José Benavidez Jr. had to pull out of his August fight against Luis Collazo after suffering a left leg injury.
In August 2016, Benavidez Jr. was shot in the right leg, just above the knee and the bullet hit a main artery. He also suffered a wound to his left leg, and the injuries sustained from that near-fatal night will linger for the rest of his life. Whenever Benavidez Jr. steps in the ring, he’ll forever do so with a physical disadvantage, according to his father.
“He injured his leg a little bit [before the scheduled Collazo fight], and if something is wrong already, I’m not going to take a chance. I have to make sure he’s fully healthy before he’s ready to go again,” father and trainer José Benavidez Sr. told BoxingScene.com. “I don’t think he’s 100 percent. He’ll never be 100 percent recovered. If we can get to at least 80 percent, that will be good and I will be happy with that. When he fought Terence Crawford, his leg was 60-to-70 percent.”
Benavidez Jr. (27-1, 18 KOs) is looking to recover again soon and bounce back after a TKO loss to Crawford in October 2018. Benavidez Jr. already lost 18 months from the prime of his career before facing Crawford, and he’s on the sidelines again in an extended layoff.
His father is hoping he steps back in the ring by February. Jose Sr. first wants to finish training his son David Benavidez for his Sept. 28 fights against Anthony Dirrell before switching gears to his other child.
“I was nervous in the Crawford fight because I didn’t know how the leg would react,” said Benavidez Sr. “But I think he did better than what I thought. He showed me has heart. It’s just now getting him to focus.”
The focus senior alludes to is junior being arrested in July on street racing charges in Arizona, just days after suffering the leg injury that postponed the Collazo fight.
“That’s something that I can’t control,” said Benavidez Sr. “I do the best that I can to guide him and tell him what to do.”
Manouk Akopyan has been a member of the Boxing Writers Assn. of America since 2011 and has written for the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, the Guardian and Philadelphia Inquirer. He can be reached on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube at @ManoukAkopyan or via email at [email protected].