By Keith Idec
Anthony Dirrell has lost only once since he turned pro 14 years ago, when David Benavidez was just 8.
Benavidez believes he is the man to deal Dirrell his second and most decisive defeat. The 22-year-old Benavidez expects to challenge Dirrell sometime in the fall, perhaps as soon as September, for the WBC super middleweight title that was taken from Benavidez last year.
“This is a fight I wanna be in,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com. “You know, the fans have been waiting to see me. And a tough, rugged fighter like Anthony Dirrell, you know, I think it’s just gonna bring the best out of me. And I can’t wait.”
Phoenix’s Benavidez (21-0, 18 KOs) was stripped of his WBC 168-pound crown after testing positive for cocaine late last summer. He returned to the ring March 16, when he knocked out veteran J’Leon Love (24-3-1, 13 KOs, 1 NC) in the second round at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The 34-year-old Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, won the vacant WBC super middleweight title February 23 in Minneapolis. Dirrell defeated Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) by technical decision that night after a cut above Dirrell’s left eye caused a ringside physician to stop their scheduled 12-rounder during the 10th round.
Dirrell was ahead by the same score, 96-94, on two scorecards when that fight was stopped. He trailed 98-92 on the third card.
“I’m just gonna go in there and take back what’s mine,” Benavidez said. “You know what I mean? I never lost it. You know, just to see it around another man’s waist, it’s been getting at me a lot. You know, so I’m going with a lot of motivation, a lot of hunger, and I’m going in there and I’m gonna take my crown back.”
Dirrell is a two-time WBC super middleweight champion who has dropped just a majority decision to Badou Jack in April 2015.
“He’s a great fighter,” Benavidez said of Dirrell. “You know what I mean? He’s a veteran in the sport. I used to watch him when I was 12 years old, 13 years old. You know what I mean? So, I’ve been watching him for a long time. And I just feel like I have youth, I have the size. I feel like I’m hungrier. I think he’s kind of like at the end of his road. Not the end of his road, but you know, almost there. You know what I mean? So, I feel like I’m coming in a little more motivated than he is. But I’m not gonna say nothing. I’m just gonna go in there and I wanna get the fight on. And I wanna prove to the fans that I’m gonna be the best in the super middleweight division.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.