David Benavidez’ weight issues may be a blessing
While some call former super middleweight champion David Benavidez unprofessional for missing weight ahead of his one-sided victory over Roamer Alexis Angulo Saturday night, it just might be the best thing for the rest of the super middleweight division.
Because the only thing that can stop David from his goal of unification is himself.
The super middleweight division is loaded with talent. Calum Smith, Caleb Plant, Billy Joe Saunders and Canelo Alvarez would present challenges to Benavidez, but his combination of punching power, ability to efficiently land combinations and knowledge of how to effectively use height and reach would see him past any of those champions and any other top contenders.
This belief is not the result of his impressive victory over a durable, but somewhat limited, Angulo. Through each of his 23 fights, Benavidez has shown the skill, accuracy and power to rule the division — further illustrated by 20 of his 23 wins coming by knockout. His ability to win tough fights, such as his split decision victory over Ronald Gavril in 2017 and his easier unanimous decision win in an immediate rematch shows he recognizes the importance of improving and has the discipline to do so.
Where his discipline may be lacking is outside of the ring. After being stripped of the World Boxing Council (WBC) title in 2018 for his use of benzoylecgonine, reportedly one of the main ingredients in cocaine, he lost the belt again last week after weighing in above the 168-pound super middleweight limit.
While he seems to have bounced back from his 2018 slip-up, missing weight is not acceptable and is self-defeating. Benavidez has said multiple times he wants to capture every belt in the super middleweight division, but if he can’t make 168 pounds, he can’t do that. At 23, his body may have outgrown the division. The COVID-19 pandemic may have made training more difficult as well. Both of those issues are really outside of his control. However, it doesn’t serve him well to continue fighting in a division he has outgrown.
While a jump up to light heavyweight may mean a longer trek to universal recognition as the best in the world, the ability to attempt the goal without being hindered by the weight would relieve Benavidez of one challenge and allow him to focus fully on boxing.
Fans would then see the best Benavidez, because there’s no denying his top-notch skill inside a boxing ring. Fully reaching his potential, however, requires him to make the correct decisions outside of it.
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