Anthony Dirrell feels he deserves a rematch with David Benavidez.
If not for the cut he suffered in the sixth round, Dirrell is certain he would’ve worn down Benavidez and dealt the WBC super middleweight champion his first loss. Benavidez battered a bloodied Dirrell toward the end of their 168-pound championship match September 28, until referee Thomas Taylor stopped it in the ninth round.
The 35-year-old Dirrell explained his rationale for wanting a rematch while co-hosts Kenneth Bouhairie and Mike Rosenthal interviewed him for the most recent episode of “The PBC Podcast.”
“He know I want a rematch,” Dirrell said. “I don’t think he’ll give it to me. Because he know I was beating him, truthfully. He know I was beating him. He know he couldn’t do the things to me what he did to other fighters. And I think it was because of my experience. Is the guy good? Yeah, he’s a good fighter. Everybody knows that. But I think I was beating him until that cut. But we will never know. I mean, a cut happens, you take the wins with the losses and hopefully I can get another shot before I go out and show the world that, you know, I am a true champion.”
Phoenix’s Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs) was defeating Dirrell comfortably on all three scorecards when their fight was stopped (79-73, 79-73, 78-74) at Staples Center in Los Angeles. A stiff jab by Benavidez opened a cut on Dirrell’s right eyelid during the sixth round.
Dirrell (33-2-1, 24 KOs), of Flint, Michigan, lost inside the distance for the first time in 14 years as a pro. His trainer, Javan Steward, instructed a California State Athletic Commission inspector to tell Taylor to stop the fight once Dirrell started taking too much punishment in the ninth round.
“It’s not disappointing,” Dirrell said. “I got cut. You know, things happen. I was winning the fight. It’s a loss, yes. You still go back to the drawing board. I couldn’t do nothing about a cut, you know, a cut especially from a jab. You kind of go back and reassess, you know, what could you have done. But I’m not disappointed in my performance. I think I performed very well up to the cut. I think I still had a lot to give. You know, I was just getting started. I think I was wearing him down a little bit. I think he started to slow down. I mean, like I say, we will never know what would happen if the fight would’ve went 12 rounds or less, without the cut. But we can solve that by, you know, doing a rematch.”
The 23-year-old Benavidez was scheduled to make an optional title defense against Colombia’s Alexis Angulo (26-1, 22 KOs) this Saturday night at Arizona Federal Theatre in Phoenix. Their “Showtime Championship Boxing” main event has been postponed indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Dirrell didn’t have a fight set when the coronavirus crisis brought the boxing business to a halt last month.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.