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David Benavidez can upset Canelo Alvarez says Abel Sanchez

Image: David Benavidez can upset Canelo Alvarez says Abel Sanchez

By Sean Jones: Trainer Abel Sanchez says former WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez is the one fighter at 168 that has the talent to defeat Canelo Alvarez.

Sanchez knows how good Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) is because he had him in camp working as one of Gennadiy Golovkin’s sparring partners at Big Bear, California, many years ago, and he says he was the best they ever brought in there.

This was back when Benavidez was still a teenager and not nearly as good as he is today.

It’s too bad boxing fans won’t get a chance to test Sanchez’s theory about the 24-year-old Benavidez being the only guy at 168 that can beat Alvarez (54-1-2, 36 KOs).

The Mexican star has three fights ahead of him against his WBC mandatory vni Yildirim, WBO 168-lb champion Billy Joe Saunders and IBF champ Caleb Plant. If Alvarez wins those three fights, he’s likely to take take on Errol Spence Jr and Golovkin.

Canelo can’t afford to put off his trilogy fight with GGG much longer because it’s already obvious to the boxing worl that he’s ducking him due to the hard time he had in his two previous fights against the Kazakstan fighter.

For Benavidez to get a fight against Canelo, he might have to wait until 2023 or 2024 because he’s got a lot of different options.

Benavidez will give Canelo problems

“No, there’s only one guy at that weight that can get an upset against Canelo, and that’s a young man David Benavidez,” said Abel Sanchez when asked by Fighthub if Caleb Plant can get an upset against Canelo.

Image: David Benavidez can upset Canelo Alvarez says Abel Sanchez

“That’s the cream of the crop in that weight right there other than Canelo. So the only guy that I think can give Canelo fits is David Benavidez.

“Caleb Plant [against Canelo] would be a good fight and obviously better than the Callum Smith fight for me anyway. But David Benavidez is the one that is going to give Canelo a hard time if he fights him.

“One, he’s [Benavidez] a lot smarter fighter,” Sanchez said when asked why Benavidez will give Canelo a harder time than Caleb Plant. “Two, he’s a heck of a good counter puncher,’ said Sanchez in talking about Benavidez.

The last couple of fights that we’ve seen Benavidez in showed that he might be too big and too strong for the 5’8” Canelo. Benavidez looked powerful and highly skilled in destroying Roamer Alexis Angulo, Anthony Dirrell and J’Leon Love.

The improvement that Benavidez showed in those fights is off the charts. He looks like an entirely different figher than the one that methodically beat down Ronald Gavril for 12 rounds in their rematch in February 2018.

Gavril had given Benavidez a tough fight in losing a 12 round split decision in their previous contest in September 2017, but is was a different tory in their second fight. Benaviez looked 40% improved.

Sanchez is impressed with Benavidez

“I had him [Benavidez] in camp, moving with [Gennadiy] Golovkin at a very young age,” said Sanchez. “I won’t say how old, but he was very young, and it was probably the best sparring I ever had up there at Big Bear for Golovkin.

Image: David Benavidez can upset Canelo Alvarez says Abel Sanchez

“This young man [Benavidez] was still an amateur; he was three or four years from turning pro. I’ve seen him spar with guys at the Wild Card gym with [Lateef] Kayode.

“You know, seasoned guys, and it was easy for him. I’m not going to say he banged anybody, but he wasn’t getting outclassed. So if he was doing that back then, he’s a much better fighter today, and I think he gives anybody he fights fits because of his ability,” Sanchez said of Benavidez.

“Not only his defensive ability but also he’s able to switch gears so easily. He’ll lay on the ropes, mess around, and then all of a sudden he puts it into another great, and it’s a different fighter.

“I think those qualities are going to give Canelo a hard time. Someone that comes at Canelo consistently and is just there, there, and there isn’t going to be hard for Canelo,” Sanchez added.

Benavidez has been a threat to Canelo since he moved up to 168. The hardcore boxing fans know about Benavidez, and they’ve known from day one that he’d be very, very dangerous for Alarez.

In a sign of respect, Canelo has steered a wide swath around Benavidez, and chosen weaker opposition in Callum Smith and Rocky Fielding.

Canelo’s speed gives an advantage at 168

“The defensive fighters that Canelo had trouble with, one, were at a smaller weight, which was faster fighters,” Sanchez continued in talking about defensive fighters that have given Alvarez problems in the past.

Image: David Benavidez can upset Canelo Alvarez says Abel Sanchez

“Two, they were better fighters than Caleb Plant. So if he had issues, he had issues because he fought some very good fighters.

“Fighting at 168, Canelo is going to be the fast guy. Canelo is going to be the one that is coming up in weight and is not going to be drained.

“He’s going to have faster hands because he’s the smaller guy, but he’s the smaller guy moving up with all the attributes that he had at a lower weight: speed, power, great defense, great upper body movement. Caleb is going to have a hard time if he fights him. That’s a huge fight,” said Sanchez.

Against most of the top guys at 168, Canelo’s talent will give him an advantage, but there are a couple fhtat will likely beat him. Benavidez is one of them, and Plant is another and possibly Edgar Berlanga in a year or two.

Jermall Charlo will be moving up to 168 soon, and once he’s in the division, you’d have to favor him over Alvarez. Charlo needs to show some ambition and quit the 160-lb division, because there’s no one for him to fight in that weight lass any longer.

What we saw from Canelo in his win over Smith was basis stuff with him using head movement, and rolling with the punches. He’s been doing this stuff his entire career, but it didn’t work for him against Floyd Mayweather Jr, Gennadiy Golovkin, Erislandy Lara and Austin Trout.

Those fighters threw jabs at Canelo, and he ate a lot of them. Canelo was able to dodge a lot of the shots, but he was still getting tagged by those fighters often.

Benavidez’s ability to throw body shots will give him a huge advantage against Canelo because he won’t be missing like most of the Mexican’t opponents when they only throw headshots.

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Canelo can’t avoid body shots. When he GGG, Canelo would turn his back to him when he threw to his body. Canelo would then look at the referee for help so that he would give Golovkin warnings. It was pretty weak from Canelo.

When you think about the Mexican greats like Salvador Sanchez and Carlos Zarate, they would never do something like that and look for help from the referee.

Sanchez: Caleb Plant is an improvement over Callum Smith

“That’s a better fight [for Canelo than Smith],” Sanchez continued. “Caleb Plant is a much better fighter technically than Callum Smith is, and he’s had the kind of fights that prepares him for a fight against a Canelo.

Image: David Benavidez can upset Canelo Alvarez says Abel Sanchez

“Callum Smith hasn’t [had the kind of fights that would have prepared him for Alvarez]. Callum Smith is from Europe; he’s a European fighter.

“He really hasn’t fought anybody over here that you could say is on the level of a Caleb Plant or the guys that Caleb Plant has beaten.

“So that would have been a better fight [for Canelo compared to his mismatch against a totally over-matched Callum Smith], but for whatever reason, it wasn’t finalized,” said Sanchez about the Canelo vs. Plant fight not having been made.

Pretty much any fighter in the top five would be an improvement over Callum Smith, as he looked terrible in his fight with Canelo. I mean, Smith (27-1, 19 KOs) was horrible before that in his previous fight against John Ryder in November 2019, so it wasn’t a shock that he was poor against Canelo.

But it was surprising to the casual boxing fans, who were high on Smith because of him winning the World Boxing Super Series tournament against a handful of less than talented fighters.

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Plant will give Canelo a lot of problems because he’s got the boxing skills, size, power and the speed to push the Mexican star.

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