No matter how hard David Benavidez trained, no matter what he said at Tuesday’s grand arrivals in Las Vegas and no matter what he’s done in the ring before this, his Saturday night light-heavyweight bout against Oleksandr Gvozdyk is a trap fight.

Benavidez, 27, so badly wanted this bout to be the opportunity to exercise his WBC mandatory contender position against his bitter rival and four-division champion Canelo Alvarez.

Instead, Alvarez bypassed Benavidez in favor of defeating Mexican countryman Jaime Munguia and left Benavidez to take the step up in weight to meet Ukraine’s Oleksandr Gvozdyk.

Yes, Gvozdyk (20-1, 16 KOs) is a former world champion, but that was way back in 2019, when Gvozdyk was so beat up by unified champion Artur Beterbiev that he retired for three years, resuming with three bouts of far lighter activity than what Benavidez typically brings.

“There is evidence – real, tangible reason – why (Benavidez) can overlook (Gvozdyk),” famed trainer Teddy Atlas said in Tuesday’s episode of ProBox TV’s “Deep Waters” that focused entirely on Phoenix’s Benavidez. “If he’s connecting the (knocked out) Gvozdyk to the Gvozdyk he’ll fight Saturday night … we’re human beings. There’s a real good chance he’s looking over (Gvozdyk). He’s a little overconfident.”

Atlas, who trained Gvozdyk for the Beterbiev fight, has high praise for Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) and the way he’s been trained by his father, Jose Benavidez Sr.

“But you can’t remove the real part – even subconsciously – to look past (Gvozdyk) and it could be a problem,” Atlas said.

That spawned a conversation about the slips that Benavidez has made outside the ring – a positive cocaine test more than five years ago, losing his super-middleweight belt on the scale in 2020 and appearing drunk on a DAZN broadcast earlier this year.

“Benavidez always seems to turn it around. He has these little hiccups and then turns it around,” former welterweight champion Paulie Malignaggi said. “Time will only tell. We can only judge him by his in-the-ring performances, and they’ve been stellar.”

Malignaggi said he’s seen maturity in Benavidez, attached partially to becoming a father.

“We’re all wild. We’re fighters,” former 140-pound champion Chris Algieri said on “Deep Waters.” “If I made a lot of money in my 20s, I’d have done some dumb-a** things, too. He’s maturing through the process. He’s made his adjustments.

“I’m seeing him progress to what I think he’s going to be: the face of the sport.”

Yet, Atlas didn’t want to speculate on what some others are: projecting Benavidez as a possible heavyweight champion.

“When we don’t know if he can beat Gvozdyk, when we don’t know if he can beat the (Oct. 12) winner of the Beterbiev-(Dmitrii) Bivol (undisputed light-heavyweight title bout) … to (talk about) it because he’s the flavor of the month and we want to put an extra spice on it? No, a good steak is a good steak.”

So what about that Benavidez-Alvarez fight?

Atlas said it can happen because “there’s a new man in town in (Saudi Arabia’s) Turki Alalshikh. He’s turning the boxing world upside down, making fights that could never be made with that money that’s now in the game.”

While Alvarez has rebuffed Benavidez, he’s also said he will fight him for $150 million to $200 million in purse money.

“Whether (Alvarez) wants to fight (Benavidez) or doesn’t, with that kind of money, he will fight,” Atlas said. “When (Alalshikh) mentioned (Benavidez-Alvarez), Canelo went from flatline interest to beep, beep, beep – a little life.”