David Benavidez has long been one of the top prospects in boxing. Even before he turned 21, he was touted not only as a future champion but as a potential superstar.
He finally gets his big opportunity to prove to those who believed in him for all those years that they were correct. He meets Caleb Plant for the interim WBC super middleweight championship at the MGM Grand Garden in Las Vegas.
At BetMGM, Benavidez is a -350 favorite, with Plant at +240. Plant is a vastly improved fighter and is intriguing at better than a 2-1 return.
On paper, they're as even as even can be. Benavidez, 26, is 26-0 with 23 knockouts. He is 6-2 and has a 74½ inch reach. Plant, 30, is 22-1 with 13 knockouts. He's 6-1 with a 74-inch reach. Both have solid jabs. Benavidez is ranked third in CompuBox's jab connect percentage, at 26.3 percent, while Plant is eighth at 24.4 percent.
Each, though, has one distinct statistical advantage. Benavidez is ranked No. 1 in total connect percentage, at 38.4 percent. Plant is good at avoiding being hit. He ranks sixth in fewest total opponent punches landed per round, at 7.3, and is ninth in fewest opponent power punches landed per round, at 5.5.
The question is, what to make of that data? It suggests that Plant is hard to hit and Benavidez is the best at landing his punches.
The first way I interpret it is that it suggests a long fight. Benavidez isn't a one-punch knockout artist, but he does have power and if he lands consistently, especially at anything near his normal rate, he should wear Plant down. And while I like Benavidez to win the fight, I think the -350 is too big of a number to lay. So I'm going to pass on that. But at BetMGM, Benavidez by decision is +400, which is much more favorable to those looking to bet on him.
Plant went 11+ rounds with Canelo Alvarez, who is a harder hitter and better finisher than Benavidez. But I think Benavidez lands enough and generally does enough damage that he'll pull out rounds.
So I'll play Benavidez to win on points at +400. I'll also take the +160 and bet that the fight goes 12 full rounds. In that scenario, if Benavidez wins by decision, I'll have turned my $200 risk into a $560 profit.
Other boxing bets
I'll lay the -150 and bet Chris Colbert to win over Jose Valenzuela. Valenzuela is +110.
I'll lay -225 and bet Lawrence Okolie to win by KO/TKO/Technical Decision or DQ over David Light.