By Craig Daly: Eddie Hearn says David Benavidez’s destruction of former IBF middleweight champion David Lemieux last Saturday night told him nothing because the Canadian fighter hasn’t been impressive lately.
Hearn says he expected that the former two-time WBC super-middleweight champion Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) would destroy the 33-year-old Lemieux (43-5, 36 KOs) in their headliner on Showtime at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Unfortunately, #1 WBC Benavidez has little choice because Lemieux was ranked #2 in the rankings at 168 for the World Boxing Council.
The sanctioning body had Benavidez & Lemieux battle for their interim WBC 168-lb title. However, the interim title doesn’t guarantee Benavidez a title shot against champion Canelo Alvarez because the Mexican star holds the Franchise tag from when he was fighting at 160.
But, assuming Canelo wins his next two to three fights against Gennadiy Golovkin, Dmitry Bivol & possibly John Ryder, he could face Benavidez in May 2023.
Lemieux shot to pieces
“David Benavidez is a very good fighter. Number two, David Lemieux is completely shot to pieces,” Hearn told the DAZN Boxing Show.
“We’ve seen that in his last couple of fights. He’s been on the floor against journeymen, so the fight told me nothing at all because I know how good David Benavidez is,” Hearn continued about Lemieux having looked dreadfully poor in recent fights.
“That was always going to happen against Lemieux, but Benavidez is a very good fighter,” said Hearn.
The performance showed how overpowering Benavidez could be when he opens up with his sustained flurries because he was brutal when he unleashed his shots.
For the fans that were impressed with the sustained combinations that Bivol threw in his fight with Canelo earlier this month, Benavidez took it to another level with his flurries.
There was a sequence in the first round in which Benavidez threw 15 consecutive shots that had Lemieux in serious trouble.
Bivol didn’t come close to throwing that many shots during the fifth-round flurry that he unloaded on Canelo on May 7th.
Canelo-Benavidez needs to be built
“That would be a really big fight. Let’s make it bigger,” Hearn said of a Canelo vs. Benavidez clash.
“[Benavidez] is dying for a real fight. He wants one. So give it to him. He’s a star. He’s a big name.”
“When you’re fighting someone like Canelo, you’ve got to fight someone and put a performance in for people to give Canelo no choice but to fight you. He [Benavidez] will do that.
“He’ll [Benavidez] sign a contract to fight those guys [Caleb Plant & Jermall Charlo] like that.
“Force the issue by having a real fight. I know Benavidez wants a real fight because I’ve spoken to him and Jose Benavidez. He’s a great fighter,” said Hearn.