The Mohegan Tribe Department of Regulation would’ve given David Benavidez two hours Friday to try to lose the 2¾ pounds he would’ve had to shed to prevent losing his WBC super middleweight title at its scale.
Based on Benavidez’s account of how mightily he struggled to lose those last three pounds, two additional days might not have been enough time for him to make the 168-pound limit for his fight against Alexis Angulo on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. The unbeaten Benavidez eventually resigned himself to the reality that the extra weight wouldn’t come off within the allowable time Friday.
He instead declined his second chance at making weight and surrendered his WBC 168-pound title for the second time without actually losing a fight.
“I was trying all morning, last night,” Benavidez told Showtime’s Brian Campbell and Luke Thomas immediately after failing to make weight. “I just got to those three pounds, where it just – I worked out for an hour and literally nothing came off. Dry as a bone. … There was nothing else I could do. You move around for an hour. I had sauna suits [on], working out.
“Maybe if I would’ve had a big bathtub and just laid in the bathtub for an hour, but I wasn’t able to access that, either. No sauna. You know what I mean? And just when the body feels, you know, I couldn’t sweat anymore. You know what I mean? So, there was nothing I could do there.”
The teams for Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs) and Angulo (26-1, 22 KOs) came to a monetary agreement before Benavidez stepped on the digital scale at 170.8 pounds, so that they could move forward with Showtime’s main event of a three-bout broadcast set to start at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT. The WBC belt Benavidez lost will be at stake for Colombia’s Angulo, the 15th-ranked challenger for that title.
The WBC previously stripped Benavidez of its super middleweight championship because he tested positive for cocaine in August 2018. He regained that crown by knocking out Anthony Dirrell (33-2-1, 24 KOs) in the ninth round of his last fight, September 28 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.
The 23-year-old Benavidez arrived from at Mohegan Sun on Monday from Seattle, where the Phoenix native now resides.
There wasn’t a sauna available on site to Benavidez or any of the other nine boxers scheduled to fight on the card Saturday night. The COVID-19 protocols in place for the event allowed each fighter only one hour of gym time apiece per day at Mohegan Sun as well, but Benavidez accepted responsibility for his unprofessional behavior.
“I put the blame on myself,” Benavidez said. “You know, just the last three pounds wouldn’t come off. Maybe, you know, not having the proper things I needed – maybe a sauna. I was only able to go to the gym for an hour a day here, you know, since I’ve got here. You know, it’s a just a couple different things. But, you know, obviously I’m very disappointed [with] the stuff that’s happening right now. But I’ve still got a job to do tomorrow. You know, I’m definitely getting another opportunity later, in the future, but I’ve still got a fight to win.”
If Benavidez defeats Angulo, he would’ve been obligated to make a mandatory title defense against Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (21-2, 12 KOs) in his following fight.
Even if Benavidez beats Angulo, losing his title at the scale could complicate putting together what’s been a much-discussed fight against IBF champion Caleb Plant (20-0, 12 KOs), Benavidez’s rival. Of course, removing the mandated defense against Yildirim from Benavidez’s schedule could lead to Benavidez-Plant happening sooner if Benavidez can make weight for what would no longer be a title unification fight.
Nevertheless, Benavidez recognized the self-inflicted damage done to his career by failing to make weight.
“I’m very disappointed,” Benavidez said. “This is my first time missing weight. You know, I’m just, like I said, very disappointed losing the title on the scale. But I’ve still got a job to do tomorrow. You know, I lose the title, but I’m still gonna win the fight tomorrow. … I’m still looking to come in strong, you know, and put up a good fight. I said I was gonna put up a good fight for the fans, and that’s what I’m looking to do.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.