxing. Perhaps Feigenbutz’ anonymity in the U.S. precludes the champion, and his team, from fully understanding all of the German’s tendencies – especially during the times of heightened desperation that occur in a boxing ring.
Feigenbutz’ comments from Wednesday’s media workout are eerily similar to Rosario’s proclamation ahead of his fight with Williams in Philadelphia.
“You’ll see in the first round that I’m prepared. I’m going to bring something different than Caleb expects. I’m confident that I’m going to win this fight, or else I wouldn’t be here.
Maybe by night’s end Plant will be standing in his corner, shaking his head in disbelief as the phrase “And the new…” reverberates throughout Bridgestone Arena. And, with the upset fans potentially lose the eagerly anticipated unification fight with WBC champion David Benavidez.
Fahrvergnugen outta here with that.
Coverage begins at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT and features Welterweight contenders Bryant “Goodfella” Perrella and Abel Ramos battling in the 10-round co-feature plus Lightweight contender and Nashville native Austin Dulay, who battles former title challenger Diego Magdaleno in the televised opener.
All photos by Stephanie Trapp/TGB Promotions