LAS VEGAS – David Benavidez believes he has earned his shot at Canelo Alvarez.
Now that Benavidez has beaten Caleb Plant, the opponent Alvarez defeated to become boxing’s undisputed super middleweight champion, Benavidez doesn’t think Alvarez can claim that his resume doesn’t warrant a fight for Alvarez’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 168-pound championships. Benavidez (27-0, 23 KOs), who defended his WBC interim title against Plant, is the WBC’s mandatory challenger for one of Alvarez’s four titles.
Alvarez (58-2-2, 39 KOs) will oppose another interim champion, John Ryder, on May 6 at Akron Stadium in Zapopan, Mexico, just outside of Alvarez’s hometown of Guadalajara. England’s Ryder (32-5, 18 KOs) won the WBO interim title in his last fight, an injury-induced technical knockout of countryman Zach Parker (22-1, 16 KOs) on November 26 at O2 Arena in London.
If the heavily favored Alvarez defeats Ryder, Benavidez wants to square off against Alvarez in September. Alvarez might opt for a rematch with WBA light heavyweight champ Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs), who soundly out-pointed Alvarez last May 7 at T-Mobile Arena.
“I feel like Canelo Alvarez, he needs these fights, you know, a big fighter like me,” Benavidez said during his post-fight press conference. “This is definitely a really big fight. You know, as you can see, me and Caleb Plant was a huge fight. So, I think [Alvarez-Benavidez] would do huge pay-per-view numbers.”
Phoenix’s Benavidez battered Plant throughout the second half of their 12-round bout Saturday night at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Plant (22-2, 13 KOs) was ahead on all three scorecards entering the sixth round (50-45, 49-46, 48-47), but Benavidez broke him down, hurt the former IBF super middleweight champ multiple times and shut out Plant over the final seven rounds to win comfortably according to two judges (117-111, 116-112 and 115-113).
Alvarez dropped Plant twice and stopped him in the 11th round of their title unification fight in November 2021 at MGM Grand Garden Arena.
Cuban southpaw David Morrell (8-0, 7 KOs), the WBA’s secondary 168-pound champion, and WBC middleweight champ Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) are appealing potential opponents for Benavidez as well.
The inactive Charlo would need to move up eight pounds and the Houston native would want at least one interim bout before he would battle Benavidez. Those two fights would be makeable for Benavidez from a business standpoint because Benavidez, Morrell and Charlo are all affiliated with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions.
Benavidez understandably wants to fight Alvarez next.
“And, I mean, let’s just take it back to fighting, man – I wanna prove myself,” Benavidez said of facing Alvarez. “Canelo’s proved himself, but I feel like he needs to give me the opportunity, too. And it’s not like I’m begging for something. I’ve been mandatory for the past two fights. So, it’s something I’ve earned. You know, and especially after this fight, I showed that I deserve to be in there [with Alvarez].
“And, you know, I wasn’t really getting hit as much. You know what I mean? My defense was good. I thought Caleb Plant was faster, so I was really countering, and I was using my head movement and defense good. I know I could get better, but I feel like the only fight that people wanna see in super middleweight is me versus Canelo, so let’s give it to ‘em.”
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.
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