David Benavidez has an opponent against whom he can remain active while awaiting a bigger fight.
Benavidez informed BoxingScene.com on Tuesday that he’ll oppose Ronald Ellis on March 13. Showtime will televise the Benavidez-Ellis fight as the main event of a tripleheader that night from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The 24-year-old Benavidez had hoped to fight former IBF super middleweight champ Jose Uzcategui (29-4, 24 KOs), but Benavidez said that the Venezuelan veteran turned down that opportunity.
“We wanted a fight with Uzcategui, but he went a different route,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com. “So, I think Ronald Ellis is the opponent right now. We’re not overlooking Ronald Ellis at all. We’re training for this fight like it was a world title fight. We’re taking everything extremely serious. So, I hope that I can get a big fight after this. It doesn’t matter who it is. I’m open to fight whoever right now, so we’re taking this fight very seriously. And then, hopefully, after this fight, with a great performance, another great opportunity will open up.”
The Athletic’s Mike Coppinger was the first to report Tuesday in a Tweet that Benavidez-Ellis is scheduled for March 13.
Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) last boxed August 15, when he stopped Colombia’s Alexis Angulo following 10 one-sided rounds at Mohegan Sun Arena. The Phoenix native still lost his WBC super middleweight title the previous day, when he came in nearly three pounds overweight for his optional championship defense against Angulo (26-2, 22 KOs).
That marked the second time Benavidez lost the WBC 168-pound crown without being beaten inside the ring. He first was stripped of that title after he tested positive for cocaine in August 2018.
The Benavidez-Ellis bout will be contested at the super middleweight of 168 pounds, despite Benavidez’s embarrasing problem at the scale five months ago.
“It’s definitely gonna be at super middle,” Benavidez said. “I’m trying to come in at 167 or 168.”
Ellis scored a technical knockout over injured Matt Korobov in his most recent appearance, December 12 at Mohegan Sun Arena. The 38-year-old Korobov (28-4-1, 14 KOs) was ahead on two scorecards through four rounds, but the Russian southpaw couldn’t answer the bell for the start of the fifth round due to an Achilles injury.
The 31-year-old Ellis (18-1-2, 12 KOs, 1 NC), of Lynn, Massachusetts, has lost only a 10-round majority decision to DeAndre Ware (13-3-2, 8 KOs) in February 2019.
“For the four rounds it lasted, [Ellis-Korobov] was a pretty good fight,” Benavidez said. “I think, obviously, Ronald Ellis knows that I’m a big threat. So, I’m expecting the best Ronald Ellis you guys have ever seen. I’m expecting him to be very motivated, very sharp. So, I’m preparing for him accordingly, so you guys will see the best David Benavidez as well.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.