David Benavidez has every intention to resume his knockout ways.
The unbeaten former two-time WBC super middleweight titlist stopped his six previous opponents but was forced to go all twelve rounds in his unanimous decision victory over Caleb Plant. Their March 25 clash at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas saw Benavidez surge late to preserve his win but heard the scorecards for the first time in five years.
It’s not an experience he plans to replicate in his return to Vegas, when he faces undefeated former two-division titleholder Demetrius Andrade.
“I do expect to stop Andrade,” Benavidez vowed during a recent media workout in Burien, Washington. “I’ve been working extremely hard. My last fight went the distance and I was upset about that.
“We’re gonna correct that and stop Demetrius Andrade.”
Benavidez (27-0, 23KOs)—a Phoenix native who lives and trains in the greater Seattle area—will defend his interim WBC super middleweight title versus Providence’s Andrade (32-0, 19KOs) atop a November 25 Showtime Pay-Per-View from Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
The last time Benavidez went all twelve-round was in his pair of wins over Ronald Gavril. He was just 21 years at the time of a September 2017 vacant WBC title win over Gavril, which saw Benavidez suffer the lone knockdown of his career to claim a split decision victory. Their February 2018 rematch was far more one-sided, where Benavidez won nearly every round in a lopsided unanimous decision to retain his title.
A variety of knockouts followed over his next fights. Benavidez got rid of veteran contender J’Leon Love in just over four minutes and went nine hard-fought rounds in a stoppage of Anthony Dirrell to become a two-time WBC 168-pound title claimant. The other side of the pandemic saw Benavidez go deep in late round technical knockout victories over Alexis Angulo and Ronald Ellis before he returned to his Phoenix hometown in a seventh-round stoppage of Ronald Ellis.
Benavidez’s lone fight of 2022 ended in just 7 ½ minutes as he tore through former middleweight beltholder David Lemieux to claim the interim WBC title last May in Glendale, Arizona. A ten-month inactive stretch ended with a hard-fought but ultimately clear-cut victory over Plant, normally a slick boxer who had to survive a second-half onslaught by Benavidez to send the fight to the judges.
Andrade has been down before but has never come close to losing in 15 years as a pro. The 35-year-old southpaw—a 2008 U.S. Olympian who has won titles at junior middleweight and middleweight— can prove to be a nightmare on any given night. He has also shown enough lapses in past fights to where Benavidez sees an opportunity to create an uncomfortable first for his next challenger.
“I’m preparing myself for the hardest possible fight. That’s how I always prepare,” insisted Benavidez. “I’ve been training three months and sparring 15 rounds at a time. I’m 100% ready to go.
“There are a lot of things Andrade does well, but I see weaknesses as well. We’re gonna put a great game plan together and expose him on November 25.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. X (Formerly Twitter): @JakeNDaBox