GLENDALE, Arizona – David Benavidez is ready to meet the biggest names within his reach in the super middleweight division.
The unbeaten 25-year-old has all but moved on from the thought of facing undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (57-2-2, 39KOs), even though he is the WBC mandatory challenger and interim titlist.
Instead, the former two-time full WBC champ has chosen to focus on the fights that he believes are makeable. Phoenix’s Benavidez (26-0, 23KOs) mentioned the same three names throughout fight week and again during the post-fight press conference following his third-round knockout of David Lemieux this past Saturday at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
“Caleb Plant, Jermall Charlo, David Morrell,” Benavidez confirmed to BoxingScene.com and other reporters. “I believe we’ll see those fights next for me. I feel like if they don’t, it puts a lot of pressure on them.
“They’re trying to talk this big talk that everyone’s scared of them. Well, right now I’m trying to get the fights with everyone. I’m trying to get the next best thing. If I don’t, well I’m the interim titleholder now. They’re going to be missing out on a good thing, a fight where we can really put it all on the line.”
Morrell (6-0, 5KOs) next defends his secondary WBA super middleweight title versus Kalvin Henderson on June 4 in his adopted hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Two weeks later, Charlo (32-0, 22KOs) gets a hometown showcase of his own when he headlines a Juneteenth weekend card in a title defense versus Poland’s Maciej Sulecki on June 18 at Toyota Arena in Houston.
Plant (21-1, 12KOs) has not fought since losing his IBF title in an eleventh-round knockout to Alvarez in their November 6 undisputed championship clash at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Next up for the Middle Tennessee native—who now lives and trains in Las Vegas—is a likely showdown with fellow former titlist Anthony Dirrell which is targeted for this summer.
Benavidez fully expects his next opponent to come from those three bouts. Long for the top challenges, the former two-time WBC super middleweight champ and current interim titlist is prepared to go to great lengths to make these fights happen—even if it means breaking character and going heel, perhaps even turning up at their fights.
“If that’s what needs to be done, I’ll do it,” vowed Benavidez. “I’m not really that type of person to do stuff like that, but if that’s what it takes to get these fights then I’ll do it. We’ll see what happens but I do believe we’re really close to making these fights happen.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox