David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade have the led the charge among those who’ve called the loudest for a shot at undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez.
This time, the WBC gave in and confirmed the winner of their interim title fight will be next in line to face the sport’s leading superstar. Benavidez will attempt the first defense of his secondary WBC title versus Providence’s Andrade atop a November 25 Showtime Pay-Per-View event from Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
“We’re going to monitor the result of the fight,” WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman stated during the ratings portion of the 61st annual WBC convention Wednesday in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. “David Benavidez is the mandatory contender. However, he’s fighting Andrade on November 25. After the result with the specifics—whether injury, cut or whatever—this time we confirm that David Benavidez is the mandatory. If he were to be successful against Demetrius Andrade, he is to be ratified as the mandatory for the WBC championship.”
Benavidez (27-0, 23KOs) was in a similar position for each of the past two years but did not get the same commitment from the sanctioning body whose full title he’s held during two previous reigns.
The unbeaten Phoenix native—who trains out of the greater Seattle area—was granted permission during last year’s 60th annual convention to next fight for an interim title, while Alvarez (60-2-2, 39KOs) was committed to a WBO mandatory versus John Ryder.
Benavidez won the interim WBC super middleweight title in a twelve-round, unanimous decision over former IBF titleholder Caleb Plant on March 25 at MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas. Alvarez went on to beat Ryder by unanimous decision on May 6 in Zapopan, Mexico.
However, no movement was made by the sanctioning body as Alvarez was granted a voluntary defense despite having mandatory challenges with all of the other organizations. He went on to face and beat then-undisputed junior middleweight champion Jermell Charlo (35-2-1, 19KOs), who moved up two divisions in an unsuccessful bid in their September 29 meeting at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Benavidez’s name was previously attached to a fight versus secondary WBA ‘Regular’ titleholder David Morrell before landing on Andrade (32-0, 19KOs), a 2008 U.S. Olympian and former two-division titlist who enters his second super middleweight fight.
Andrade has spent years calling for a showdown versus Alvarez, who was openly dismissive of the challenge. There was a point where the two held all of the middleweight titles and both fought exclusively on DAZN, though Alvarez did not proceed with a fight that would have crowned him as Mexico’s first undisputed champion.
Alvarez instead focused on super middleweight to achieve that status. He leveraged a situation where Benavidez was stripped of the WBC super middleweight title for a second time, this time when he missed weight ahead of an August 2020 knockout of Alexis Angulo.
A successful plea was made for Alvarez to face then-unbeaten WBA super middleweight titlist Callum Smith with the vacant belt also made available. Alvarez won their December 2020 fight via unanimous decision to leave as a two-belt titlist and later added the WBO and IBF titles to become undisputed champion by the end of 2021.
Alvarez’s stoppage win of then-unbeaten WBO titlist Billy Joe Saunders was proceeded by a post-fight press conference which Andrade crashed and adamantly called out the global star. The dialogue created memorable memes and GIFs but only further pushed Andrade out of the queue in the Canelo sweepstakes.
Andrade has since taken his career into his own hands. He went all of 2022 without a fight after he let his contract expire with Matchroom Boxing and also relinquished his WBO middleweight title.
The 35-year-old southpaw made his Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) and super middleweight debut in a ten-round win over Demond Nicholson on January 7 in Washington, D.C. Injuries kept him benched for much of the first half of the year before his team pursued a high-profile fight which he landed when presented with the opportunity to next face Benavidez.
Alvarez currently does not have a fight scheduled. The WBC acknowledged that he’s been on vacation and has not yet informed of his next planned move, though it only made sense for all involved parties to wait out the result of the November 25 fight.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox