Having urged, pleaded, and flat-out begged the elite of the super middleweight division to face him, David Benavidez was relieved when he was given the good news. After years of back-and-forth trash talk between himself and Caleb Plant, the two have officially agreed to terms and will square off in the first quarter of 2023.

While Benavidez has enjoyed two separate title runs and is regarded by many as the man to beat at 168-pounds, his resume remains devoid of any top-level names. In what the 25-year-old hopes is a pattern, he maintains that next year will be a fruitful one.

In a perfect world, the pressure fighter out of Phoenix, Arizona will make quick work of Plant before earning his way to an undisputed showdown against Canelo Alvarez. Though his lofty goals are set, Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) is also thinking ahead. Luckily for him, the super middleweight division is jam-packed with countless young stars, including David Morrell, a man Benavidez hopes to get his hands on.

At one point, however, the former two-time WBC belt holder envisioned Edgar Berlanga as his future mega fight. Nevertheless, following an unprecedented 16-fight knockout streak, all of which ended in the first round, Berlanga (20-0, 16 KOs) has been mired in several lackluster performances.

Benavidez, admittedly, has been unimpressed with his young rival. While he’s still optimistic that Berlanga will eventually raise his game, as time slowly ticks by, Benavidez is starting to lose faith.

“He’s not getting any better bro to be honest with you,” said Berlanga to BoxingScene.com. “It can still be a mega fight but he just fought (Roamer Alexis) Angulo, a person I fought a couple fights ago and he had a really hard time with him.”

Angulo, as Benavidez refers to, provided Berlanga with arguably his toughest test yet. On June 11th, earlier this year, the 38-year-old veteran audaciously absorbed Berlanga’s pernicious shots directly on the chin while continuing to march forward. By and large, his relentless and effective pressure frustrated the New York native to no end.

Seemingly reaching his breaking point in the seventh, an exasperated Berlanga attempted to bite his man. Although he avoided getting disqualified, the 25-year-old was reprimanded heavily, resulting in a $10,000 fine and six-month suspension.

Benavidez though, is uninterested in chastising the up-and-coming prospect for his recent actions. Instead, he crosses his fingers in the hopes that Berlanga will develop his overall skills. But at this stage, Benavidez is convinced that the likelihood of Berlanga reaching the top of the super middleweight mountain is incredibly slim.

“I wish nothing but the best for Edgar Berlanga but I don’t really feel like he’s on that level right now.”