By Ryan Maquiñana
Undefeated junior welterweight prospect Jose Benavidez Jr. has signed a contract with Steven Feder of Standing Eight to co-manage him.
“I’ve known Steve for awhile, and it’s time to bring more people to our team,” said Jose Benavidez Sr., the fighter’s father, trainer, and co-manager. “He’s a good manager. I’ve worked in the corner with some of his fighters like Lateef Kayode. He also has a good relationship with [promoter] Top Rank so I’m looking forward to working with him.”
Benavidez (12-0, 11 KO) started his pro career at the Wild Card Gym in Hollywood before returning to his hometown of Phoenix for his past few fights. The 19-year-old returned to the Southern California stronghold in July when he found quality sparring in the Valley of the Sun to be inconsistent.
So far, the teenage pugilistic prodigy has sparred with Manny Pacquiao, Amir Khan, and most recently, Mercito Gesta and Shane Mosley.
“It really meant a lot to earn their trust,” Feder said. “Here you have a kid at age 19 making an important life decision, and I’m thankful he and his dad trusted me, especially with the great job his dad has done training him.
“The kid is a phenom. Today he went eight rounds with Shane Mosley. How are you going to get that anywhere else? We’ve been working together closely without any paper, and eventually we all felt comfortable because I really wanted him to be sure.”
One of Top Rank’s prized prospects, “Junior” makes his first appearance as a televised co-feature on the September 17 edition of Fox Sports Net’s “Top Rank Live” at the nearby BlueWater Casino in Parker, Ariz. He takes on Angel Rios (9-6, 6 KO) in a six-rounder.
“We’ll talk about it as a team before we start moving him up to eight [rounders],” Feder said. “It’s not a stamina issue. It’s about stepping him up to the right type of opponent. The kid’s got special skills, and we’re in no rush.”
Ryan Maquiñana is the boxing correspondent at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. He’s a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and The Ring’s Ratings Advisory Panel. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out his blog at www.maqdown.com or follow him on Twitter: @RMaq28