David Benavidez’s journey toward becoming the WBC’s mandatory challenger for the super middleweight title he has lost twice has been delayed.
BoxingScene.com has learned that Benavidez has tested positive for COVID-19 and has withdrawn from his upcoming fight against Jose Uzcategui. Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs) and Uzcategui (31-4, 26 KOs) were supposed to headline a “Showtime Championship Boxing” tripleheader August 28 from Footprint Center, the home venue of the NBA’s Phoenix Suns.
The bout between Phoenix’s Benavidez and Venezuela’s Uzcategui was scheduled as a 12-round WBC elimination match. The 24-year-old Benavidez already is the WBC’s number one contender for its 168-pound champion, Canelo Alvarez.
Contracting COVID-19 is yet another setback for the unbeaten Benavidez. He hasn’t lost in the ring, but the WBC has stripped him of its super middleweight championship twice.
The WBC first took its super middleweight crown from Benavidez after he tested positive for cocaine in August 2018. He won it back by stopping Anthony Dirrell in the ninth round of their fight in September 2019, but Benavidez lost it again when he came in nearly three pounds overweight for his subsequent bout, a voluntary title defense against Alexis Angulo almost a year ago.
It wasn’t clear at the time this story was posted if Showtime will move forward with this three-bout broadcast August 28 or postpone it because Benavidez was the primary draw in what was billed as a homecoming fight for him and his older brother, Jose Benavidez Jr. Showtime also was supposed to televise Jose Benavidez Jr.’s comeback bout – a 10-round junior middleweight match against Argentina’s Francisco Torres (17-3, 5 KOs).
Jose Benavidez Jr. (27-1, 18 KOs) hasn’t fought since unbeaten WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford stopped him in the 12th round of their title fight in October 2018 at CHI Health Center in Omaha, Nebraska, Crawford’s hometown.
Showtime also is supposed to showcase another fighter from Phoenix, undefeated Carlos Castro, as part of its broadcast August 28. Castro (26-0, 11 KOs) is scheduled to battle Colombia’s Oscar Escandon (26-5, 18 KOs) in a 10-round featherweight fight.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.