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David Benavidez: I’m going to knockout Gavril

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By Jim Dower: David Benavidez (18-0, 17 KOs) plans on knocking out his opponent Ronald Gavril (18-1, 14 KOs) tonight in their fight for the vacant WBC super middleweight title at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. Showtime Boxing will be televising the Benavidez-Gavril fight tonight starting at 10pm ET/PT. If Benavidez wins, he’ll become the youngest ever 168 lb. champion at 20-years-old.

Benavidez is kind of surprised that he’s getting a world title shot this early in his career, as he had expected that it would take him a little while longer. Benavidez has only been a pro for 4 years, and that’s early for a fighter to be getting a crack at a world title. Benavidez’s opportunity opened up after #1 WBC Callum Smith and #3 WBC Avni Yildirim both opted to compete in the World Boxing Super Series. #2 WBC Anthony Dirrell was injured while training, so he was taken out of the equation. #5 WBC Chris Eubank Jr. also decided to compete in the World Boxing Super Series tournament.

The 6’1” Benavidez weighed in at 167 ½ lbs. during Thursday’s weigh-in. Benavidez looked thin and drawn from having to get down to the 168 lb. limit for the fight. As thin as Benavidez looked, he’s probably going to need to move up to the 175 lb. division before long. I can’t see him making weight for super middleweight too much longer. Benavidez believes he can continue to make weight for the 168 lb. division for another 3-4 years. I doubt it. Gavril weighed in at 166 ¾ Pounds. He looked better than Benavidez. This is definitely a weight class that Gavril is well suited for.

“I see that he’s a pressure fighter and has good body work,” said Benavidez in discussing his fight against the 31-year-old Gavril. ”He only has one speed and doesn’t have any other gears. I’ve watched a lot of film on him and feel like he has some weaknesses that I can expose. I’m going to end this in a knockout! I’m ready to go 12 rounds, but I’m going to knock him out,” said Benavidez in predicting a knockout.

Gavril obviously has weaknesses. He was beaten by 37-year-old journeyman Elvin Ayala 2 years ago in 2015. That’s a pretty good hint that Gavril has weaknesses. When you’re getting beaten by journeyman like Ayala, I’d say that’s a big sign that you’ve got major flaws in your game.

Gavril should feel fortunate that he’s still rated highly by the World Boxing Council after that defeat because he’s never beaten anyone good for him to be ranked at No.6 by the WBC. There are some fighters that are ranked below Gavril that would likely beat him such as Jurgen Braehmer. He should definitely be rated above Gavril in my opinion.

“He’s never faced someone like me. I’ll let him think what he wants to think. I know what I can do. This is the biggest fight of my life and I have to take advantage,” said Benavidez.

Gavril is going to need to have a good chin for him to stand up to the heavy shots from Benavidez, as he has a way of wearing down his opponents with his hard punches. Benavidez is kind of like a larger version of Gennady Golovkin with the way he wears you down with sledgehammer blows.

Benavidez’s opponents can take his punches for a while, but the combination of pressure and power causes his opponents to fall apart in the later rounds. Gavril is 11 years older than the 20-year-old Benavidez. 31 isn’t old for a fighter, but you can’t expect a fighter that age to be as energetic as a 20-year-old Benavidez.

Gavril’s best wins thus far have come against these fighters:

• Jessie Nicklow

• Christopher Brooker

• Decario Perez

• Juan Miguel Rodriguez Berrio

• Oscar Riojas

• Juan Camilio Nova

There’s an absence of talent in the resume for Gavril in his 6-year pro career. That much is obvious when glancing at the lack of big names on the resume. It’s devoid of talent. The only slightly good fighter that Gavril has fought is journeyman Elvin Ayala, and he beat him by an 8 round unanimous decision on March 28, 2015.

Benavidez recently beat Rogelio “Porky” Medina by an 8th round knockout last May. Benavidez showed that he can beat a big puncher in that fight. He took some big punches from Medina, but he kept nailing him with every hard shots that he eventually folded in round 8 after hitting the deck on 3 separate occasions.

In the past, Benavidez has sparred a lot with middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin at Big Bear, California. That’s where Benavidez trains with his father/trainer Jose Benavidez. The sparring with Golovkin has likely really helped Benavidez’s game. You don’t see too many contenders getting a chance to spar with a talent like Golovkin.

“I know if I win I’m going to be the youngest super middleweight world champion ever. That’s just frosting on the cake,” said Benavidez.

Beating Gavril will be nice for Benavidez, but it’s just the beginning for him. For Benavidez to retain the WBC 168 lb. title, he’ll need to fend off the likes of Chris Eubank Jr., Callum Smith, Anthony Dirrell, Patrick Nielsen, Rocky Fielding, J’Leon Love, Erik Skoglund, Dmitry Chudinov and Rocky Fielding. Benavidez is going to have some real wars in facing guys like that. Eubank Jr. might be the best of the bunch due to his speed and high volume punching.

Gavril has respectable power, but not the kind of punching power that Benavidez possesses. For Gavril to have a chance of knocking out Benavidez, he’ll need to stand in front of him and take huge shots round after round to try and get him out of there. Benavidez is obviously human and can be knocked out, but the guy that does it will need to be able to take his withering shots for a long time for him to score a knockout. I don’t see Gavril being the guy to knockout Benavidez.

If Benavidez loses tonight to Gavril, it would be a huge upset. Benavidez would have to reassess his career options and figure out some other direction to go in.

Tonight’s undercard has some good fights. These are the fights that will be taking place tonight:

J’Leon Love vs. Abraham Han – super middleweight

Caleb Plant vs. Andrew Hernandez – super middleweight


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