Opetaia craves big fight in March: Benavidez at cruiserweight?

By Dan Ambrose - 12/27/2023 - Comments

Jai Opetaia is looking for a big fight in March, and he’s talked about wanting to face light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol, but there’s no interest on his part in facing the Ring Magazine cruiserweight champion.

An opponent that would make sense to face Opetaia (24-0, 19 KOs) is ‘The Mexican Monster’ David Benavidez, a fighter that many agree is a true cruiserweight, but who boils down to compete at super middleweight due to the bigger paydays in that weight class.

Blockbuster bout in the desert

If the Saudis want it, they can convince the 26-year-old Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) to come up to cruiserweight to take on Opetaia in a blockbuster clash between two talented fighters of equal size. Benavidez wants the biggest payday possible, which is why he’s been draining down to 168 all these years.

There would be no size advantage, as Benavidez is probably a little bigger than Opetaia, and it would come down to which of the two has more heart. Can Benavidez deal with a fighter his own size like Opetaia or would he fall apart?

It would be interesting to finally see Benavidez fighting someone his own size rather than melting down to 168 and then rehydrating to crush his smaller opponents.

Benavidez has been pursuing superstar Canelo Alvarez tirelessly for years, trying to get that money fight rather than moving up to cruiserweight to compete against fighters his own size.  That bout looks unlikely to ever happen, and you can understand why.

Canelo isn’t interested in fighting a boiled-down cruiserweight, and he shouldn’t have to.

It’s questionable whether Benavidez would accept a fight against Opetaia, considering that he’s not shown interest in accepting the challenge against David Morrell Jr, the WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion, who can punch like no tomorrow and is absolutely fearless.

“[Mairis] Briedis pulled out. He lost my respect. I used to look up to him during my cruiserweight journey,” said Jai Opetaia to Matchroom Boxing about his thoughts on former IBF, WBC & WBO cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis. “I give him a tough up once, and he never come back.

“Taking part in these Riyadh seasons is making a change. I feel like the next one is going to be a bigger fight with a better opponent, and they’re going to gradually build and build.

“The Saudis are making things happen, and I’m proud to be here. I’m the first cruiserweight to be on these cards, so team Riyadh,” said Opetaia.

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