By Keith Idec
David Benavidez’s realizes the 12th round and the result of his last fight has created doubt about him.
The unbeaten WBC super middleweight champion plans to eliminate that skepticism during his rematch with Ronald Gavril. Benavidez will make the first defense of his 168-pound title against Gavril on Saturday night in Las Vegas, where he intends to win more convincingly than he did September 8.
Benavidez beat Gavril by split decision that night. Then just 20 years old, Benavidez got up from a 12th-round knockdown and won on two of the three scorecards (117-111, 116-111, 111-116) to capture the vacant WBC super middleweight title.
“I’m basically looking to destroy this guy in this fight,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com. “Just to take any doubt from people’s mind that this guy’s better than me, I feel like I need to dominate this fight to solidify my position in this division. I need to take away the doubt that the first fight was his. I feel like I won it clearly.”
The 21-year-old Benavidez (19-0, 17 KOs) contends that Gavril (18-2, 14 KOs) didn’t hurt him in the final round, that his first trip to the canvas was more the consequence of bad balance. Regardless, Phoenix’s Benavidez respects some of the trouble Romania’s Gavril gave him during their first fight.
“The thing about him that I was impressed with is that he keeps his defense really tight,” Benavidez said. “So we have to do different types of things to open up that defense, maybe set different traps for him. There are a lot of different strategies going into this fight.”
If he can open up Gavril’s defense in their rematch, Benavidez is confident he can score a knockout.
“I think that would just solidify my position in the division and as a champion,” Benavidez said. “If I go in there and do what I say I’m gonna do, which I know I can do, then that last round of the first fight will not even matter.”
The Benavidez-Gavril rematch will be the second of three fights Showtime will broadcast from Mandalay Bay Events Center (10 p.m. ET).
The tripleheader will begin with a 12-round IBF welterweight elimination match that’ll pit Cuba’s Yordenis Ugas (20-3, 9 KOs) against Philadelphia’s Ray Robinson (24-2, 12 KOs). In the main event, Philadelphia’s Danny Garcia (33-1, 19 KOs) and Brandon Rios (34-3-1, 25 KOs), of Oxnard, California, are set to square off in a 12-round welterweight bout.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.