GLENDALE, Arizona – David Benavidez felt a good kind of pressure after watching his stablemates in action earlier this year.
The unbeaten 25-year-old was ringside as Diego Pacheco and Jose ‘Rayo’ Valenzuela took care of their respective opponents with relative ease. Los Angeles’ Pacheco (14-0, 11KOs)—a 21-year-old super middleweight prospect—earned a second-round knockout on the undercard of a March 5 DAZN show in San Diego. Six weeks later, the 22-year-old Valenzuela (12-0, 8KOs) needed just 85 seconds to take out former WBC junior lightweight titlist Francisco Vargas on the April 16 Showtime Pay-Per-View event televised undercard at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Next up is the senior member of the group, as Benavidez continues his quest to become a three-time super middleweight titlist. With that comes the promise that Montreal’s David Lemieux (43-4, 36KOs) will be taken out in similarly spectacular fashion.
“Those guys motivate me even more,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com. “It makes me want to go out there and get a knockout as well. I don’t want to be the only one on the team that doesn’t get a knockout.
“Those guys are young, hungry fighters. They motivate me, I motivate them. We all feed off each other’s energy.”
Their scheduled twelve-round interim WBC super middleweight title fight airs live this Saturday on Showtime from Gila River Arena in Glendale, near Benavidez’s childhood hometown of Phoenix, Arizona.
Benavidez has grown accustomed to being the youngest fighter among any given team, turning pro at age 16 following his older brother Jose Jr. (now 30 years old). Valenzuela was the first to change that feeling for the former two-time WBC super middleweight titlist, with Pacheco joining the team earlier this year.
“It’s weird being the oldest one, I’m used to being the youngest,” Benavidez admits. “I feel like now we have a really good group of young guys. Diego is the youngest out of all of us. I thought he was a little bit older, he’s barely 21.”
Having watched his teammates rise to the occasion in their most recent bouts, Benavidez is prepared to not just continue to trend but carry the mantle as the gym’s elder statesmen. The near effortless performances delivered by Valenzuela and Pacheco helped provide validation that all the right things are being done and said during their time in camp.
“Me having twice held the world title, having big stuff in my career I enjoy being the leader in the gym and tell them what’s coming on, what’s gonna happen,” notes Benavidez. “I’m there to give advice if they need advice. We have a good time training as well. We’re getting paid to beat people up, how much more fun is that?”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox