By Keith Idec
During a press conference Thursday attended by Brandon Rios and Angel Garcia, David Benavidez surprisingly was the most provocative participant.
The unbeaten WBC super middleweight champion promised that he’ll knock out Ronald Gavril in their rematch Saturday night and send the contender into retirement. Benavidez beat Gavril by split decision to win the then-vacant WBC 168-pound crown in their first fight, but not before Gavril knocked him down with 55 seconds to go in the 12th round September 8 in Las Vegas.
After adding strength and conditioning coach Alex Ariza to his team for their second encounter, the 21-year-old Benavidez feels more confident about his preparation than prior to their first bout. When the 31-year-old Gavril (18-2, 14 KOs) questioned Thursday why Benavidez (19-0, 17 KOs) felt the need to hire Ariza for their rematch, Benavidez unloaded a verbal barrage.
“I’m gonna knock him out,” Benavidez said during a press conference at Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas, the site of their fight Saturday night. “Look at me in my eyes when I tell you I’m gonna knock you out. I’m gonna put you into retirement, bro. That’s how it’s gonna be. I’m gonna put you into retirement. I’m gonna put you into retirement. I’m gonna knock you out this fight. Yeah, we’ll see. … You’ve been talking a lot of sh*t this camp, so we’ll see. You’ve been talking a lot, saying I’m a little [kid]. I’m gonna knock your ass out!”
Gavril argued that it is Benavidez who has been talking trash during the buildup toward their 12-round rematch at Mandalay Bay Events Center.
“I think Benavidez talks too much,” Gavril said. “In the first fight, he said he’s coming to stop me in the first four rounds, five rounds. He cannot stop me. And he’s saying it again right now. He’s saying he’ll stop me in the rematch. He can’t do that to me.”
Gavril, a Las Vegas resident raised in Romania, has not been knocked out during his six-year pro career. He is the only opponent who has dropped Benavidez, but the defending champion from Phoenix is undeterred.
“This is gonna be the fight of the night, so you guys don’t wanna miss this fight,” Benavidez said. “I’m gonna send this man into retirement. He’s not even gonna wanna box no more when I get done with him.”
The Benavidez-Gavril rematch will be part of a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader Saturday night (10 p.m. ET).
The main event will be a 12-round welterweight bout that’ll pit Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) against Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs), of Oxnard, California. The opener of the three-bout broadcast will be a 12-round IBF welterweight elimination match between Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas (20-3, 9 KOs) and Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson (24-2, 12 KOs).
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.