Another undefeated southpaw suspects that David Benavidez is avoiding him as the unbeaten Benavidez prepares for his upcoming fight against Demetrius Andrade.
That’s fine by Benavidez, who assured doubters during a recent interview with BoxingScene.com that David Morrell Jr. is also on his hit list. Benavidez explained that he and his team chose Andrade as his next opponent over Morrell because the two-weight world champion has more name recognition to help sell their Showtime Pay-Per-View main event November 25 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
“I think he has more experience and I think he’s been ranked for longer,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com. “People know him more. So, that’s why went the route to fight Demetrius. He’s a bigger name. But after this fight, you know, there’s not too much more fights out there at 168.
“So, David Morrell is on that list. I heard he’s been talking a lot. And it’s fine. You know, I embrace these challenges, like I said, so after Demetrius, you know, we’re gonna see what’s next. And then we’ll make the best fights happen.”
Phoenix’s Benavidez (27-0, 23 KOs) has opened as a 4-1 favorite to defeat Andrade (32-0, 19 KOs), a Providence, Rhode Island native who will fight for the second time at the super middleweight limit after giving up his WBO middleweight title. The 35-year-old Andrade will be the first left-handed opponent for Benavidez, though, since he defeated Denis Douglin on points in August 2016 and should present stylistic challenges for the rugged, right-handed WBC interim super middleweight champ.
Morrell, meanwhile, doesn’t have a fight scheduled. The Cuban-born, Minneapolis-based secondary WBA champion knocked out Brazil’s Yamaguchi Falcao (24-2-1, 10 KOs) in the first round of Morrell’s most recent fight, a scheduled 12-rounder on the Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia undercard April 22 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The 25-year-old Morrell is commonly considered one of the top five super middleweights in boxing, but Benavidez would represent a steep step up in competition for a fighter who has a lot less professional experience (9-0, 8 KOs).
Benavidez obviously wants to challenge Canelo Alvarez for his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 168-pound crowns if he beats Andrade. The former full WBC champion nevertheless sees Morrell as a future foe.
“That’s definitely gonna be a fight for me,” Benavidez said. “He’s a great fighter and, like I said, I only wanna fight great fighters. That would definitely be a good name on my resume.”
The 26-year-old Benavidez hasn’t been bothered by any of Morrell’s trash talk. Much like his grudge match with Caleb Plant, whom Benavidez beat by unanimous decision March 25 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Benavidez views Morrell’s comments as a way of building their rivalry.
“He’s a young, hungry fighter,” Benavidez said. “He wants his opportunity and he’s talking smack. That’s what a fighter’s supposed to do, you know? He’s supposed to build it up. But we’re gonna get to Morrell. You know what I mean? And it’s better overall. I want him to talk as much smack as he can. You know, we build the fight up and it gets more eyeballs and more people interested in the fight. If I have any advice for him, keep it coming. You know, we’re gonna fight eventually.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.