It’s one thing to know what’s coming. (photo by Ryan Hafey)
David Benavidez had every reason to think he was going to win, and win big, last Saturday. So did everyone who tuned in.
There was also every reason it would be one of those nights where the foregone didn’t have to be boring. One of the trickiest things to pull off in sports can be doing what is expected. It’s easy to hear the expectations and not do the little things to meet them.
Benavidez didn’t have that problem last Saturday.
He defused David Lemieux, nearly stopping the former middleweight in the first, knocking him out of the ring in the second, and drawing a stoppage in the third. Lemieux still had some fight in him when his corner waved surrender. They’d seen enough.
So had a nice crowd in Arizona.
Have we seen enough of Lemieux for good?
Futures: Lemieux still comes to rumble, still throws hard, but he never quite got past a certain level of foe and the beating Saturday suggested the punishment will continue to mount without the right matchmaking. He’s been a fun fighter and has every right to decide what he wants to do as a man. It would be a shame to see him take beatings he doesn’t have to.
The future is different, certainly brighter, for Benavidez. He’s built a nice home base of fans, won two belts at super middleweight, and now holds the WBC interim strap. He’s within spitting distance of his third major title.
Is that the same as spitting distance from the current WBC titleholder, Saul Alvarez? Probably not. Alvarez has announced he plans to follow through with his expected third fight with Gennadiy Golovkin. 2023 is the earliest we could see discussion about Alvarez-Benavidez. Benavidez will have tough choices.
There are good, dangerous fights with others under the PBC umbrella like Caleb Plant or a rising Jermall Charlo but politically there are reasons to protect his spot. Neither option carries guarantees.
Alvarez is a brand that exists outside the sanctioning bodies to a large extent. He’s shown willing to face just about anyone, but he gets to it when he wants to. Waiting for Alvarez could end up being a lot of lost time.
A loss while waiting changes the pecking order.
Taking better fights is the best option for the fans. Business is one thing but boxing is also a sport. There are some very good sporting options for Benavidez not named Alvarez. Let’s hope to see some soon.
Condolences to the Russell family on the loss of patriarch Gary Sr. The family has been through a lot the last year or two…Zhanibek Alimkhanuly may or may not be a serious face of the future at middleweight. Danny Dingum wasn’t much of a gauge to judge that on…Joshua Buatsi is going to be fun no matter how far he goes at light heavyweight.
Cliff Rold is the Managing Editor of BoxingScene, a founding member of the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, a member of the International Boxing Research Organization, and a member of the Boxing Writers Association of America.