Jose Benavidez Jr. admits a three-year layoff affected his subpar performance Saturday night.

The 29-year-old Benavidez still feels he did enough to defeat Emanuel Torres in their 10-round middleweight match. Benavidez gave Torres credit for having an awkward style and a reliable chin that served the Argentinean veteran well during a majority draw Showtime televised from Footprint Center in Phoenix, Benavidez’s hometown.

Despite that he hadn’t fought since Terence Crawford stopped him in the 12th round of their WBO welterweight title fight in October 2018, Benavidez wasn’t expected to struggle against an unknown underdog who had recorded just five knockouts in his first 20 professional fights. Benavidez (27-1-1, 18 KOs) felt rusty as he tried to track down Torres (17-3-1, 5 KOs), who fought off his back foot for most of their fight.

“I mean, I’ve been out of the ring for three years,” Benavidez said during a post-fight press conference. “Yeah, I felt the rust the first couple rounds. You know, but I mean, it’s OK. It is what it is. I felt like I did enough to win the fight. The guy kept running. It looked like he was on a bicycle. And I give him that – he can take a shot. But, I mean, he didn’t wanna, you know, he was awkward. He was an awkward fighter, but he came here to fight.

“Everyone has their different styles, and it’s OK. I mean, I don’t think the judges scored the fight how it’s supposed to be scored. But, I mean, a draw’s a draw. It’s not a loss. You know, I’m gonna go back home, keep training and make sure that I don’t get any draws next time, and make sure I stop the guy.”

Benavidez wants to return to the ring as soon as possible in 2022, but closer to the junior middleweight limit of 154 pounds. The contract weight for his fight with Torres was 159 pounds, in part because Benavidez lost 80-plus pounds from the time he was at his heaviest during his long layoff.

“I went up to 240 pounds,” Benavidez said. “I lost like [80] pounds. So, not only that, I went down, I lost weight. I felt strong. It’s just, I mean, like I said, I haven’t been in the ring for three years. So, that ring rust got to me a little bit. But, I mean, it’s OK. I mean, I got this one down. Now let’s just keep going from here on out.”

Benavidez’s hometown fans booed when Showtime’s Jimmy Lennon Jr. announced that his fight resulted in a majority draw, yet seemingly because they felt Torres had won.

Judge Rocky Taylor scored their fight for Benavidez, 96-95. Judges Dennis O’Connell and Chris Wilson overruled Taylor by scoring it a draw, 95-95 apiece.

CompuBox counted 13 more punches overall for Torres (135-of-612 to 122-of-375). The underdog landed more power punches (107-of-334 to 97-of-285) and jabs (28-of-278 to 25-of-90), according to CompuBox.

“The next fight will be a total different fight,” Benavidez said. “I’m just glad I got this fight in. And I’m gonna keep training, and no more long layoffs.”

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