David Benavidez overpowers Caleb Plant, Jesus Ramos stays undefeated after wins in Vegas

LAS VEGAS − David Benavidez showed why he is aptly nicknamed the "Mexican Monster," breaking down a valiant Caleb Plant in the later rounds to take over what was a close fight and win a unanimous decision.

Benavidez, a Phoenix native who wore the name of his hometown on his trunks, sealed a very good night for Arizona boxing with his main event win to stay undefeated. It came after a seventh-round stoppage by Casa Grande's Jesús Ramos of Joey Spencer in the co-main event before 13,865 fans and a sellout at the MGM Grand Garden.

The pair of victories left no doubt who the top boxers from the state of Arizona are at the moment. Benavidez (27-0) kept his WBC interim super middleweight title and called out for a shot at Mexican champion Canelo Alvarez after his win, while Ramos (20-0) is certain to move up the super welterweight contender ranks.

"I can still get better, but I am very satisfied with this performance," Benavidez said. "Canelo Alvarez needs fights like this. I want to prove myself. ... it's something I've earned."

Benavidez, headlining his first pay-per-view, was challenged by Plant's mobility and didn't jab much, trying to walk down Plant with little success. He said a fourth-round body shot caused Plant to groan in pain, but Benavidez trailed on the scorecards after six rounds before the fight began to turn in the seventh.

An accidental headbutt to Plant opened up a cut above Plant's nose in the eighth round, and Benavidez pounded away at the body, neutralizing his opponent's quickness.

The ninth round brought chants of "Be-na-vi-dez!" although it sounded a lot like "Let's go Phoe-nix!"

The fight looked like it might be stopped, Plant's face bloodied and red. It went the distance, rare for a Benavidez fight given how he has used his power to overwhelm fighters.

Ramos was dominant over Spencer, knocking him down in the first round with a left hook. Ramos continued the pressure, leveling Spencer and eventually forcing a stoppage of the fight, after three of his previous four fights had gone the distance.

Ramos was ahead on the scorecards through all six rounds before the fight ended.

"Ever since the knockdown I was looking for that punch for two or three rounds and my dad told me to box him behind the jab," Ramos said. "And I started doing that more and I started to land more shots and started to do better and follow the game plan."

Ramos acknowledged what he felt was a large presence of Arizona fight fans and agreed that the night was a celebration of boxing from the state.

"I think we showed up tonight," Ramos added.

In the first fight of the pay-per-view card, Abel Ramos of Casa Grande (Jesus's uncle) scored what he thought was a knockdown in the 11th round, but it was waived off after review and Ramos lost a majority decision to undefeated Cody Crowley in a battle of lightweight contenders.

Ramos (27-6-2) has lost three of his last four fights, and his trainer and older brother, Jesús Ramos Sr., had said that the Crowley fight was a make or break fight that his brother had to win. But Ramos could take a positive from being close once again against yet another quality opponent.

Crowley charged him to start the third round, and began to land some heavy shots. Ramos rallied and scored with some jabs before the round ended.

It took a lot for Ramos to keep Crowley off of him, as the Canadian kept coming forward. But Ramos continued to land, his best punches a left uppercut and left jab to Crowley's head in the fourth round.

Crowley stung Ramos with a left upper cut to the chin, but Ramos was able to shake it off. Crowley looked strong, and wore Ramos down as he backed him into the ropes time after time and forced Ramos to fight "in a phone booth," as is said in boxing lingo.

Still, Ramos thought he got the big break he needed with an apparent knockdown, using a left jab to force Crowley to squat down with less than a minute to go in the 11th and final round of the fight. It got the crowd on its feet chanting Ramos' name.

Crowley would not come out for the last round for a few moments, an odd sequence in which Ramos stood and waited for him while the crow booed.

"It was a good fight against a tough opponent, just like we expected. But I feel that I was robbed with that knockdown," Abel Ramos said. “The ref told us that they were going to review it, and I guess it’s a technicality, but he went down. It’s like when the rope catches you. They call that a knockdown. So why wouldn’t this be?"

This article originally appeared on Arizona Republic: Boxers David Benavidez, Jesus Ramos too much for opponents in Las Vegas