David Benavidez Ready For Canelo? – Plus All My Thoughts On Boxing This Week
David Benavidez Ready For Canelo?
We have two types of fans in such a divided world after Saturday night, those who see David Benavidez as one of the most exciting Mexican-American action fighters in recent memory, and those who scoff at the idea he even belongs in the conversation of amongst the elite of the world. Per usual with the internet, the reasonable thoughts seemingly don’t exist, that was mostly seen when David Benavidez weighed in at 169 lbs, the limit for his fight with Kyrone “Shut It Down” Davis, yet faced unfair retorts that he didn’t make weight for the fight, which was untrue – and also shows how fans don’t really understand contracted weight limits.
Benavidez is a generational combination puncher, who at times struggles to cut off the ring, but picked up a seventh-round technical knockout of Kyrone Davis, when Davis’ corner called the bout off. The result was impressive but also was good sport was compassion shown to Davis from his coaching staff to save him from himself. The bout was what we expected with Davis giving a more respectable outing than most expected, but Benavidez’s size and skill overtook the fight on the second half, as Davis sat far too often on the ropes.
Benavidez is clearly to me, one of the best super middleweights in the world, but he hasn’t amassed the resume to truly get that praise just yet, but unless you’re a steadfast denier of offensive talent, Benavidez feels like a generational force on course to meet Canelo Alvarez at some point, not unlike The Terminator when the T-1000 appeared in Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Benavidez is everything we want in a fighter, offensive, interesting, a huge frame that can go up multiple weight classes, and a high-volume fighter, yet the big thing moving forward will be can he avoid being his own worst enemy, in-and-out of the ring.
His brother, Jose Benavidez Jr., might have been one of the greatest fighters, who the world has yet to see his full potential, as at 17-years-old, Jose Jr., was viewed as a future star of the sport, but outside distractions have seemingly held him back slightly to a top-10 world level fighter – no slight at all, but the hope was that Jose could be an all-time great. David has the chance to be special, but to do so we need the special fights, and after Saturday he laid the ground work for that
Emanuel Torres Ruins Homecoming
After three-years out of the ring and a new promoter, Jose Benavidez returned to Arizona and got a serious test in his first bout with Premier Boxing Champions as it took all that he could muster on this evening to fight Francisco Emanuel Torres to a ten-round draw.
Torres used a lot of movement, and a shoulder roll, that set up a reactionary right-hand that made Benavidez debut at 154 lbs much more muted than many probably had of hoped. One of the most meaningful exchanges was a spirited effort by Jose Benavidez early in the seventh round that forced Torres back, but the fight was simple. Jose Benavidez went forward, and Torres moved around.
Showtime’s official scorer, Steve Farhood, had the bout for Torres, I was in-and-out of the bout, and it felt like a fight that would be easy to have an opinion on, but hard to score as the rounds were very much of the swing round variety.
Benavidez, who started the youth movement in boxing, turning pro at 17-years-old, was groomed by Top Rank Inc., but saw issues outside of the ring derail his rise, now will have to reconsider his future. Even as a draw, I feel like Torres will view this as a win.
Mickey Scala, a recent Mayweather Promotions signee, picked up a win on the undercard, but his defense needs to improve as his last two fights have seen him getting hit cleaner than I would’ve liked him to get hit, especially for a prospect. Scala is a quality puncher.
Keenan Carbajal got a fourth-round KO on this card as well.
Munguia Beats Rosado.
Former world champion Jaime Munguia picked up the most impressive win of his career defeating Gabriel Rosado in a 12-round action-packed fight at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
Munguia looked as good as ever, looking faster than previous versions, as well using a better use of distance with a solid jab, and much-improved head movement. This version of Munguia was the one that used to be mentioned as a potential opponent for Canelo Alvarez, and looked to be in the conversations for the world champions of the middleweight division.
As for Rosado, a game battle-tested veteran got his classic blood-and-guts war added to his CV, as Rosado fights like an Arturo Gatti, without the accolades Gatti received. Rosado best known as a hard-luck fighter, earned respect as a fighter whom politics, and bad decision did wrong, and got a memorable fight with a fighter who could turn into something special in Munguia.
The judges saw the bout bout wide for Mangier, and that was more than likely the right result, as after the first four rounds, Munguia was never truly in doubt of losing this bout in my mind.
Local ticket seller, and welterweight Golden Boy Promotions contender Alexis Rocha was just too much for Jeovanis Barraza as the body shots of Rocha were clinical, and added up en route a ninth-round technical knockout in front of his hometown crowd as the co-main event. The bout was one-sided as Rocha cruised to a win shaking off the memory of his lost “Speedy” Ellis in his last bout. Good win, not much to say beyond that, as Rocha made the bout one-sided and got a lot of rounds.
In a competitive and tough fight, but not really the most enjoyable fight to watch, D’Mitrius Ballard defeated Paul Valenzuela Jr. as the two fought all ten-round to a unanimous decision via the scores of 98-92 on all three cards . Valenzuela Jr. served as an active and awkward opponent, and Ballard fought in the DMV (DC/Maryland/Virginia) high-guard style, as he picked up the pace from the fourth round on, and his body shots weighed heavy on Valenzuela late, but neither fighter separated from one and another something that was disappointing if you’re a fan of Ballard. Barry Hunter coached a tremendous fight urging Ballard to go for a stoppage in the last round, and his corner work I felt gave Ballard the edge in close rounds.
William Zepeda, who holds a smaller form of the WBA lightweight title, picked up a fourth-round technical knockout over John Moralde. Zipped played the hits landing a lot of power shots against Moralde, a world-class journeyman, but also got hit a bit too much for my liking with the right-hand but didn’t have the power to keep Zepeda off him, as it was the active combinations and power of Zepeda that was the difference. I think the hope is Zepeda finds himself in the world title picture next year.
Jacky Calvo, and Arely Mucino put together a spirited performance between two women’s flyweights that saw Mucino dropped in round nine only to win a debatable split-decision. The fight was a barn-burner, and hopefully gets a sequel, and maybe a higher slot on the card. Credit to both.
Asa Stevens is 2-0 with two KOs, a fighter who signed with Split-T Management during the Oxnard Last Chance Qualifier for the Olympic Trials, has been rather inactive as of late, fighting only two times this year. Stevens, is a good young fighter, with international experience – it will all be about development for Stevens, as 2022 should hopefully be a very active year for him. I would like to see him fight as often as Aaron McKenna used to Golden Boy Promotions cards three-or-four-years-ago.
U.K. Gets Upset on DAZN
In a domestic U.K. card that I had little interest in, we saw 35-year-old Kiko Martinez knocked out Kid Galahad in the sixth round to win the IBF featherweight world title Galahad held. For Martinez, he becomes a two-division world champion, as he defeated Jonathan Romero for the IBF super bantamweight world title in 2014, and would lose the title to Carl Frampton. Martinez, who is managed by Sergio Martinez, shocked the crowd by losing the rounds up until the fifth round, as he lulled Galahad asleep, as Galahad struggled to get his head off the line backing up and Martinez waited until the later rounds, when his effective lead right hand would land. He dropped Galahad in the fifth and stopped him with the first punch of the sixth, both punches were thrown like he was throwing a baseball.
Alycia Baumgardner brutally stopped Terri Harper for the IBF super featherweight women’s world title, as Harper was too slow for Baumgardner, who was timing Harper’s right hand with her own all fight, which inevitably caused the stoppage in the fourth. Alycia Baumgardner looked a level above Harper, who never threw her jab, and looked to rely upon toughness and strength to win, neither helped her. This felt like a career-changing loss for Harper, and a star-making performance for Baumgardner.
Both fighters with probably force their rematches, but this is an ugly stain on the Matchroom roster as in recent memory, Galahad, Harper, Josh Warrington, Josh Kelly, Mikey Garcia and Anthony Joshua have all lost on their cards. As we move past the Joshua era, Matchroom, who presents a great show, needs to find a fighter, who can carry them on into the next decade, I am looking at women like Chantelle Cameron and gold medal Olympian Lauren Price to play that role as well as Devin Haney to fill these voids, but this is an interesting thing to look at.
One below the top bouts, Chris Billam-Smith, a cruiserweight with a regional title defeated Dylan Bregeon that showed off Billam-Smith’s strengths which are physical toughness and aggression. The top of the card I feel foreshadows Billam-Smith’s future at the world-level, but he seems like a likable guy, who can mean a lot U.K. fans, and if he finds the right situation could be a world champion. Billam-Smith is worth being on your radar.
“Zurdo” returns December 18th in Texas on DAZN
Gilberto “Zurdo” Ramirez of Mazatlán, Mexico, will face Cuba’s Yunieski “The Monster” Gonzalez (21-3, 17 KOs) for the WBA Light Heavyweight Title eliminator on Saturday, December 18 from the AT&T Center in San Antonio, TX.
If “Zurdo” were to win this fight he becomes the mandatory for Dmitry Bivol, the current WBA light heavyweight world champion. Prior the announcement of this bout, “Zurdo” had been on public platforms like EsNews, stating that is the fight he’d like. This just makes it finite and concrete. If “Zurdo” wins, Bivol has to face him or give up his belt – it is that simple.
In the co-main event, three-time world champion Seneisa “Super Bad” Estrada will look to make the first defense of her WBA Minimumweight World title in a 10-round fight against undefeated Maria “La Imparable” Santizo, super featherweight contender Lamont Roach, Jr.will face former world champion Rene “Gemelo” Alvarado (32-10, 21 KOs) in a 10-round fight for the vacant NABA Super Featherweight championship, and U.S. Olympian and current WBC Flyweight World Champion Marlen Esparza will defend her world title, for the first time, against Anabel “Avispa” Ortiz.
This tweet also appears to show friction between Joshua Franco’s team and Golden Boy Promotions. For those unaware, Robert Garcia is Franco’s trainer.
MJ Now Defends World Title Against Velasquez
Murodjon Akhmadaliev will now defend his WBA and IBF World Super-Bantamweight world title against José Velásquez at the SNHU Arena in Manchester, New Hampshire on Friday November 19, live worldwide on DAZN, after Ronny Rios was forced to withdraw with COVID-19, as this bout will be the co-main event of Demetrius Andrade versus Jason Quigley.
Chris Eubank Jr. vs. Liam Williams
December 11th, Chris Eubank Jr. vs. Liam Williams will take place on as part of the Boxxer television program on Sky Sports. Eubank is selling the fight in the build-up so far with good trash talk.
MMA In 500 Words Or Less
“Cyborg” with the win
Cris “Cyborg” Justino, emerged with yet another victory in her illustrious career against Sinead Kavanagh, a first-round KO in less than two-minutes might I add. Yet – it seems like most of her wins since her loss to Amanda Nunes are a tribute to years prior, the 2008-2011 era of Strikeforce in which “Cyborg” was one of the lone compelling fighters in women’s mixed martial arts who could generate the same buzz as the men.
As her time seemed near, Ronda Rousey came to the forefront, a beautiful beach-blonde Southern California girl, who seemed much more accepted by the MMA community than Cyborg. Not unlike, a Luna Vachon in pro wrestling, “Cyborg” was a woman in a man’s world, who rarely got the respect she deserved despite being a pioneer, as this point, it seems no matter how you feel about her, a “thank you” is due to her.
This bout was one of her more interest bouts in recent memory as Kavanagh talked a big game. Also notable, Kayla Harrison was in the crowd for the bout, the undefeated promotional free agent who fights in “Cyborg’s” weight class.
“Cyborg” is a pioneer of women’s MMA who will always be damned by a positive PED test, yet will never truly get the respect she rightfully deserves, as for years, she was the Mike Tyson of women’s fighting.
Aaron Pico, a heavily touted prospect, who seemingly was fast-tracked to be MMA’s version of Vasyl Lomachenko, before he became a cautionary story of being moved too fast picked up a win. Pico won his bout, his first decision win of his career defeating Justin Gonzales. Pico who lost his first fight via submission and then lost back-to-back fights via KO, has moved down a level of competition, and looked improved at 9-3, he is in a solid spot, but I am not sure he will be a fighter who redefines the sport as some had of hoped. The major issue was Pico was viewed as #1 draft pick-type prospect, and he hasn’t lived up to that high praise as of yet.
Valerie Loureda returned with a win on this card as well. Loureda is a beautiful 23-year-old with talent, but her willingness to engage her fans has brought forth critics that view as potentially the next Paige VanZant, a super model who is fighting for the short-term, but looking for celebrity in the long-term. Loureda lashed out at these critics after the fight, and her plight to the top of her division is interesting as, outside of Kayla Harrison, Loureda is one of the most interesting prospects, as I have no clue if she is all-hype or a future generational great, and those are some of the most entertaining people to watch.
Max Holloway defeated Yair Rodriguez, the cousin to professional boxer and Olympian, Misael Rodriguez, in a spirited five-round fight that Holloway won on all the cards. For Holloway, his next move will be interesting, as a once bright-eyed prospect has turned into a cash cow of the sport, and has opportunities outside of the octagon in things such as celebrity boxing. I’ll be curious to see where he goes after this win.
Marcos Pezão did what happens in the fight game time-and-time again as he stopped aging UFC veteran Ben Rothwell in the first meaningful exchange of the fight. As fighter’s age sadly they go from prospects to tests for young and emerging fighters, the way Rothwell reacted to punches makes me question how much longer he should do this.
Felicia Spencer, who has had difficult year with the death of her brother, recorded a third-round KO of Leah Letson. Spencer has always felt like a future world champion and her recent losing skid prior to this bout, I accredit mostly to depression, due to a tragedy. Good to see her back in the win column.
Andrea “KGB” Lee stopped Cynthia Calvillo, who since leaving Team Alpha Male has failed to regain the momentum she once had in the sport. Lee, who has gradually improved, while Calvillo might have seen the stardom, bestowed upon her serve as a distraction to her goals. Lee should now be in the mix for big fight, or even a world title bout.