David Benavidez learned very costly lessons in the days leading up to his last fight.

The former WBC super middleweight champion came to Mohegan Sun for fight week too heavy and didn’t realize he wouldn’t have access to the tools he typically uses to shed the final pounds prior to weighing in. Coming in nearly three pounds overweight cost the undefeated Phoenix native his 168-pound title, a lot of money from his purse and eliminated Benavidez’s leverage to secure high-profile fights within his division.

The 24-year-old Benavidez has taken a much different approach to training camp for his fight against Ronald Ellis on March 13, which also will take place at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Benavidez arrived at trainer Abel Sanchez’s gym in Big Bear Lake, California, in the second half of December to begin training for the Ellis fight.

Benavidez trained in the Seattle area for his dominant, technical-knockout victory over Alexis Angulo on August 15. Training for a longer period of time, and at a higher elevation, has encouraged Benavidez about how comfortably he’ll be able to make the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds for his fight with Ellis.

“Obviously, we have to come a little bit more prepared because of what happened before the last fight, with the title, with not making the weight,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com. “This time we’ve given ourselves a little bit more time, just to work more on the weight and make sure there are no problems, just to make sure everything is good. But camp has been going amazing. I’ve been training out here in Big Bear, at The Summit Gym, with Abel Sanchez. I couldn’t be happier, and we’ve still got a lot of time to go. So, I’m looking to have an amazing performance in this fight.”

Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) officially weighed 170¾ pounds the day before he was supposed to make an optional title defense against Colombia’s Angulo (26-2, 22 KOs). He was so much over the super middleweight maximum, Benavidez didn’t even attempt to lose the extra weight.

The former champion’s failure at the scale came as a surprise because he weighed in below the 168-pound limit for each of his seven previous fights.

“When we were training when COVID first hit, everything was a little bit different,” Benavidez said. “You know, the facilities we needed, like the steam room and sauna, weren’t available. And then sometimes the facility with the treadmills were closed. And then especially when you get down to the Mohegan Sun, there wasn’t no sauna, no steam rooms. And also, a big part of my weight cut is the bathtub, just soaking in the hot bathtub, so that was a big part of that, too.

“There were just a lot of things we weren’t able to get to make the weight. But this time, we’ve made sure we have everything – the sauna, steam room, treadmills – when we’re not able to run outside. We’re coming in a little bit more prepared this time. And we’re giving ourselves more time, too, to make sure there’s no mistakes this time.”

Benavidez expects to weigh in at either 167 or 168 pounds the day before he faces Ellis (18-1-2, 12 KOs, 1 NC), of Lynn, Massachusetts, in the 12-round main event of a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader.

“I don’t wanna go through what happened last time,” Benavidez said. “It was not only losing the title, I also had to pay a really big fine. So, I’m not trying to go through that again. We’re gonna come way more prepared than we did last time.”

Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.