By Keith Idec
Jose Benavidez Jr. made a predictable but impressive comeback from getting shot Saturday night.
Benavidez beat Matthew Strode by technical knockout in the eighth and final round in a welterweight fight on the Gilberto Ramirez-Habib Ahmed undercard in Corpus Christi, Texas. Phoenix’s Benavidez completely controlled the action before dropping Strode with a right uppercut with 59 seconds left in the eighth round.
Strode reached his feet, only to have Benavidez unload a barrage of unanswered punches that prompted referee Lee Rogers to step in and stop the bout at 2:21 of the eighth round.
The 25-year-old Benavidez (26-0, 17 KOs) fought for the first time since suffering a gunshot wound in August 2016 in his native Phoenix. Benavidez suffered serious injuries to his right leg that threatened his career during that incident.
The 35-year-old Strode, of Greensboro, North Carolina, lost his fourth straight fight and slipped to 24-6 (9 KOs).
Before finishing his opponent in the eighth round, Benavidez blasted Strode with an array of punches early in the seventh round. Strode took those shots well enough to make it to the eighth and final round.
Benavidez battered Strode throughout the fifth round, mostly with overhand rights to the head and left hooks to the body. Rogers deducted a point from Strode for holding late in the fifth round.
Benavidez mostly hit Strode at will, but Strode’s toughness enabled him to take Benavidez’s best shots and keep coming forward until the final minute of the bout.
Benavidez landed several power punches toward the end of the second round that caused Strode to hold.
Prior to Saturday night, Benavidez hadn’t fought since defeating Francisco Santana by unanimous decision in a 10-round fight in July 2016 in Las Vegas.
Before Benavidez’s victory, highly regarded, 17-year-old welterweight prospect David Kaminsky won his pro debut by defeating Houston’s Rafael Munoz (1-3-1) by unanimous decision in a four-rounder.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.