By: Hans Themistode
David Benavidez doesn’t claim to know everything, however, he does believe he knows how his future will ultimately unfold.
Currently, the former WBC super-middleweight belt holder is patiently watching the clock in his hotel room as he waits for his upcoming showdown against fringe contender Ronald Ellis to finally arrive in what would be his first fight since losing his title on the scales late last year. The two are slated to face off in the main event slot at the Mohegan Sun Casino, in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Picking up the win this Saturday night is a foregone conclusion to the 24-year-old. But so is a matchup with current unified champion Canelo Alvarez.
“I know I’m going to be the undisputed champion,” said Benavidez during a recent interview with Fight Hub TV. “I know I’m going to be the one to beat Canelo. I’m just waiting for the opportunity.”
With his showdown against Ellis elevated to a WBC world title eliminator, Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) could move one step closer to a matchup with Alvarez.
Well, in theory, yes, but in actuality, Benavidez doesn’t believe so.
“He has a history of vacating titles when he’s meant to fight a strong mandatory. He knows that I’m a threat.”
On numerous occasions, Alvarez has in actuality, vacated his world title. In 2016, two-division world champion Demetrius Andrade claimed that Alvarez avoided a showdown with him when he sat in the mandatory position for the Mexican native’s WBO Jr middleweight world title. Alvarez would, in fact, go on to drop his championship and instead, elected to take on Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. at a catchweight of 164 pounds. Four months later, Alvarez would then challenge Gennadiy Golovkin.
Similarly enough, current WBC middleweight titlist Jermall Charlo has shared a similar story.
Shortly after Alvarez successfully unified his WBC and WBA middleweight titles by taking the IBF crown held by then-champion Daniel Jacobs in 2019, Charlo called for his chance as he held the WBC interim crown.
Alvarez though, would have his title taken away from him by WBC President Mauricio Sulaiman and instead, replaced with the “Franchise,” tag instead. A new and still confusing term.
In those instances, Alvarez elected to go in another direction but in the case of mandatory challenger Avni Yildirim, the pound-for-pound star faced the Turkish product and made quick work of him, stopping in three rounds just a few weeks ago.
For the most part, fans fulminated over the selection of Yildirim as the mandatory challenger as he held that position even after he was defeated in his most recent fight against Anthony Dirrell more than two years ago. Still, for Benavidez, he wasn’t bothered by the entire ordeal.
The way he see’s it, Yildirim was better off stuffing his pockets with large sums of cash rather than receiving the same sort of beating at his hands for less than half the pay.
“I feel like I definitely deserved the mandatory spot to fight Canelo but if you look at it, Yildirim was mandatory since he lost to Anthony Dirrell two years ago. I really don’t have a problem with that. I feel like Canelo just wanted to stay active and that was probably the easiest fight available to him.
“Yildirim, at the end of the day, every fighter deserves to get paid. I feel like if I was going to fight Yildirim I would’ve knocked him out easily. At least now he made more money for getting knocked out.”
As it currently stands, the entire fight calendar of Alvarez (55-1-2, 37 KOs) this year is completely booked. On May 8th, he is set to take on WBO belt holder Billy Joe Saunders. Should he pick up the win, his goal would be to then move on to an undisputed showdown against IBF titlist Caleb Plant.
At no point has Alvarez mentioned the possibility of taking on Benavidez. But while most might take that as a slight, the 24-year-old views it as a compliment. Although he doesn’t believe team Alvarez would admit it, Benavidez is firmly under the belief that they know deep down inside just how dangerous he is.
“As much as they want to say that I don’t have experience and I have problems with the weight, at the end of the day, they haven’t taken the fight. They’ve been leaving me for last because I’m the hardest out of the bunch. If I was such an easy target, he would’ve taken my WBC title back then.”