When Caleb Plant walked out of the ring after a vicious one-hit knockout of Anthony Dirrell in a super middleweight bout on Saturday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, he had to believe he had stolen the show.
There was only one fight left and the KO was not only amazing, it was a KO guy performance of the year.
The problem for Plant is that Deontay was Wilder in the fight that followed. And as has so often been the case, the former WBC Heavyweight Champion stole the show with a brutal, incredible KO of Robert Helenius in the card’s main event.
Helenius beat Wilder 5-3 on aggregate, and Wilder couldn’t seem to get everything in his shot. But Wilder, one of the great punchers in boxing history, doesn’t have to do his best to brutally finish off an opponent.
Helenius was chasing Wilder, who retreated to a neutral corner. Wilder threw a right hand that was maybe two feet at most and caught Helenius on the nose. Helenius immediately fell to the ground and didn’t move for several 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. Had anyone seen Wilder’s classic third fight with Fury in Las Vegas last year, they would never have questioned his ability to take anyone out.
But Wilder made an emphatic statement with that KO on Saturday.
“I made him grab it,” Wilder said. “I tried to keep my distance. Robert, 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 take him for granted. I could look into his eyes [and see] that he really wanted it. He wanted to be the first [of his] Compatriots heavyweight champion of the world. When that is said, they will come. I knew that from Robert and I had to take my time.”
But with Wilder, it doesn’t take much to end a fight. He said he’d love to fight unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk but said he’s open to fighting anyone, including ex-champ Andy Ruiz.
A fight between Wilder and Anthony Joshua would be massive, but Wilder’s power makes it a big match for any heavyweight in the world.
Plant hit Dirrell with his hook like a heavyweight. They fought in the ninth round of a fight in the center of the ring where Plant was in control as he threw a combination to the body.
Before Dirrell could react, Plant unleashed what was probably the best left hook he’s ever thrown. He came up quickly and punched Dirrell in the chin, sending Dirrell to the ground immediately. The referee could have counted to 500 and Dirrell would not have beaten the count.
It was an amazing knockout, but it’s always hard to beat the KO king. And Plant found that out when Wilder stepped into the ring shortly after work was done.