GLENDALE, Arizona – It’s not what David Benavidez or his fans want to hear but is likely the cold heart truth. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
The primary goal of the unbeaten 25-year-old is to cash in his WBC mandatory challenger status into a dream fight with undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. It’s why Benavidez entered a title eliminator last March and why he fought for and won the interim WBC super middleweight title in a one-sided third-round knockout of David Lemieux this past Saturday at Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
Benavidez—who grew up in nearby Phoenix—spent much of the promotion aware that other options need to be explored as Alvarez (57-2-2, 39KOs) is on his own path for 2022 and with the sanctioning bodies’ blessing. What it means is that the one fight he most craves, however, is likely the furthest out of reach.
“All of you, please don’t continue fantasizing on Canelo,” Sampson Lewkowicz, Benavidez’s promoter told BoxingScene.com and other reporters during the post-fight press conference. “He will not take a step ahead to fight the real champion, the champion of the people. Let’s not talk anymore about Canelo. It doesn’t exist.
“He looked so bad (in a May 7 loss to WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol) that I don’t think he can come back. Maybe he can take it as a 40-year-old man. Besides that, he will not do nothing else. So please, don’t talk about Canelo. It won’t happen and will likely never happen.”
With that comes the next best course of action, a road Benavidez was already prepared to travel.
The same several alternatives popped up in conversation throughout fight week—former IBF super middleweight titlist Caleb Plant (21-1, 12KOs), WBC middleweight title claimant Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22KOs) and secondary WBA super middleweight beltholder David Morrell (6-0, 5KOs). All three are with Premier Boxing Champions (PBC), as is Benavidez and appear to be makeable fights in the next several months, however mixed and matched.
“We have three options in November,” Lewkowicz confirmed. “One is Plant. The second one is Morrell. The other is Charlo. There is no other way. Canelo doesn’t happen. Those are the three (realistic) options. Plant is the best one because there is a personal vendetta. Morrell likes to talk, of course he does—he’s Cuban. And Charlo deserves to make a decision.. it will be a hard one to make.
“So please, let’s not talk about Canelo.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox