The only thing David Benavidez wanted to hear more than his name announced as the winner was who is next and how soon he gets back in the ring.
The former two-time WBC super middleweight titlist gave himself a chance to fight for his old crown again following an 11th round stoppage win over Ronald Ellis. Benavidez overcame a slow 1st round to otherwise dominate the 31-year-old Lynn, Massachusetts product en route to a one-sided victory Saturday evening on Showtime from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Naturally, Benavidez (24-0, 21KOs) would love nothing more than to once again fight for his old belt. It is currently in the hands of Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (55-1-2, 37KOs) who claimed the WBC and WBA straps in a 12-round virtual shutout of unbeaten Callum Smith last December. Next up for Guadalajara’s Alvarez is a three-belt showdown with WBO title claimant Billy Joe Saunders (30-0, 14KOs) and then—with a win—eyeing an undisputed super middleweight championship clash with IBF titlist Caleb Plant (21-0, 12KOs).
That leaves all contenders on the outside looking in, which is no problem for the 24-year old Phoenix native.
“I want to fight [Jermall] Charlo,” Benavidez told BoxingScene,com, referring to the unbeaten WBC middleweight titlist who has designs on becoming a three-division titlist. “He said he was going to move up to 168. Now he’s backpedaling and (plans to stay) at 160.
“I’m willing to fight anybody. If anybody thinks I’m an easy task, come see me in the ring. I’ll show you otherwise. I’m not scared of nobody. I’m not hiding from nobody. It doesn’t matter. Put a date on it, and that’s where I will be.”
Another possibility—though perhaps not as desirable—is a rematch with Anthony Dirrell, whom Benavidez stopped inside of nine rounds to regain his WBC belt in Sept. 2019. The reign was short-lived, with Benavidez coming in nearly three pounds above the limit which left him stripped of his title ahead of a 10th round stoppage of Alexis Angulo in this very venue last August—his lone fight of 2020, to boot.
As it relates to a rematch with Benavidez, Dirrell (33-2-2, 24KOs) was in a position to force such a fight. Those plans were compromised after he was held to a 12-round draw versus Kyrone Davis in his own WBC semifinal title eliminator this past February in Los Angeles.
The stalemate left the WBC to simply recognize Benavidez’s bout with Ellis (18-2-2, 12KOs) as a final eliminator, though an immediate title shot doesn’t seem to be in the cards. With an emphasis on fighting as often as possible in 2021, Benavidez is open to any scenario.
“I’ll definitely fight Anthony Dirrell again,” he insisted. “I’ll stop him faster than I did the first time. I have a family to feed, this is my job. I’ll fight whoever they tell me.
“I’m only 24 years old. I just want to stay active. I don’t want to just fight once a year.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox