LAS VEGAS, NV — David Benavidez has been patient.
The 26-year-old is already a two-time WBC super middleweight champion and is currently in possession of the WBC interim title. He’s undefeated, recognized as one of the most explosive offensive fighters in the sport, and has victories over former champions Anthony Dirrell, Caleb Plant, and David Lemieux. Yet, here he is waiting for a fight with the current undisputed super middleweight champion, Canelo Alvarez.
For most boxing fans, it doesn’t really add up. Especially when you consider Canelo’s last opponent was a listless Jermell Charlo who climbed two weight classes to challenge the Mexican superstar. That should have been Benavidez. Nevertheless, Benavidez will audition for the opportunity to finally challenge Canelo when he faces undefeated two-division champion Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade at the Michelob Arena in Las Vegas on November 25.
“I’ve been at this weight class for ten years and at the doorstep for an opportunity, so I’m just going to wait here,” Benavidez told a group of reporters on Wednesday without mentioning Canelo by name. “I don’t know what to say anymore. I’m just interested in what is put in front of me. My job is to be the best super middleweight in the world, so whoever they put in front of me, I guess that’s who I’ll be beating.”
In front of him will be Andrade (32-0, 19 KOs), who has also been after a fight with Canelo. The 35-year-old might be an undefeated champion in two different weight classes but he’s spent the majority of his career chasing the bigger names in boxing. Bouts of inactivity have plagued Andrade, but he’ll get his opportunity against Benavidez, in what also feels like an audition to face Canelo next.
Benavidez doesn’t go out of his way to diminish Andrade, but he likens him to a previous opponent that he delivered a brutal 12-round to earlier this year.
“I feel like he’s going to be the exact same fighter as Caleb Plant,” said Benavidez. “I’m not saying he’s better or not as good but it’s the same style.”
There are similarities as both Plant and Andrade are exceptional boxers who use movement and defense to create openings while not necessarily being known for their punching power. And that lack of punching power cost Plant dearly because he was unable to slow down or deter “The Mexican Monster” from mowing him down as the rounds progressed.
The offensive display was relentless and almost frightening to watch as an early boxing match turned into a bludgeoning that almost saw Benavidez finish off his rival. Andrade will do everything in his power to thwart the 26-year-old from becoming the avalanche that has swallowed up his competition whole over the years, but Benavidez doesn’t think that there’s much of anything his opponent can do about it.
“I think (I’m the most explosive offensive boxer in the world today),” Benavidez told The Sporting News. “I’m the only person who has knocked somebody out with an eight-punch combo in the last ten years. That’s the type of fighting style I like. I loved Manny Pacquiao’s style and that’s where I’m trying to be.”
Ranking in the top five across boxing in several offensive categories, Benavidez has routinely peeled off combinations that are eyebrow-raising and violent. According to Compubox, he lands 23.8 punches per round, good for 6th in boxing. That’s a category normally reserved for the lighter weights yet the super middleweight unleashes eight to ten punch combinations with relative ease and alarming accuracy. It’s turned out to be a recipe for disaster for all 27 of his opponents.
Perhaps of most importance is his combination of size, hand speed, and violence is the reason why people believe that Canelo has avoided him. It used to bother Benavidez but now he believes he can no longer concern himself with what Canelo’s next move is. A victory over Andrade would make him the mandatory challenger to Canelo’s WBC title, and it’s the logical next fight for both, but logic usually doesn’t have a place in boxing.
“It takes a lot of patience,” Benavidez said with a smile. He’s made it clear that he’ll fight anybody next, including rising star David Morrell, who only has nine fights but is considered to be a future world champion. It doesn’t matter to Benavidez if it’s now or later, he’s going to have to fight them all so he’s ready to see them line up.
“I really want to be the best in my generation and the only way to do that is to beat everyone,” he said. “I’m not scared of anybody. When my time in boxing is done, you will know me as a legendary fighter like Julio Cesar Chavez, Marco Antonio Barrera, and Oscar De La Hoya.”
And the one thing that all legends have?