Former HBO commentator Jim Lampley says David Benavidez must hurt Demetrius Andrade for him to win this Saturday night, or else he could wind up getting outboxed by the slick, counter-punching southpaw.
The boxing public is overwhelmingly rooting for the 26-year-old Benavidez to win, as he’s got the youth, exciting style, and popularity to become a star in the sport. Moreover, a victory for Benavidez would potentially set up a huge PPV bout between him and undisputed 168-lb champion Canelo Alvarez for 2024 in May or September.
What Lampley didn’t touch on was the subject of David Benavidez being the creme de la creme of weight bullies and one of the most glaring examples in recent times of a monstrously colossal fighter getting over by boiling down to compete in a weight class roughly two divisions below his rehydrated frame size.
Andrade (32-0, 19 KOs) is the more skilled fighter, and he’s got the mobility to give Benavidez fits. Like many fans, Lampley isn’t sure how hard of a puncher Benavidez is because most of his knockouts have come from his volume punching.
As we’ve seen in Benavidez’s past fights, he requires that his opponents stand immobile in front of him for him to land because he cannot move.
Andrade’s normally excellent movement wasn’t there in his first fight at 168 against Demond Nicholson last January, so it’s possible that the weight that he’s put on will slow him down enough for him to be a stationary target for Benavidez.
‘The Mexican Monster’ Benavidez needs Andrade to be stationary for him to win this fight, becaue if he’s mobile like he’d been his entire career, we could see him suffer his first loss.
Lampley notes that historically slick southpaw fighters have won fights like this, which is why it’s essential that WBC interim super middleweight champion Benavidez (27-0, 23 KO) hurt him, or else he could get outboxed and lose a decision.
Andrade’s counter-punching = massive problems for Benavidez
“It could be that Benavidez’s pressure is going to beat down the opponent and put Andrade in a position that he’s not previously found himself,” said Jim Lampley to Fight Hub TV, talking about Saturday’s showdown between the oddsmaker’s favorite David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade.
If Benavidez needs to land volume to try and hurt Andrade, he could up empty because the former two-division world champion isn’t going to stand in front of him to allow him to overwhelm him with shots the way he’s done against the vast majority of his opponents during his ten-year professional career.
“The other possibility is a comfortable cruise for the counter-punching southpaw [Demetrius], who is able to stay out of danger range and land when he wants to and inch his way to a decision that the public won’t necessarily love but might have to concede as the logical decision,” Lampley said about Andrade,” said Lampley.
For Benavidez to win on Saturday, he’s got to use his cruiserweight-sized frame to bully the smaller Andrade and overwhelm him with volume. Since Benavidez isn’t a big puncher, he needs to force Andrade to stand perfectly still in front of him for long durations so he can overwhelm him with volume.
How big of a puncher is Benavidez?
“I think the majority of the audience is going to be rooting for Benavidez. The majority of times I’ve seen these match-ups in the past, the counter-punching southpaw has won,” said Lampley.
If Benavidez had one-punch power, he’d have a better chance of defeating Andrade because he wouldn’t have to depend on him standing immobile in front of him to land a big KO shot.
Unfortunately, Benavidez’s power is average, and he’s a guy who gets over by throwing a lot of punches and using his massive cruiserweight frame to bump his opponents into position to land.
Many fans want Benavidez to win because he’s fun to watch, has support, and is seen as the only guy outside of David Morrell having a shot at beating Canelo Alvarez.
However, Benavidez’s lack of mobility and his volume-punching style will put him at risk against the 2008 Olympian Andrade, who knows how to neutralize fighters who throw a lot of shots.
“The asterisk is how big is Benavidez’s punch really? You’re always testing against a new constituency when you go in as the puncher, hunting the other guy’s chin, looking to do damage if the other guy [Andrade] has never really been hurt in a fight,” said Lampley.
Given the limited opposition that Benavidez has faced during his career, we don’t know if he’s another hype job. When you look at Benavidez’s thin resume, it’s pretty clear that he’s faced marginal opposition during the last ten years, and he’s never taken any real chances.
When Benavidez had the opportunity to break the mold to face David Morrell, he balked and went in the direction of the 35-year-old Andrade, reinforcing the belief that he’s a manufactured fighter, no different from other hype jobs.
Andrade can win if he’s not hurt
“I think that describes Demetrius Andrade, so it remains an open question,” said Lampley. “If Andrade walks out of the ring and hasn’t been hurt by Benavidez, how many of us think Benavidez can win a decision against a boxer that skilled under those circumstances?
“Most likely, Benavidez has to hurt him. Andrade hasn’t been hurt before. What happens?” said Lampley. “Andrade has been avoided by a lot of potential opponents by the more celebrated names in the sport because of his style.”
Again, the only way Andrade is hurt in this fight by the volume-punching Benavidez is if he stops moving and stands in one place for a long duration, as we saw with cardio-challenged Caleb Plant, when he got tired of boxing & moving last March against David.
If Andrade is able to stay on the move and not stand in front of Benavidez, he wins going away. Of course, you can’t rule out a controversial decision going Benavidez’s way.
Indeed, Dan Ambrose wouldn’t be surprised in the least if the judges give the A-side fighter Benavidez a dubious decision win, which will keep him in line for a fight with Canelo next May.
If that happens, it would be up to Canelo to insist that Benavidez run it back with Andrade or, better yet, earn a fight against him by fighting David Morrell, Dmitry Bivol, and Artur Beterbiev.
It doesn’t help Canelo if Benavidez goes into their fight under a black cloud of controversy behind a gift decision over Andrade. Why would Canelo want to do Benavidez any favors if he back into the fight like that? It’s based enough that he dodged Morrell in favor of Andrade, which tells you that he wanted to take any chances.
“Tricky southpaws don’t get invited to the party with enormous enthusiasm,” said Lampley about Andrade. “Usually, tricky southpaws get invited to the party when someone says, ‘You know what? We can’t avoid it any longer.’ That’s certainly the case of the position that Andrade thinks he’s in with his career.
“Benavidez is the opposite. He’s the kind of guy that everybody wants to come to the party. He’s attractive physically, very engaging personality, fights in a style that people most want to see. A go-forward aggressor. There’s a lot to like and root for with Benavidez, and that helps set up an interesting confrontation in Las Vegas,” said Lampley.
Not everyone wants Benavidez to “come to the party” without him earning it, as his resume is weak from top to bottom. When Benavidez finally did take a semi-decent opponent against Plant, he was getting a boxing lesson for the first six rounds and was en route to losing the fight until ‘Sweethands’ gassed.
If Benavidez had taken risky fights against Morrell, Bivol & Beterbiev, more fans would have been interested in seeing him face Canelo, but he’s shied away. That’s why he’s viewed as a hype job, just looking for retirement money for a fight that he hasn’t earned against Canelo.