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David Benavidez vs. Ronald Gavril 2 on Feb.17

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By Tim Royner: WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez (19-0, 17 KOs) will be defending his title against #5 WBC Ronald Gavril (18-2, 14 KOs) in a rematch on February 17 on the undercard of the Danny Garcia vs. Brandon Rios card on Showtime Boxing in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Benavidez, 21, beat Gavril by a very close 12 round split decision to claim the vacant World Boxing Council 168 lb. title 3 months ago on September 8. Benavidez barely won the fight. He struggled all night with the pressure the 31-year-old Gavril was putting on him in the fight.

Gavril didn’t look all that impressive. His success was a product of how badly Benavidez fought in that fight. Benavidez looked sluggish, slow and tired throughout the contest, especially in the second half of the fight. From the very start of the contest, Benavidez appeared to be weight drained from having had to struggle to make the 168-lb. limit in the boxing gym.

At the weigh-in, Benavidez looked horrible, as if he had gone through an incredible ordeal to get down to the 168-lb. limit. He’d never looked this bad in his fights. Indeed. In Benavidez’s previous 3 fights against Rogelio Medina, Sherali Mamajonov and Denis Douglin, he was strong throughout those fights and dangerous due to his power. Benavidez wasn’t the same guy against Gavril. He was listless, and throwing big shots only in brief bursts, but never in the same way in his previous fights.

Benavidez had hopes of moving on after his fight against Gavril last September, but now he’s stuck fighting a rematch. Benavidez will need to fight a lot better if he wants to be able to take on the winner of the World Boxing Super Series tournament. Even if Benavidez does get past Gavril in the rematch, he’s not going to beat the winner of the WBSS tournament fighting the way he is now. He’s got to improve his game.

It might be time for Benavidez to move up to 175. He’s looking like a fighter that is having a tough time making the 168-lb. division. Benavidez has been fighting at super middleweight his entire 4-year pro career. But a 21, it might be time for Benavidez to move up to light heavyweight if he can’t make the weight without looking weigh drained. The Benavidez that beat Douglin last year would have made easy work of Gavril. That’s a fact. But now the drained Benavidez we saw last September. He’s got to be able to fight better than that if he wants to win the rematch. Unless Benavidez drops some weight before he heads to training camp, I expect him to look just as bad in the rematch.


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