By Kenneth Friedman: David Benavidez hasn’t given up hope for a fight against Canelo Alvarez despite losing his WBC super-middleweight belt on the scales last month for his battle on August 15th. Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) is staying at 168, and his focus is on regaining his lost WBC strap, possibly against #1 contender Avi Yildirim.
There are doubts about whether Canelo (53-1-2, 36 KOs) will choose to fight Yildirim for the vacant WBC 168-pound after the World Boxing Council voted to have the Mexican star fight Avni for the title.
If Canelo decides he doesn’t want to take that fight, then it could be Benavidez moving into the position to face Yildirim (28-2, 12 KOs) for the belt.
The WBC will need to vote on letting Benavidez, Callum Smith, David Lemieux, or Azizbek Abdugofurov face Yildirim. Those fighters are all in the running to battle for the belt.
Does Canelo hit too hard for Benavidez?
The way that Canelo knocked out former WBO light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev last November indicates that he’s got the power to KO anyone at 175.
Most boxing fans would agree that Benavidez is a melted down 175-pounder who chooses to campaign at 168 to gain an edge over the smaller fighter than him in that weight class.
If Canelo can knockout light heavyweights, then that gives an excellent chance of stopping Benavidez.
Assuming Benavidez loses power and stamina from draining down from light heavyweight to fight Canelo at 168, he’ll have even less of a probability of beating him.
In Benavidez’s fight on August 15th last month, he scored a 10th round stoppage victory over Roamer Alexis Angulo in what was supposed to be a title defense of his WBC 168lb belt.
It was meant to be a showcase fight for Benavidez against the #15 WBC ranked Angulo on Showtime.
Canelo is an excellent counter puncher, and he would be able to capitalize on Benavidez’s slower shots if he tried to live with him in close.
The speed would be on Canelo’s side, and he has better one-punch power. If Benavidez could hit like Artur Beterbiev, he would have a better chance of staying on the inside and wearing Canelo down.
Benavidez doesn’t pack a punch like him. He does have power, but he wins with his high volume punching, which he’s been able to get away with due to his opposition not having enough pop in their shots to hurt him.
Benavidez ready to fight Canelo
“Me being the competitor that I am, I feel like I definitely have a chance against Canelo,” said Benavidez to Fightfub. “I’m always going to say that, and I think I can beat Canelo, especially if I feel like I have a chance against Canelo.
“I’m always going to say that, and I feel l can beat Canelo. If I get the fight, the training camp there’s going to be so much motivation going on there, it’s probably going to be the best version of myself that I’m ever going to be just because what’s on the line and what’s at stake.
“I feel very excited that I am potentially going to get that fight because a lot of people ask for that fight and want to see that fight,” Benavidez continued about Canelo. “So one day it’s going to happen, and when it does happen, I’m going to be extremely ready, and I will win.
“If I get the opportunity to fight him, that’s what I’m going to be trying to do. With those guys, it’s going to be difficult to get those fights because they’re with a different promotional company.
“But if it makes sense for the fan and they want to see it, then that’s what I’m going to push for, and I’ll definitely be trying to get the knockout,” Benavidez said.
What would make it difficult for Benavidez, 6’2″, to defeat Canelo is the tendency he has to give up his height and reach by fighting in close. The 23-year-old Benavidez would be opening himself up to a lot of punishing head and body shots from Canelo if he chooses to stay on the inside against him.
Avni Yildirim a future possibilty
“He’s a good fighter, but I don’t think he’s a better fighter than Anthony Dirrell, and you saw what I did to Anthony Dirrell,” said Benavidez about Avni Yildirim. “I feel like Yildirim is going to get his chance, but I’m going to be ready for him.
“I’m definitely going to be going for the KO in that fight just as I do in all of my fights. I feel like the fans love me because I give them those action-packed fights.
“And I have a high KO ration. I love to hurt fighters. That’s what I love to do. I love to feel that they’re hurt in a fight. I love to hurt them and break them down. That’s what I’m going to be doing to everybody,” Benavidez continued.
Benavidez might have too much dog in him for a fighter like Yildirim to compete for any length of time. In Yildirim’s most challenging fights of his career against Chris Eubank Jr and Anthony Dirrell, he had problems with their power.
Eubank Jr stopped Yildirim in round three in October 2017 in the World Boxing Super Series [WBSS] 168-pound tournament. Last year in February, Dirrell, 34, beat Yildirim by a 10th round technical decision.
Yildirim’s management petitioned to the World Boxing Council to let him keep his high ranking due to the fight being stopped on a cut that Dirrell had sustained.
Yildirim was rallying at the time the fight was halted, but Dirrell was also dealing with a terrible cut over his right eye. Before Dirrell sustained the cut in the seventh, he was dominating Yildirim.
Benavidez motivated by his fans
“My fans are my everything, and I feel that the reason why they like me so much is that in reality, I’m one of them,” Benavidez said. “A lot of the fans follow me, and I come from the same environment.
Everything that we do is the same. The only different thing is I’m a professional boxer. It’s all family, all the people that hang around me, not just Mexican. Cuban, Ecuadorian, and Puerto Rican, we’re all family as one. All the other, the blacks, whites and Asians, all the other fans that I have.
“I feel so grateful to have fans that follow me and enjoy the fights that I give me the energy. If it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be here. I feel like everybody that watches me and likes me; they’re part of my family. I do care and enjoy having them on my side,” said Benavidez.
The odds would be in Benavidez’s favor for him to beat Yildirim by knockout if given a chance. However, the WBC isn’t likely to vote in Benavidez’s blessing to let him fight Yildirim for the vacant WBC title because he was stripped of the belt for coming in two pounds overweight at 170 on August 14th for his fight against Roamer Angulo.
The fans are what Benavidez has in his favor to try and get a fight against Canelo. If they can push hard on social media and apply pressure to DAZN, they might be able to get Canelo to agree to face Benavidez. Without the fan pressure, Canelo will continue to ignore Benavidez and move in a different direction.
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