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HomeSportsDavid Benavidez looking for career boost after fight against David Lemieux

David Benavidez looking for career boost after fight against David Lemieux

David Benavidez wasn’t stunned when he noticed one of many largest boxing upsets lately.

He had believed for years that even a primary model of Canelo Alvarez could possibly be overwhelmed, and it got here to fruition on Could 7 when Alvarez, pushing himself into a brand new weight class, did not seize Dmitry Bivol’s WBA mild heavyweight belt. Bivol picked up a signature win and obtained the profession increase that comes with a matchup in opposition to the game’s moneymaker.

Nevertheless, that does not change the truth for Benavidez and different fighters within the tier beneath Alvarez. Whereas the potential for intriguing matchups exists, Benavidez and others have not been capable of generate sufficient momentum to safe profitable bouts — particularly one in opposition to Alvarez.

Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) is hoping to fabricate extra of a push this Saturday in Glendale, Arizona, when he faces former middleweight champion David Lemieux (Showtime, 10 p.m. ET).

“The one factor I can do is hold beating the individuals they put in entrance of me, hold being thrilling,” Benavidez advised ESPN. “That is simply the kind of fighter I’m. I do not suppose it’ll run out anytime quickly.”

Many consider Benavidez is without doubt one of the greatest 168-pounders on the earth. Solely three of his skilled bouts have gone the gap. ESPN ranks Benavidez No. 2 at tremendous middleweight, proper behind Canelo. If Benavidez beats Lemieux (43-4, 36 KOs), he’ll win the WBC’s interim tremendous middleweight title, which might theoretically power a compulsory showdown for Canelo’s WBC belt.

It is a logical and methodical approach for a fighter to construct momentum. It is why Benavidez determined to face the unknown Ronald Ellis final March in a WBC title eliminator that ought to have put him in line to face Alvarez. However this path assumes that logic is prevalent in boxing.

Even when Benavidez beats Lemieux, who hasn’t confronted a top-level fighter since 2017, he is aware of that is no assure of getting the combat he has wished for years.

“I really feel like [the WBC is] making this a title combat simply so I shut up, mainly,” Benavidez mentioned.

The 25-year-old is effectively conscious that Alvarez probably will get promoted to WBC “franchise” champion, which is a flowery approach of permitting Alvarez to retain his title with out having to make the necessary protection.

What compounds Benavidez’s frustration is the truth that he has squandered the very momentum he is searching for. He has misplaced the WBC’s 168-bout belt twice — as soon as in 2018 for testing constructive for cocaine and once more in 2020 when he did not make weight for a title protection in opposition to Roamer Alexis Angulo.

“He is on my s— record and I’ll get to him, however till then he is gonna have to attend off to the facet like a great little boy as a result of he did not do what he was presupposed to do once more,” former tremendous middleweight champion Caleb Plant, talking to FightHype in January 2021, mentioned of Benavidez.

Had Benavidez not misplaced the belt in ’20, he possible would have had a shot at Alvarez, who accomplished his 11-month journey of turning into an undisputed tremendous middleweight champion by plucking Plant’s belt final 12 months. That made Alvarez the primary Mexican fighter to change into undisputed within the four-belt period.

Benavidez and Jermall Charlo are among the many most intriguing future choices for Alvarez, however as his current foray into the sunshine heavyweight division confirmed, Alvarez is in quest of glory that Benavidez and Charlo cannot presently provide.

“I simply need to be among the best fighters within the historical past of boxing,” Alvarez advised ESPN in April. “That is why I would like to increase my legacy. To be there, proper?”

However there’s one other strategy to construct momentum — a extra impactful approach: large wins in opposition to big-name opponents. Benavidez does have a victory over Anthony Dirrell, ESPN’s eighth-ranked fighter within the division. A scheduled 2021 showdown with Jose Uzcategui by no means materialized due to a constructive COVID-19 check by Benavidez after which Uzcategui’s constructive check for performance-enhancing medicine.

Benavidez mentioned he tried to barter for fights with Charlo, the WBC’s middleweight champion, and Plant, a rival who fought Canelo in ’21 as a result of he held one of many 168-pound belts. All three combat below the Premier Boxing Champions umbrella. Benavidez mentioned he contacted Luis DeCubas, Plant’s supervisor, and PBC head government Al Haymon, however these efforts had been to no avail.

“It is sensible and it might be a really profitable combat for each [Charlo and Plant],” mentioned Benavidez, who added that every matchup would have introduced even odds for all events concerned. “We are able to each make some huge cash. However these guys, they are not assured as they are saying they’re, as they suppose they’re.”

Benavidez is not missing confidence. After earlier slip-ups, he has elevated his dedication to being in prime situation, which suggests reducing again on a few of his favorites — quick meals, Mountain Dew and cookie dough ice cream.

Fixing a food plan is less complicated than the problem that limits the ceiling for Benavidez and different proficient fighters who need their likelihood to be amongst boxing’s prime attracts. Benavidez hopes a win over Lemieux this weekend helps him resolve the query so many are asking.

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