David Benavidez already has his plan-B backup opponent in place if he can’t get the title shot against four-belt 168-lb champion Canelo Alvarez in early 2024, saying he’ll target WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champ David Morrell Jr.
The fight against Morrell (9-0, 8 KOs), which is the one that the boxing public had been asking for, will give Benavidez a chance to become a three-time 168-lb champion and put him in a better position to negotiate a mega-clash with Canelo.
Some boxing fans believe Benavidez is just plain scared of losing to the younger, more technically gifted David Morrell Jr. Hence, they chose the easy mark, the 35-year-old Demetrius Andrade, to fight next on November 25, not wanting to take chances of losing to the Cuban.
If Benavidez beats the undefeated Morrell, his popularity will go through the roof, putting more pressure on the Mexican superstar Canelo (60-2-2, 39 KOs) to face him in the first quarter of 2024.
Of course, if Benavidez loses to Morrell, the dream fight with Canelo will be finished once and for all. Benavidez & his dad, Jose Sr, would have to give up on campaigning for the fight with Canelo.
It would be forlorn and come across as desperate begging if Benavidez continues to discuss wanting a fight with Canelo in the aftermath of a loss to Morrell.
Losing to Morrell ends any discussion for a fight with Canelo for Benavidez, and he would be forced to move up to 175 because there would no longer be the impossibility of a massive payday fight he’s been chasing in the last five years.
First things first, Benavidez (27-0, 23 KOs) needs to take care of the clever former two-division world champion Andrade (32-0, 19 KOs) on November 25th in their main event clash on Showtime PPV at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.
Benavidez vows to break Andrade
“These are the types of fights that interest me. Demetrius Andrade is a great fighter; there’s no doubt about that. He has a lot of experience, but I get to test myself, test my spirit, and test my heart against everybody,” said David Benavidez to Brian Campbell’s YouTube channel about the title defense of his WBC interim super middleweight belt on November 25th.
“If he’s going to give me a war, then I’m looking forward to it. I’m a warrior, and I can’t wait to go in there,” ‘The Mexican Monster’ Benavidez continued.
As long as Benavidez doesn’t perform like he did early on against Caleb Plant, he’s got a good chance to get through the Andrade fight with his unbeaten record intact and his WBC interim belt still in his possession.
Still, Benavidez looked something awful in the first six rounds against Plant, and the deathly pallor that he had during the weigh-in was troubling, suggesting that he’s pushing himself to his physical limits, making weight for the 168-lb division.
Moving up to 175 or 200 would be the wiser choice for Benavidez if he struggles or loses to Andrade.
“The way I go into every fight is that my opponent is going to be the best that he’s going to be. I got to be ready for everything Demetrius does. He’s a slick boxer, so I’m expecting him to be at his best. I’ve hurt everybody I’ve been in the ring with. We’re definitely going to break him down. There’s no question about that,” said Benavidez about Andrade.
“I am the stronger fighter, the faster fighter, and the hungrier fighter. This is another crossroads fight for both of us. May the best man win, and may the best man go for all the belts after,” said Benavidez.
It’s going to be difficult for Benavidez to “break” Andrade down if he doesn’t stand perfectly still as most of his opponents have done during his ten-year professional career.
What ‘Sweethands’ Plant showed last March is that the slow-footed Benavidez can’t handle movement, and he’s slug-like, inching along, helpless to cut off the ring. Andrade is more athletic, powerful, and a better mover than Plant.
There was a Frankenstein quality about Benavidez’s movement against Plant that indicates that he will have major problems against Demetrius.
If Andrade doesn’t gas out, Benavidez will be in for a world of hurt on November 25th, and he’ll be exposed. Ultimately, Benavidez may wish afterward that he’d taken the fight with Morrell instead of hand-picking Andrade, believing he was the easier option.
“If he wants to give me a fight, I enjoy that. I enjoy good fights. When someone puts me to a test, the best me comes out,” said Andrade. “You guys saw that with Caleb Plant. So, I don’t know what he’s going to do, but I do know what I’m going to do. I’m ready for the best Demetrius Andrade out there. Let’s get it going.”
Morrell next if no Canelo fight
“What I’m doing now is I want to get the people out of there that have been there for a while. David Morrell is a great fighter, but he’s only had ten fights,” said Benavidez.
“I definitely do what to fight him. That’s a guy that I have my sights on,” said Benavidez when asked if he wants to fight David Morrell Jr., the WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion. “David Morrell is a great fighter, but he’s only had ten fights.”
The excuse that Benavidez makes for why he chose not fight Morrell, saying he “only had ten fights,” is a weak one because he’s been facing obscure opposition for years.
The boxing public would find Benavidez’s excuse for ducking Morrell more believable if he hadn’t been recently fighting the likes of Ronald Ellis, David Lemieux, Kyrone Davis, and Roamer Alexis Angulo. Those are not household names in the U.S.
“I was going after Caleb Plant. I got him,” said Benavidez. “Demetrius Andrade, I’ve had my eye on him for a while, and I got him. After I get him, if I don’t get the Canelo fight, then we’re going after David Morrell.
“I’ve been preparing for this since I was 23 years old. I’ve been a professional for ten years. I’m more than ready. I’m not just preparing for Canelo. I want to be the most dominant fighter in my generation.
“I’m training to be the best, and that’s exactly what’s going to happen. I’m going to manifest my dream, and I’m going to be my best. It doesn’t matter who is going to be in front of me. I’m always going to be victorious.
“I don’t know what they think because I’m always on the side of attack. I’m the one dishing the punishment out. It’s always been like that. Even my sparring is like this. I do the same thing to everybody,” said Benavidez.
Benavidez not giving up on pursuit of Alvarez
“If he wants to give me a good fight, I enjoy that because when somebody puts me to the best, the best me comes out. You guys seen that with Caleb Plant,” said Benavidez.
It might not be a good thing for Benavidez if Andrade chooses to brawl with him because he packs a punch and places his shots well.
Benavidez has already been on the canvas in the past against Ronald Gavril and looked like he was having problems early from the hard punches that Anthony Dirrell was nailing him with.
“I don’t know what that man is doing. Every time I say something, people say that I’m looking for a ‘payday,’ but I’ve been the [WBC] mandatory for the past two years,” said Benavidez when asked if undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez is waiting him out.
“I won the WBC title eliminator first, and then I won the WBC interim. That guarantees you a spot. The fact that this fight hasn’t happened is really crazy to me. Like I said. This man [Canelo] is just making it worse for himself because I’m gaining so much more experience,” said Andrade.
It doesn’t make a difference if Benavidez is the WBC mandatory for Canelo because he will not be forced into any fights by one of the sanctioning bodies.
Instead of Benavidez pinning his hopes on a fight with Canelo falling from the sky into his lap, he should be focusing on more realistic targets, like Dmitry Biviol and Artur Beterbiev. In other words, fighters his own size.
“This is my second pay-per-view fight. The crowds are really big for this fight, so I’m getting really comfortable. Like I said, I’m not going nowhere. I’m the best in this division. I’m definitely going to show the world why, especially when I get in the ring with Canelo. All those belts are going home with me,” said Benavidez.