David Benavidez says Chavez Jr. not “worthy of title shot”
By Dan Ambrose: WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez (19-0, 17 KOs) says former WBC middleweight champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. (50-3-1, 32 KOs) isn’t worthy of a title shot right now. The 20-year-old Benavidez says he would consider giving Chavez Jr. a crack at his title if he were to beat someone good, but right how he’s more interested in facing the top contenders in the 168-lb. division.
Chavez Jr. hasn’t won a fight since his 10 round unanimous decision win over Dominik British last year in December. Chavez Jr. was beaten in his last contest in getting trounced by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez by a lopsided 12 round unanimous decision on May in Las Vegas, Nevada. Chavez Jr. lost by the scores 120-108, 120-108 and 120-108. The sad part about the Canelo-Chavez Jr. fight was it was televised on HBO pay-per-view, and at 1 million boxing fans purchased the card thinking it would be a competitive fight. It wasn’t.
It was a mismatch between fighter in his prime in 27-year-old Canelo a seemingly over-the-hill 31-year-old Chavez Jr., whose career has been sagging for the last 5 years. It was little more than a money grab to pick a name from the past like Chavez Jr. as an opponent for Canelo to fight instead of a relevant fighter like Jermall Charlo, Danny Jacobs or Golovkin. It’s good that Canelo finally did face Golovkin in his last fight on September 16, but it wasn’t good that the boxing fans had to pay to see a terrible mismatch between Canelo and a completely shot Chavez Jr. earlier this year on May 6.
“I don’t think he’s worthy of a title shot right now,” said Benavidez to Fighthype about Chavez Jr. “Maybe if he fights somebody good, then we’ll see what happens. But right now, I’m fighting the contenders that deserve title shots. Maybe Caleb Plant, Ronald Gavril. I’m waiting for the Super 6 tournament [World Boxing Super Series] to end. I’m going to be more motivated than ever to fight the best, those great fighters,” said Benavidez.
Chavez Jr. isn’t ranked in the top 15 by any of the sanctioning bodies at 168. His loss to Canelo knocked him out of the top rankings at super middleweight. Chavez Jr. is going to need to get back into the ring and resume his boxing career, since he’s not going to have one of the champions at 168 give him an undeserved title shot. Something like that might have been possible before Chavez Jr’s loss to Canelo, but it’s not about to happen now.
Chavez Jr. looked so bad in that fight that there’s no way that any of the champions at 168 could get away with picking him as an opponent. They would be inviting a firestorm of criticism by giving Chavez Jr. a title shot at this point. Chavez Jr. should get in shape and take on either some good journeyman or fringe contenders in the super middleweight division so that he could get his skills back, and show the sanctioning bodies that he’s serious about wanting to get his career back on track.
Chavez Jr. might need to consider moving up to 175 right now, because he’s had so many problems making the 168-lb. weight limit in the last 4 years of his career. Chavez Jr. has missed making weight 3 times in his last 6 fights at super middleweight. That’s a sign of someone that needs to move up to light heavyweight pronto.
Chavez Jr. likely doesn’t want any part of the 175-lb. division after his bad experience fighting Andrzej Fonfara in 2015. Chavez Jr. came into the fight out of shape and wound up getting stopped in the 9th round. However, things aren’t any better for Chavez Jr. at super middleweight. If Chavez Jr. takes on any of the champions at 168, he’s going to be just as badly over-matched as he was against Canelo and Fonfara. Chavez Jr. needs to fight in a weight class in which he can make weight without drained and weak like we saw in his fight with Canelo.
In one or two more defeated, it might be time for Chavez Jr. to consider hanging up his gloves and retiring from boxing. He had a good run when he was fighting at middleweight during his best years of his career, but he’s now a shell of his former self at this point in his career.
Benavidez defeated Ronald Gavril (18-2, 14 KOs) by a 12 round split decision to claim the vacant WBC World super middleweight title in his last fight on September 8 at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. The judges scored that fight 116-111, 117-111 for Benavidez and 116-111 for Gavril. Boxing News 24 scored the fight in favor of Benavidez by a 116-111 score. It wasn’t an impressive performance by Benavidez. He looked tired much of the time, and lacking the energy needed to attack Gavril in a sustained manner that he needed to for him to get him out of there.
Compared to Benavidez’s past performances, he was nowhere near as good. It wasn’t because of anything Gavril was doing inside the ring. Benavidez looked weak from the start of the fight and not capable of going after Gavril with his high volume attacking style that we’d seen from him in his past fights. It’s possible that Benavidez was weight drained for the fight, as he looked terribly thin and drained at the weigh-in the day before the fight. Benavidez will need to make the move up to 175 very soon. If he keeps fighting like he did against Gavril, he’s not going to be a champion for very long at 168.