David Benavidez shrugs off missing out on Canelo sweepstakes ahead of Ronald Ellis bout

Kevin Iole
·Combat columnist
·4-min read

Eddy Reynoso is not only a great trainer, but he has a keen sense of boxing history. The veteran trainer is the man responsible for Canelo Alvarez’s bid to become the undisputed super middleweight champion.

Alvarez would become the first Mexican to hold all four sanctioning body belts if he picks up the WBO and IBF belts, currently held by Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant, respectively.

The man who might represent the biggest threat to Alvarez’s goal to unify at super middleweight, though, won’t get the shot, and it has nothing to do with Alvarez being fearful of him.

David Benavidez is 23-0 with 20 KOs, but is a former WBC 168-pound champion because he missed weight his last time out. He wound up stopping Alexis Angulo after 10 lopsided rounds, but because he’d missed weight by 2 3/4 pounds, the belt was only at stake for Angulo.

Benavidez is only 24, and will have a lot of opportunities at mega-fights. But losing out on a match with Alvarez, not only the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world but the biggest draw in the sport, hurt.

Resilience, though, comes with being young, and Benavidez has been able to shrug off whatever disappointment came when he failed to make weight.

“It doesn’t make it burn at all,” Benavidez said of missing out on the opportunity to be in the mix to fight Alvarez. “The thing that matters to me in my career is that I’m working extremely hard. There are still a lot of opportunities in front of me. I just turned 24 years old and I feel I have at least 10, 12 years left in boxing. I have enough time. Right now, what I need to do is to give the fans the performances they want to see and the stoppages they want to see.”

He’ll get the opportunity to do that Saturday (9 p.m. ET, Showtime) when he challenges Ronald Ellis — a one-time Alvarez sparring partner — at the Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 28: Referee Thomas Taylor with David Benavidez in the ring after defeating Anthony Dirrell (not  pictured) after a corner stoppage in their WBC Super Middleweight Championship fight at Staples Center on September 28, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
David Benavidez, shown here after a September 2019 win over Anthony Dirrell, lost his world title on the scale in August due to a botched weight cut. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)

The message that Benavidez wants to get out, though, is that he didn’t miss weight against Angulo because he was snacking between training sessions or got lazy.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Showtime created a bubble for its shows at Mohegan Sun. Benavidez hadn’t been in it prior to fighting Angulo and didn’t have what he needed when he got there to cut weight.

Every fighter faced the same issue, but Benavidez is a big guy and, because he’s been fighting professionally since he was 16, has his way of shedding the weight down.

“It affected me a lot, because the last week is the most crucial week [of a weight cut],” Benavidez said of being in the bubble for the first time. “You have to work. You have to put more hours in the gym. You need to be outside a little longer, and all of these elements were taken away. The thing that threw me off the most is that once we got there, we had to quarantine for two days. After when you’re allowed to leave — we got there on Monday and were allow to leave [our rooms] on Wednesday — we were only able to go to the gym.

“They had treadmills and an elliptical machine there, but we were only able to use that for an hour. We had to make a lot of adjustments. Now, I know how everything works. I know the protocols and I’m more aware of things.”

More than a week before the fight, Benavidez was 171 pounds, compared to 175 on the Monday before his fight with Angulo.

So now, he doesn’t need to worry about missing weight. He put a photo on social media Tuesday that shows he already weighs 168 pounds. He’s eager to get back in and remind everyone why many consider him one of the best fighters under 25 in the world.

“I’m extremely happy with how camp’s went and the only thing left to do is put on a great performance and get a great stoppage victory,” Benavidez said.

He won’t be in the Alvarez sweepstakes immediately, but Alvarez is a fierce competitor. He fights Saunders on May 8 and if he wins, will face Plant in the fall.

If Alvarez becomes undisputed, he’d undoubtedly seek to fight the best available opponent in his first defense.

There would be no one better at that stage than a former two-time champion who, if things go his way, would still be undefeated.

This is one of those cases for Benavidez where time truly will heal all wounds.

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