By: Sean Crose
This past weekend, super middleweight David Benavidez tossed off the ceremonial first pitch at an Arizona Diamondbacks’ home game. Such things tend to be small nods to the significance of the one throwing the ball. Be that as it may, small nods are nods nonetheless and that means the undefeated Benavidez is a fighter worth taking note of. Not that serious fight fans haven’t been following the career of the hard hitting 25 year old for some time now. A first pitch at a major league game, however, indicates that maybe – just maybe – the honoree might pique the interest of a larger audience.
Benavidez’ match this weekend with the hard hitting and always entertaining David Lemieux might be just the sort of bout non-fight fans will find enjoyable. For this one just isn’t likely to be a chess match, as the two combatants are battlers. The 25-0 Benavidez hasn’t seen a fight go the distance in over four years, and terminal contender Lemiuex is a rugged customer if ever there was one. By taking on Lemiuex, Benavidez and his team have made the wise decision to keep active against a known and talented fighter while major matches remain (temporarily at least) elusive.
The truth is that Benavidez has wanted to get into the ring with Canelo Alvarez for some time now. Both men fight at 168 pounds, after all, and no one in his or her right mind would consider Benavidez easy pickings. It’s hard to get a bout with the sport’s biggest name, though, and much of 2022 has seen talk of Canelo facing the likes of Dmitry Bivol and arch rival Gennady Golovkin. What’s more Bivol shook the fight world by soundly besting Canelo when they met a few weeks ago for Bivol’s light heavyweight title. Now Canelo’s future is uncertain, save for the fact that the man will be back in the ring as soon as possible. What that means for Benavidez is a fight with Canelo might be further down the road than some might have expected.
If that proves to be the case, it makes sense that the Phoenix native (hence the throwing out of the opening pitch at a Diamondbacks game) may have to assert and showcase himself against the likes of Lemieux and other good but not great fighters before he finds himself in a pay per view level event. Provided the man keeps besting solid competition, however, Benavidez will be harder and harder to deny a place to under the spotlight. Ultimately, a high profile match may only be a matter of time for the Arizonan.
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