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David Benavidez vs. J’Leon Love on March 16 on Spence vs. Garcia card

Image: David Benavidez vs. J'Leon Love on March 16 on Spence vs. Garcia card

By Dan Ambrose: It’s official that former WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs) will be facing the always tough #15 IBF J’Leon (24-2-1, 13 KOs) in a 10 round fight as part of the 4-fight FOX Sports pay-per-view undercard on the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia card at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. This is a Premier Boxing Champions [PBC] card.

This is a good opportunity for Benavidez to showcase his talent against Love. There will be a lot of boxing fans tuning in to watch the card due to IBF 147 lb champion Spence and Mikey battling it out. If Benavidez can put in a good performance, he would steal the spotlight from those two.

Benavidez needs a victory over Love, 29, in order to face the winner of the February 23 fight between Anthony Dirrell and Avni Yildirim, who will be fighting for the vacant World Boxing Council super middleweight title. That’s Benavidez’s old title, and he wants to win that belt back if possible. Benavidez will have an excellent chance of defeting the Dirrell vs. Yildirim winner. Dirrell, 34, was an excellent fighter in his prime, but he’s gotten older and he’s not likely going to be able to deal with the youth, power, size and pressure of Benavidez if those two meet up.

Benavidez, 22, is coming off of a 4-month suspension from having tested positive on September 18 for cocaine. The positive test was discovered by the Voluntary Anti-Doping Agency (VADA) from a sample that they collected from Benavidez a month earlier on August 27. Benavidez was subsequently stripped of his WBC 168 lb title by the sanctioning body.

Also on the card is former WBC bantamweight champion Luis Nery (28-0, 22 KOs) facing McJoe Arroyo (18-2, 8 KOs) in a 10 round fight. The talented 24-year-old Nery was stripped of his WBC 118 lb title last March after coming in three pounds over the limit for his rematch against former longtime WBC bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka. Nery easily stopped the 36-year-old Yamanaka in the second round. However, because Nery came in over the limit, he wasn’t able to retain his WBC belt. This was the second time Nery had stopped Yamanaka. In their first fight in August 2017, Nery dispatched Yamanaka in the 4th round to end his six-year reign as the WBC 118 lb champion. Yamanaka retired after losing to Nery for the second time last March. 2008 Olympian Arroyo, 33, is out his class in facing Nery at this point in his career. Arroyo comes into the fight having lost two out of his last three fights in the last three years since 2016. Arroyo has lost to Jerwin Ancajas and Rau’shee Warren.

Former two-time heavyweight world title challenger Chris Arreola (37-5-1, 32 KOs) will be facing 31-year-old southpaw Jean Pierre Augustin (17-0-1, 12 KOs) in a 10 round fight. Arreola, 37, is trying to turn his career around following his 8th round stoppage loss to WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder in July 2016. Arreola recently returned to the ring last December and stopped journeyman Maurenzo Smith in the sixth round. Before that fight, Arreola had been out of the ring for 2 1/2 years. Arreola should win this fight, but you ever know at his age. He’s still easy to hit, but he can punch. Augustin clearly isn’t in the same league as Arreola.

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