David Benavidez seemingly blew the opportunity of a lifetime away when he blew past weight last August by failing to make the 168-pound limit ahead of his stoppage win over Roamer Alexis Angulo.
For his misfraction, the 24-year-old Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs) was stripped of his WBC super middleweight title.
By December, with his goals set at conquering super middleweight, Canelo Alvarez was fighting and capturing the vacant WBC strap when he fought and decisioned Callum Smith. The Mexican star picked up the Brit’s WBA and Ring Magazine titles as well.
Alvarez has since bested WBC mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim, and also stopped Billy Joe Saunders for the WBO belt. Alvarez next wants to fight IBF crownholder Caleb Plant in September to become the undisputed champion of the division.
If Benavidez had a belt, Alvarez would surely have considered fighting his fellow countryman too because he’s listed Benavidez as a potential foe several times over the last year.
Now, Benavidez (confidently) sits on the outside of the 168-pound title picture hoping to get a fight one day with Alvarez
“I feel like I can beat [Alvarez]. I saw a lot of things [during the Billy Joe Saunders fight] that I know I can take advantage of. Canelo’s opponents … the last ones didn’t have power,” Benavidez told Fight Hub TV.
“I have the goods to give Canelo a great fight. I’ve got a great jab, great body shots, and great speed, and I put a lot of pressure, too. I feel like that’s the type of fighter Canelo is. He hasn’t had an opponent that gives him trouble like that, and they all kind of seem to be defeated. They come in there like they’re already beaten. With me, it’s going to be the exact opposite. I have a lot of confidence, I’m very motivated in myself, and I know I’m going to be the one that beats Canelo.”
Benavidez can take solace knowing that even if Alvarez beats Plant and unifies the division, he still plans on fighting at 168 heading into 2022 with plans to take on all comers.
Perhaps Benavidez might get his turn then.
“I know a lot of people think Canelo will beat me, but that just makes me want to work harder to get the victory and shut all the haters up. I’m just excited and waiting for my opportunity,” said Benavidez.
“I don’t care where I fight him. I just want to get in the ring with him. Texas would be great. That would be a dream to fight [Alvarez] in front of 73,000 people. You got two Mexican fighters. I don’t see why we wouldn’t be able to fill the stadium out.”
Benavidez said he would even fight Alvarez in an 18-foot ring.
Heading into his fight versus Saunders, Alvarez had to compromise and settle for a 22-foot ring as opposed to his preferred 20-foot ring.
”I don’t get backed up too much. That’s the thing about me; I don’t let people push me to the ropes. [Alvarez] can try. I’d love to see him try. I feel like the difference between me and the other guys he’s fought is that I'm more powerful,” said Benavidez. “We just have to see how he reacts to the punches. I know that if I hit someone on the sweet spot, it doesn’t matter who he is. So if I hit him with the right body shot, the right hook, or uppercuts, I know I can hurt that guy. Another thing with me too, I have a good jab.
“[Canelo] hasn’t fought anyone with a good jab [lately], and that’s why Canelo can do what he wants to do because nobody keeps him off of them. Nobody throws a jab, nobody keeps him at a distance. My jab is like a right hand. I hurt people with jabs. I know a lot of the things I do can potentially hurt Canelo … I’m very confident about what I can do to him.”
Benavidez’s next bout will take place Aug. 28 against former super middleweight world champion Jose Uzcategui on Showtime at a still to be determined venue.
Manouk Akopyan is a sports journalist, writer and broadcast reporter. He’s also a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America and MMA Journalists Association. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan, via email at manouk[dot]akopyan[at]gmail.com or on www.ManoukAkopyan.com