IBF super middleweight champion Jose Uzcategui prepares to make the first defense of his title against Caleb Plant.
Date: Sunday, January 13, 2019
Location: Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, California
Where to Watch: FOX Sports 1
Time: 8 p.m. (ET)
Like many sports, nothing stokes a fan’s flame like a good rivalry. They excite and enthrall us. We suddenly without throwing a punch, become a part of the fight by verbally sparring friends and detractors. I guess you could say, the energy a fighter carries while preparing for a match goes well beyond the ring.
With that said, there will be no love lost when Jose Uzcategui clashes with Caleb Plant. The super middleweight showdown has all the makings to satisfy even the most technical of boxing fans.
You’ll have the champion, widely considered a boxer-puncher trying to break his opponent down with hard shots. On the other hand, the challenger will look to employ his skillful arsenal while staying out of harm’s way. There’s also the underlying tension between the two fighters stemming from months of back and forth banter.
Trust me you don’t want to miss this one!
Jose Uzcategui (28-2, 23KOs)
Known as “Bolivita,” the Venezuelan born champion (fighting out of Mexico), has made his presence felt throughout the sport. His battering style mixes power punches with a high boxing IQ, which makes figuring him out a nightmare for opponents.
As I’ve done with many fighters, I approached Uzcategui’s abilities and asked myself, “what makes him so good?”
On screen he seems to be a traditional boxer with good fundamentals, but there’s something about his boxing acumen. Drawing back from recent memory, I recalled the bout with Andre Dirrell in March of 2018. To the surprise of many, Uzcategui easily befuddled, beat, and outclassed the more athletically gifted fighter.
Again, I asked myself, “what makes him so good?”
The answer takes a bit of research but lies in the 28-year olds amateur background. While many pundits gloss over it, the champion competed in around three-hundred amateur bouts before turning professional in 2011. The impressive number lends credence to why the Venezuelan is as good as I’ve come to believe.
Nonetheless, Uzcategui wrapped up 2018 by defeating Argentinian contender Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna (26-4, 16KOs) in September. The ten-round affair didn’t produce many fireworks as Maderna was out-boxed from start to finish by the champion.
The performance also left a sour taste in the mouths of boxing fans who were expecting a satisfying knockout. Some even began to speculate whether or not the Venezuelan could successfully defeat the other champions in the division.
Advice to Uzcategui
You need to make a statement! Produce the same magic fans witnessed in both Dirrell bouts.
Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (17-0, 10KOs)
It’s evident when Caleb Plant speaks, his aspirations of becoming a world champion burn deep within him. As a contender, he seems to understand the task at hand will not be easy, but his confidence supersedes any doubt.
Maybe, like many fighters, he’s mentally prepared himself by envisioning victory before he ever steps into the ring on January 13.
Nonetheless, Plant has vowed to beat Uzcategui and take the IBF title home. Doing so would raise the Tennessee natives profile as well as propel him into the mainstream, where stardom awaits.
In February of 2018, the undefeated contender squared-off against rugged Mexican brawler, Rogelio Medina (38-8, 32KOs). Known more-so for his durability, the battle-tested fighter never posed a threat to Plant’s superior boxing skills.
His speed and sensational lateral movement earned him a comfortable unanimous decision victory over the journeyman.
Advice to Plant
Be sharp and accurate. Taking rounds off could be the difference between winning and losing.
Plant wins a very close split decision. Because of the styles, controversy won’t be too far away!
Writer’s suggestion to viewers
If you love boxing as much as football, take my advice and cancel any outings scheduled for Sunday. Afterward, purchase Fortnite for the kids and send the wife to the spa for some “relaxation.”
The sports-filled day will occupy you, beginning with the NFL playoffs and finishing with boxing. As a fan of both sports, I think it’s safe to say, what more could you want?
By: Cessell Robinson