when Caleb Plant walked out of the ring after a vicious one-point knockout of Anthony Dirrell on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, in a super middleweight bout, he must have thought he stole the show.
There was only one fight left and the KO wasn’t just amazing, it was a KO of the Year type performance.
The problem for Plant is that Deontay Wilder was in the next battle. And as he has done so many times, the former WBC heavyweight champion stole the show with a brutal, unbelievable knockout of Robert Helenius in the main event of the card.
Helenius outlanded Wilder 5-3 in total punches, and Wilder didn’t seem to get everything in his shot. But Wilder, who is one of the great punishers in boxing history, doesn’t need to get his best to finish an opponent in brutal fashion.
Helenius chased Wilder, who backed into a neutral corner. Wilder threw a right hand that maybe traveled two feet at most and hit Helenius on the nose. Helenius immediately went down and did not move for a few frightening moments. The knockout came at 2:57 of the first.
It was a reminder to anyone who may have forgotten what Wilder is capable of. If anyone saw Wilder’s classic third fight with Fury last year in Las Vegas, they would never have questioned his ability to knock someone out.
But Wilder made an emphatic statement with that KO on Saturday.
“I made him reach,” Wilder said. “I tried to keep my distance. Roberto, he has the heart of a champion. I knew what he was capable of. I didn’t take him lightly at all. I didn’t consider him. I could look into his eyes [and see] that he really wanted this. He wanted to be the first [of his] countrymen to be the heavyweight champion of the world. Having said that, they will come. I knew that from Roberto and so I had to take my time.”
But with Wilder, it doesn’t take much to end a fight. He said he would like to fight unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk, but said he is open to fighting anyone, including ex-champion Andy Ruiz.
A Wilder-Anthony Joshua fight would be massive, but Wilder’s power makes him a great fight for any heavyweight in the world.
Plant hit like a heavyweight with his hook on Dirrell. They fought in the center of the ring in the ninth round of a fight in which Plant was in control when he threw a combination to the body.
Before Dirrell could react, Plant unleashed what is probably the best left hook he’s ever thrown. He quickly went up and hit Dirrell on the chin, putting Dirrell down and out instantly. The umpire could have counted to 500 and Dirrell would not have beaten the count.
It was an amazing knockout, but it’s always hard to KO the KO King. And Plant found that out when Wilder stepped into the ring moments after his work was done.