It’s all business, not personal, for 168-pound ace David Benavidez Jr., as it relates to his desire to fight the division’s unified kingpin Canelo Alvarez.
The hard hitting super middleweight contender is ranked number one in the WBC and has said repeatedly for a while now that he has his crosshairs on Alvarez. The 25-year-old from Phoenix has been trying to regain his perch in the division after losing the WBC title twice for extracurricular reasons.
But in a recent interview, Eddy Reynoso, Alvarez’s manager and trainer, rebuffed Benavidez’s advances, criticizing his supposedly lackluster résumé and that Alvarez would have no “motivation” to fight him.
“If you look at his record, he has not beaten anyone, the most he has done is a win over Anthony Dirrell, who for me is a champion who did not have a great run, somewhat mediocre at 168 pounds," Reynoso told Diego Benavides. “Many have called Benavidez overrated…What motivates us to fight with him? He has won practically nothing. He fights with C class opponents.”
Benavidez took exception to these comments.
“It kind of, like, frustrates me now that everybody’s coming out an saying that I haven’t fought nobody, that I’ve never fought on pay-per-views, I’m nobody, this and that,” Benavidez said, obviously referring to Reynoso’s remarks, in an interview on the Calling Russ Anber podcast. “You can say all that, but I’m going through the ranks at super middleweight. I’ve been number one like three fights already. I’ve been beating the people I have to beat…the people love to see me fight so why wouldn’t he want to fight me. I feel like it would be a great fight for the fans and for boxing.”
The way Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) sees it, Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs) has no choice but to fight him, so long as Alvarez decides to stick around at 168 pounds; Alvarez has hinted at a move up to the cruiserweight division in his next bout. After all, Benavidez has no plans of competing in any other weight class anytime soon.
“They can say what they want to say, but at the end of the day I’m still winning my fights, I’m still number one in the super middleweight division, and the people are gonna keep calling for that fight,” Benavidez said.
“So they can say this and that, but you know, I’m here to stay. If they don’t fight me now, they’re gonna have to see me in the future because I’m not going nowhere.”
Benavidez also has a simple counterargument to Reynoso’s point about his poor résumé: Alvarez fought lowly Avni Yildirim (24-4, 13 KOs) last February, stopping the Turkish native inside three rounds.
But more importantly, Benavidez wants desperately to regain his WBC belt. He lost it the first time for testing positive for cocaine and then lost it again on the weight scales heading into his bout with Roamer Angulo in 2020.
If Alvarez truly has no desire to give him a shot, Benavidez thinks the the Mexican superstar needs to move over and relinquish his belts.
“If he’s going to stay at 168, he should fight the number one at 168,” Benavidez stated. “He fought the number one contender when the WBC title was vacant, Yildrim. Yildrim hasn’t fought nobody and he took care of him. If he’s going to be at 168, he has to fight me. If he’s not going to be at 168, vacate all his titles.
“He can pick and choose if he’s going to 175 or if he’s going to go to 200 pounds, or whatever he’s going to do. He can do whatever he wants to do. If people are saying he’s picking and choosing that’s for other people to say. I stay in my lane. I have tunnel vision. My main focus is the titles. So if he’s not going to fight he needs to vacate the titles and let me fight for the titles.”
Benavidez, though, had nothing bad to say about Alvarez on a personal level. He just wants his shot at him inside the ring.
“I take nothing away from Canelo,” Benavidez said. “He’s the best pound-for-pound right now. I feel like he’s really good. Like I said I still want my shot at him. I still feel he has yet to face somebody like me in the super middleweight division. I’m fast, strong, young, I throw body shots, punches in bunches. I feel like I give him the best fight. I feel like I can beat Canelo 100%.
“I just need my opportunity.”