Benavidez Targets Light Heavyweight Division in Pursuit of Opportunities

By Sean Jones - 03/02/2024 - Comments

David Benavidez will move up to 175 next to take on Oleksandr Gvozdyk for the interim WBC light heavyweight title in June 2024. Benavidez is moving up to 175 because he’s run out of well-paying opportunities at 168.

Canelo Obsession

Some feel that Benavidez is obsessed with Canelo Alvarez and deeply bitter that he’s not gotten to fight him. As a result, Benavidez says he wants to beat everyone in Canelo’s team in what appears to be a pressure move to make him look bad, anger him, and force him to give him a fight.

“If I can’t get to Canelo, I’m going to beat up everybody in his team,” said Benavidez to Thaboxingvoice.

To some, it sounds sick and twisted on Benavidez’s part that he won’t let go of his fixation with Canelo, and it seems like such a waste. Instead of Benavidez carving his path, as Canelo had done during his career, he’s looking for one big fight with little chance of success of that happening. It’s the lazy approach to a career.

Canelo knows what he’s doing. He’s not naive and likely won’t entertain a fight against him unless the Saudis throw enormous money at him in the $100 million guaranteed purse. It’s unknown if that will happen, given that the Saudis seem more interested in the heavyweights.

The Challenge of Gvozdyk

‘The Mexican Monster’ Benavidez can’t get the money fight that he and his father, trainer Jose Benavidez Jr., have been angling towards against superstar Canelo Alvarez at 168, so they’re moving up to 175 and have chosen former WBC light heavyweight champion Gvozdyk to lock to because the mandatory for champion Artur Beterbiev.

It’s a risky move by Benavidez because Gvozdyk (20-1, 16 KOs) can punch, and he won’t have nearly the same gigantic size advantage over him as he has his entire career fighting at 168 against smaller opposition. Gvozdyk has a powerful right hand, and he can box well.

This isn’t an over-the-hill fighter or a ham & egger like the fighters Benavidez has fought throughout his career to build his 28-0 record. Gvozdyk can actually fight, and he could expose Benavidez as the weight bully that many boxing fans believe he is.

It’s a significant gamble on Benavidez’s part because he won’t be able to use size to win, and even if he is victorious over Gvozdyk, it doesn’t guarantee that he’s going to ignite calls for Canelo to fight him.