A pair of non-title fights are in store for David Benavidez’s immediate future.
It’s a worthwhile journey for the former two-time WBC super middleweight title claimant, considering to where the road will potentially lead. The 24-year-old Phoenix, Arizona product is angling for a third title reign, one which he hopes will come courtesy of a long-craved showdown with global superstar Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
“Canelo is the big fish. Everyone wants the big fish,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com. “Whoever fights Canelo has to be at the pinnacle. They have to be at their best just to go up against Canelo. He is without a doubt one of the best fighters in the world today.
“I feel like where I’m at in my life, I’m just ready to accept the challenge. I just had a baby, my son—no bigger motivation than that. I got youth on my side, I got more speed than Canelo as well. All I need is the opportunity to prove to the world, to my fans and even myself. I want to know myself that I’m one of the best. I feel like I’m ready for that.”
Alvarez (54-1-2, 36KOs) is widely considered as the reigning pound-for-pound king. As far as physical titles, the 30-year-old from Guadalajara has claimed titles in four weight divisions and currently serves as the unified WBC/WBA super middleweight titlist. Both belts are in the line versus Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12KOs), with Alvarez considered a true 45-1 favorite heading into their DAZN headliner this Saturday in Miami, Florida.
A win by the Mexican icon should lead to a three-belt unification clash with undefeated WBO titlist Billy Joe Saunders in May. From there, Alvarez has every intention of gunning for undisputed championship status which would require a fight with IBF title claimant Caleb Plant later this year.
Benavidez (23-0, 20KOs) aims to take the first step towards a shot at a third title reign, as he faces Ronald Ellis (18-1-2, 12KOs) in a semifinal title eliminator. Their bout takes place atop a Showtime-televised triple header on March 13, by which time the winner will have been decided in this weekend’s Fox main event between Anthony Dirrell (33-2-1, 24KOs)—whom Benavidez stopped in their 9th round of their Sept. 2019 title fight to begin his second title reign—and Kyrone Davis (15-2, 6KOs) in the other WBC-ordered semifinal.
Odds are currently in favor of Benavidez running the table and in being in position to pursue the WBC title for a third time. Should Alvarez’s aggressive schedule hold true, all four belts could be in his possession by that point, further sweetening the pot.
“That’s huge. It’s everything you can dream of in one night,” notes Benavidez. “That’s huge motivation if I can get to Canelo by then, more than just fighting for the WBC title.
“It’s going to be exciting and very interesting to see how things play out. If I come out successful, it will be interesting to see if he does accept the challenge or if he vacates the belt.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox