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David Benavidez didn’t get A level foe he wanted, but he’s excited about Jose Uzcategui match

29
Jul

It’s not the level of foe he’s been publicly agitating for, but it looks like David Benavidez, the 24 year old super middleweight with a 24-0 pro record, is pleased with his next in-ring assignment. The Phoenix, Arizona native will take on Jose Uzcategui Saturday, August 28, and the tussle will unfold at the Footprint Center in Phoenix.

Benavidez last gloved up in March, when he downed Ronald Ellis, and the super middleweight hard hitter advocated for himself to fight bigger names than the Venezuelan pugilist Uzcategui, who is 3-2 in his last five.

Some people might protest that COVID has messed things up. But the excess of “gimme” fights, or bouts where the A side is a real heavy favorite, has been the norm way before the pandemic.

Give me Canelo, or give me Caleb Plant, let me at the bigger dogs, Benavidez has proclaimed. The 30-4 Uzcategui is not, to be candid, a “bigger dog” in the space. He’s not in the RING top ten at 168, and has lost step-up fights to Matt Korobov and Caleb Plant, while going 1-2 against Andre Dirrell in 2017 and 2018.

RING has Carlos Gongora at 10, Fedor Chudinov 9, Daniel Jacobs 8, David Lemieux 7, John Ryder 6, Anthony Dirrell 5, and Billy Joe Saunders at No. 4.

Uzcategui owned the IFB 168 strap for a spell, after downing Dirrell, but lost it in his first defense, to Plant. He triumphed in his last two bouts, but against journeymen. Regardless, even if this is another match with a clear A side and a heavy-underdog B sider, Benavidez seems jazzed about the event. See below his Instagram post which went up after this Premier Boxing Champions/Showtime presentation got announced:

The tango is being advertised as a “WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator,” and it will be on the Showtime platform.

Part of David’s enthusiasm level can be credited to the fact that big bro Jose Benavidez (27-1), age 29, will be on the card, meeting Argentine Francisco Emanuel Torres. David turned pro as a teen in 2013 and he last plied his trade for Phoenix-area patrons in 2015. Jose fought on that same card, besting Jorge Paez Jr. In his last outing, in October 2018, Jose Benavidez got stopped in round 12 by Terence Crawford.

“I’m super excited to fight in front of my hometown fans,” David Benavídez said in a release which went out Thursday around lunch time. “It’s a dream come true for me to come back home as a two-time world champion. I’m training for Uzcategui like he’s a world champ because he has a lot of experience and he’s a hungry fighter. I know that he needs this win, but I won’t let that happen. I’m staying dedicated and motivated to win on August 28 on Showtime and I want to look impressive doing it in order to get even bigger and better fights in the future.”

Benavidez strikes me as a throwback type. I bet he’d like to be as busy as Duran was when he was 24. The Panamanian legend fought seven times in 1975, when he was 24 years old.

Uzcategui did a good job to make this main event seem important in the release. “I’m excited to be back on the big stage for this fight,” said the 30 year old Uzcategui. “I know what I’m up against with Benavídez. He’s a great fighter, and that’s my biggest motivation. This is going to be a war and I can’t wait to give the people a great fight. Both of us come to brawl, so this is going to be a classic on August 28.”

Sampson Boxing and TGB Promotions will team up to put the card together.

My Three Cents: Yes, it has to be said, I feel frustrated by the fact that both Plant and Benavidez are under the same banner, of Haymon Boxing, but haven’t faced each other. Sure, you can note that this sort of avoidance is in place all over the map in boxing, and you’d be right. But Plant has been a heavy favorite in his last five matches, and he fights really infrequently (once in 2018, twice in 2019, once in 2020, and once so far in 2021). What is he waiting for, what is everyone waiting for, don’t these boxers want to test themselves against foes who are perceived to be at their level? It is no mystery why boxing has been treading water, at best, for the last X number of years when the athletes who are supposed to be among the best in their field are put into and agree to fight a constant diet of underdogs, even though they fight far less frequently than the top dogs of prior eras did. Boxing will stay right in this same place, or continue to wither because of the timid matchmaking, unless fans and media start agitating more forcefully for main events that are not so often foregone conclusions.