Eight-division world champion and future hall of famer, Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao (56-7-1, 36 KOs) and undefeated WBA Welterweight champion Keith “One Time” Thurman (29-0-0, 22 KOs) faced off for the boxing media in Los Angeles at the Beverly Hills Hotel on Wednesday, May 22, 2019
Joined by IBF Super Middleweight champion Caleb “Sweet Hands” Plant (18-0-0, 10 KOs) and unbeaten challenger, Mike Lee (21-0, 11 KOs), Pacquiao and Thurman gathered for the second and final stop of a promotional tour in anticipation of their respective back-to-back main event cards, taking place on July 20,2019 at the MGM Grand Garden Arena and presented by Premier Boxing Champions and Fox Sports.
The IBF Super Middleweight champion Plant and top Light Heavyweight contender Lee (who is actually moving down in weight one division to challenge Plant) shared their thoughts ahead of their bout on PBC on Fox immediately preceding the PBC on Fox Pay-Per-View.
Plant and Lee remained calm and collected for the most part, with a visible and mutual respect for each other as opponents–albeit with a growing underlying animosity and urge to settle all business in the ring.
Plant spoke on the fight and his opponents inexperience at the championship level.
“Mike Lee is in uncharted territory,” said Plant. “I’m curious how he plans on beating me. [Will he] try and knock me out like my last opponent? Will he try and outbox me with his hand and foot speed, because there’s no person from 160 to 175 who can do that.
Lee remained calm and unfazed by Plants comments.
“The beauty of this sport is that it’s only me and Caleb in there. Everyone else can only talk,” said Plant. “This is the culmination of years of sacrifice, hard work and discipline. I’m undefeated for a reason, but I feel people underestimate me and I like that. I’ve thrived off people saying I couldn’t do it. I’m going to give it everything I’ve got and I’m going to become the new IBF Super Middleweight champion.”
The narrative behind the bout is shaping into a battle of upbringings and life paths. The more hard-fought and rough, rural workman’s journey belong’s to the Tennessee native Plant, with Lee’s big city Chicago and collegiate background (Lee graduated with a degree in finance from the University of Notre Dame and had several chances to pursue a career in Wall Street).
To that end, Plant made a point of letting Lee know his own background and commitment would be the difference in this fight.
“I’ve been committed to the same thing for 18 years straight,” said Plant. “I’m bred for this. I was created for this. All the motivational videos he watches and books that he reads. I’m the very essence and meaning of that. You can’t learn mental fortitude in a book. Those things are earned, not learned.”
The fight also provides an interesting clash of styles between the slick boxer–Plant–and the naturally bigger boxer-puncher in Lee that is sure to deliver fireworks with both fighters promising a KO of the other.
Undercard info will be announced in the coming weeks, but fans can expect an explosive night of world class boxing across both cards.