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Benavidez to turn pro on Jan. 16

06
Jan

Jose Benavidez, the 17-year-old amateur prospect that Freddie Roach has been raving about for months, will turn pro on January 16, the three-time BWAA trainer of the year told RingTV.com.

Benavidez, the 2009 national Golden Gloves champ at 141 pounds, signed a promotional deal with Top Rank that guarantees eight televised fights in 2010, according to Roach.

The first televised bout might be his pro debut, a scheduled four-round junior welterweight bout on the undercard of the Fox Sports Net-televised Vanes Martirosyan-Kassim Ouma main event at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

“We're going to try to get Jose's fight on air in some shape or form,” Top Rank matchmaker Brad Goodman told RingTV.com. “We might schedule it with the two co-features, it could be a swing bout if one of those (fights) end early, or we might tape it and show highlights during the broadcast.”

Benavidez has already begun to make a name for himself among hardcore fight fans thanks to stories of his sparring session at the Wild Card Boxing Club and other Southern California gyms. The rangy 5-foot-11 boxer-puncher has reportedly held his own in sparring sessions with 140-pound titleholders Timothy Bradley and Amir Khan.

His opponent on Jan. 16, Matthew Ellis, a 1-1 welterweight from Milwaukee, Wis., won't be near as formidable as those two junior welterweight contenders.

“We all know the kid can fight,” said Goodman. “There was no need to find an 0-3 guy, but we didn't want to put him in with a guy with 10 or 12 fights, either. We have to remember that he's still a baby.”

Perhaps so, but Benavidez is a precocious-enough “tyke” that the Nevada State Athletic Commission cleared him to fight even though Nevada law stipulates that an individual must be at least 18 years old to get a professional boxer's license.

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