By David Robinett at ringside
Photos: Sumio Yamada
IBF super middleweight champion Caleb Plant (19-0, 11 KOs) successfully defended his world title with a one-sided beatdown of Mike Lee (21-1, 11 KOs), earning a referee’s stoppage at 1:29 of round three in a scheduled twelve round contest at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
This bout featured two men who had remained undefeated despite substantial hardships, with Plant suffering both the loss of his infant daughter and mother in separate, tragic circumstances. Lee, a graduate of Notre Dame university who gained national recognition a few years ago as a spokesman for Subway, has battled inactivity and health complications from an autoimmune disease that he continues to hold at bay while he pursues this career.
In the ring though it was all Plant tonight, whose advantages in speed and quickness were evident from the opening bell, as he picked apart Lee with surgical precision while Lee struggled to lay a hand on the champion, catching nothing but air on several occasions. Plant scored his first knockdown in the opening stanza, depositing Lee onto the seat of his pants with a left hook to the head.
Plant, who traveled to London in 2012 as an alternate on the U.S. Olympic boxing team, took his time in round two, picking his shots while easily staying out of range of the aggressive but slower Lee. Plant dropped Lee for the second time early in round three with a left to the body, left to the head, followed by a right hook to the head. Lee wasn’t badly hurt and quickly got up, only to be dropped again with a left hook that the referee incorrectly called a slip. Lee continued to show his moxie, immediately coming after Plant when action resumed, but the difference in class was substantial, and Plant dropped Lee again, this time with a left hook through Lee’s guard, prompting referee Robert Byrd to call a halt to the carnage.