David Benavidez agreed to move to light heavyweight after giving up on a showdown with Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

Benavidez will fight Oleksandr Gvozdyk on June 15, on the undercard of Gervonta Davis-Frank Martin at Las Vegas’ MGM Grand, after stopping the previously undefeated Demetrius Andrade in November at 168 pounds.

A fight between Benavidez and Alvarez, the undisputed super middleweight champion who will defend his title against Jaime Munguia at Las Vegas’ T-Mobile Arena on Saturday evening, is considered one of the most essential that could be made in any weight division.

Alvarez’s apparent lack of interest in fighting him and the expectation that Edgar Berlanga will challenge him next has led to Benavidez moving up in weight, where he could yet secure a lucrative future date with the winner of the fight between Artur Beterbiev and Dmitry Bivol that is to be rearranged.

It is understood that Benavidez will be given only 10 days after June 15 to decide on his next move – he is the mandatory challenger to Alvarez’s WBC title – and also that the injury suffered by Beterbiev could lead to an earlier-than-expected opportunity to challenge for a title at 175 pounds.

“This was the right time to move up because I did everything I could do at 168,” Benavidez said. “I’ve been there for 10 years. The only thing I had to achieve was fighting for the unified world titles, and Canelo Alvarez is holding all of them. He doesn’t want to give me the fight; I’ve been mandatory for the past three years, I’ve done everything I could do to get that fight. I still haven’t got it, so I’m not gonna wait around for nobody. I’m [going to] go and make my own lane at 175, and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

“My goal is to become unified champion at 175 and just reign there, and maybe go up to cruiserweight. I still have a lot to grow – I’m 27 years old – and I’m still doing a lot in the sport, so I want to accomplish the dreams I set out for myself when I was a little kid.

“This is a dream come true for me. I’ve always wanted to fight on a card with Gervonta Davis, and now that we got it set up, this is going to be the biggest card of the year. I’m very excited. I got a tough, tough opponent in front of me. He’s only had one loss, to Artur Beterbiev, so I’ve got my work cut out for me on June 15, but I’m going out there – I feel strong, I feel great, and I’m gonna capture another title.

“Being the 100th fight [night] at the MGM Grand is a dream come true. It couldn’t have been any better. Gervonta Davis headlining; me, co-main event. I’m very excited for this.”

At 37, Gvozdyk is 10 years Benavidez’s senior. He will fight for the fourth time since his stoppage defeat by Beterbiev in October 2019 triggered a period of inactivity of more than three years.

“I’m so excited to be here again, to get a chance to fight for a title again, against a top opponent, so I’ll do my best to not leave you disappointed,” Gvozdyk said. “We’re going to put on a great show on June 15.

“It feels great. This was my goal, when I came back – this kind of fight was [the] goal of my comeback. It means a lot to me – people are going to know that Ukrainians are strong and brave people.

“To be in the ring with him is an extremely tough place to be,” Gvozdyk said of Benavidez. “He’s making, always, relentless pressure. He’s a very good fighter, a very good puncher. I consider him one of the best fighters. It’s a big challenge.”