David Benavidez couldn’t help but get a kick out of his recent run-in with Jermall Charlo, knowing that it is unlikely to lead to an actual fight anytime soon.
The pair of unbeaten boxers and their respective teams exchanged harsh words and had to be separated while ringside for the Errol Spence-Yordenis Ugas Showtime Pay-Per-View card at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The tense—but ultimately defused—situation was the latest verbal exchange between Benavidez and Charlo whether in person or through social media, with Benavidez eager for the rivalry to make its way to the ring.
The undefeated former two-time WBC super middleweight titlist isn’t counting on reciprocity.
“I think there’s a big opportunity for the fight with Jermall Charlo to happen. I also feel like he’s the type that just talks and talks and talks,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com while preparing for his May 21 interim WBC super middleweight title fight with David Lemieux. “It’s an emerging habit, if you look at it. He did that to Danny Jacobs. He did that to Boo Boo Andrade. He does it to everybody he should be fighting but these fights don’t happen.
“I just feel like he doesn’t have any confidence in himself.
The feud has been brewing for years and always ends the same way—with Benavidez (25-0, 22KOs) calling for a fight that ultimately dies on the vine. Charlo (32-0, 22KOs) made headlines more than a year ago with his list of reasons for why a fight with Benavidez wasn’t in his immediate plans.
“I’m not fighting nobody under 25, and I’m not fighting nobody that don’t take the COVID vaccination,” insisted the WBC middleweight titlist last February, less than two months after Benavidez celebrated his 24th birthday.
Benavidez turned 25 last December, though he isn’t buying Charlo’s past list of demands as a reason why a fight has yet to materialize.
“A lot of people like that who are outspoken and act like they’re tough outside the ring, they’re really scared to face you inside the ring,” insists Benavidez. “Everyone who knows me, knows I don’t need to act like that to show you that I’m tough. I know what I can do, I don’t need to be doing all this yelling and crazy stuff to show you who I am. I’d rather show you in the ring.”
With that, Benavidez moves forward with his own career. The upcoming fight with Lemieux will determine who is guaranteed to next land a crack at the full WBC super middleweight title, which Benavidez held twice before. The bout headlines a Showtime tripleheader from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, roughly 30 minutes from Benavidez’s Phoenix hometown where he last fought in a seventh-round stoppage of Kyrone Davis last November.
A win on May 21 would ideally position Benavidez for a shot at undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez (57-1-2, 39KOs), although the Mexican superstar is on his own path this year.
That leaves Benavidez to search for his own big fights, preferably within the realm of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) as to eliminate the general politics of the sport. Fights with Charlo and former IBF super middleweight titlist Caleb Plant (21-1, 12KOs) remain on his hit list, with the latter seemingly the more realistic option for later this year. If that’s the case, he’d rather not hear from Charlo anymore if it doesn’t lead to seeing him in a fight that matters.
“It’s very unfortunate. They say they’re all about money. This is a big money fight,” notes Benavidez of the Charlo twins, Jermall and Jermell. “Besides him and Canelo, the biggest fight to be made in PBC is me and Jermall Charlo. It could be a massive, massive fight. It sucks because the fans are the ones missing out. I get a lot of shit too because they ask why we’re not making these fights happen.
“I’ve been trying to make this happen for a very long time. You can’t force someone to fight you. The only reason it’s not happening is because the other side doesn’t want to make it happen. I’m all in. I’m a professional, I’m ready to step up and take these fights to show I am the best. I’m ready to fight anyone. I can’t say that for these other guys.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox