By Ryan Maquiñana
After a stint back home in his native Phoenix, unbeaten junior welterweight prospect Jose Benavidez Jr. and his father, Jose Sr., have returned to the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood to work with trainer Freddie Roach.
“We were deciding to leave Phoenix to either train in either Las Vegas or California,” Benavidez Jr. said. “We ended up setting up a meeting with Freddie about getting out of Phoenix and it all happened.”
Benavidez (12-0, 11 KOs) is slated to fight in Parker, Ariz., as the co-feature on a Top Rank Live card on Sept. 17, but sources say he might be moved to the Yuriorkis Gamboa-Daniel Ponce De Leon undercard in Atlantic City on September 10.
“It feels good being back working with Freddie,” the 19-year-old prodigy added. “I know I’m going to get great sparring here, too. I haven’t been back for awhile, so it will take a while getting used to everything here again, but I’m always looking to improve and that’s why I’m here.”
After sparring the likes of Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, and Timothy Bradley beginning at 17, Benavidez has traded shots with the best since starting his pro career in January of last year. However, he will first temper his return to the gym wars that have helped to define Wild Card.
“I just started today with light conditioning because my hands are still a little hurt,” he said, referring to a hand injury sustained in his previous bout last month, a fourth-round stoppage of Corey Alarcon in Chandler, Ariz.
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America. E-mail him at [email protected], contact him on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rmaq28 or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28.