David Benavidez thinks Kyrone Davis deserved the 12-round split draw to which he fought with Anthony Dirrell on February 27.
“It was a very close fight,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com. “Both men put up a great fight, but I did have it a draw.”
Though he didn’t defeat Dirrell (34-2-2, 25 KOs), a former WBC super middleweight champ, the 27-year-old Davis elevated himself in the 168-pound division by boxing as well as he did during the main event of a “FOX PBC Fight Night” telecast from Shrine Auditorium & Expo Hall in Los Angeles. Davis didn’t look nearly as impressive in his subsequent bout, an eight-round, unanimous-decision defeat of journeyman Martez McGregor (8-6, 6 KOs) that was closer than expected September 5 at The Armory in Minneapolis.
Benavidez envisions Davis looking even worse when they meet Saturday night in a “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event at Footprint Center in Benavidez’s hometown of Phoenix (9 p.m. ET; 6 p.m. PT). Davis accepted their bout on two weeks’ notice because Benavidez’s original opponent, former IBF super middleweight champ Jose Uzcategui (31-4, 26 KOs), tested positive for a banned performance-enhancing drug.
“He’s more of a boxer,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com. “He does throw punches in bunches, so my defense has to be tight and I have to be ready. He knows this is a big opportunity for him. But he does leave his body really open. He doesn’t really have that much punching power, so I feel like I’m the bigger man, I’m the stronger man, I’m the faster man, too, so I feel like I’m gonna have my way with him. This is certainly gonna be a showcase fight. I’m gonna put on a great performance for my people in Phoenix, Arizona, on Saturday.”
Davis, of Wilmington, Delaware, has not been knocked out in 19 professional fights. He has lost only pair of unanimous decisions to the late Patrick Day (then 14-2-1) and Junior Castillo (then 9-0).
In Benavidez, however, he’ll encounter a relentless 6-feet-2 former WBC super middleweight champ who hammers away at opponents’ bodies and tends to wear them down before stopping them. Benavidez has stopped 88 percent of his pro opponents (24-0, 21 KOs), whereas Davis has beaten just 32 percent of his foes by knockout or technical knockout (16-2-1, 6 KOs).
Davis pointed out that his two professional defeats came in junior middleweight (Day) and middleweight (Castillo) bouts, when the 5-feet-10 boxer was trying to squeeze down to the 154-pound and 160-pound limits, respectively. Benavidez assured him that won’t matter once the bell rings Saturday night.
“Yeah, you know, I see guys like this all the time, come in saying that my knockout streak is gonna come to an end, this and that,” Benavidez said during a press conference Thursday. “But, you know, once you feel the pressure, it’s a whole different type of power, it’s a whole different type of pressure in front of him. So, you know, it’s gonna be a great time. I wanna see how he’s gonna react to my punching power, my speed, my combinations. So, you know, I wish him the best luck in there. You know, he’s gonna need it. But it’s gonna be a great fight. I’m gonna just keep doing what I do best. You know, go in there, have fun and it’s gonna be a violent fight.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.