One of the best matchups of the year takes place Saturday night as two undefeated, two-time world champions square off in the main event of a PBC on SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View.
Whenever a big fight is made, prognosticators, be they well-seasoned boxing experts or simply fans, do not hesitate to offer their thoughts on how it will all play out. Those analyses can run the gamut of detailed, technical intricacies applying to one of the fighters in stark contrast to the seeming simplicity of the other’s obvious physical superiorities.
To hear at least one knowledgeable observer tell it, the pairing of David Benavidez and Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade, for Benavidez’s WBC Interim Super Middleweight World Title, might sound like a pugilistic contrast of Dr. Robert Oppenheimer engaging in debate with, say, General George Patton to determine if mind can or cannot overcome matter in the ring. The former comes in the form of a veteran, cagey, two-division veteran world champion (Andrade) pitting his presumably more varied skill set against the blunt-force trauma of a younger, harder-hitting knockout artist (Benavidez) who makes no secret of his intention to inflict as much damage as possible inside the ropes.
Al Bernstein, the International Boxing Hall of Fame broadcaster, describes the 27-year-old Benavidez (27-0, 23 KOs) as “a volume punching machine when he gets rolling,” a virtual stylistic opposite of the 35-year-old Andrade (32-0, 19 KOs), whom the veteran Showtime analyst describes as perhaps “as clever a fighter as there is in the sport. He wants to use his guile to walk Benavidez into traps so he can land his excellent step-back left hand.”
But this post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas matchup might be even more of a holiday treat for fight aficionados given what might lie beyond for the victor in Saturday night’s SHOWTIME Pay Per View telecast (8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT) from the Michelob Ultra Events Center in Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay, which also includes an intriguing co-main event in which WBC Middleweight World Champion Jermall Charlo (32-0, 22 KOs) ends a 2½-year absence from the ring with a non-title, 10-round bout against David Benavidez’s older brother, Jose Benavidez Jr. (28-2-1 19 KOs).
Should the favored David Benavidez solve the riddle that is always posed by Andrade, and especially if he does so convincingly, he would become the WBC’s mandatory contender for Undisputed Super Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs), boxing’s most marketable draw. Andrade, should he pull off the upset, might also rate consideration for that coveted gig, although Alvarez seemingly is not interested in making that fight, with Benavidez and WBA light heavyweight titlist Dmitry Bivol (21-0, 11 KOs), who defeated Alvarez by unanimous decision on May 7, 2022, seemingly the Mexican superstar’s most appealing possible opponents during Cinco de Mayo weekend in 2024.
Benavidez offered his thoughts on a much-desired go at Alvarez after he scored a hard-fought unanimous decision over former IBF super middleweight champ Caleb Plant on March 25 of this year.
“I don’t think Canelo is trying to avoid me,” Benavidez said. “I just feel he has a lot of options. But now the fans are calling for this fight, the legends are calling for this fight, so let’s make it happen.”
“ I’m going to find a way to beat his ass. ” Undefeated WBC Interim Super Middleweight World Champion - David Benavidez
It is axiomatic in boxing that even the most desirable superfights can be derailed, at least temporarily and sometimes permanently, by fighters who make the mistake of looking past the opponent more immediately in front of them, and especially if that opponent has so full a trick bag as does Andrade, who supplements his ring savvy with a fair amount of pop on his punches.
“I wouldn’t be 32 and 0, with 19 knockouts, if I couldn’t fight,” Andrade said during a SHOWTIME All-Access episode previewing his showdown with Benavidez. “Yeah, maybe not every fight was whatever, but nobody’s giving me the opportunity to be showcased. This is going to be a showcase fight.”
Despite the depiction of Andrade, a gold medalist at the 2007 World Amateur Championships and a 2008 USA Olympian in Beijing, as a cutie who mainly relies on his elusiveness, he can effectively bang as the situation dictates. And Benavidez is not merely a come-forward slugger, even if his self-description of his most favorable attributes suggests an affinity for engaging at close quarters where he feels he is especially effective.
“He’s not an easy opponent,” Benavidez said of Andrade during Tuesday’s final press conference. “He’s very technical, has a very good defense. But I always find a way to win, and Saturday isn’t going to be no different. I’m going to find a way to beat his ass. I send all of my opponents to the hospital.
“I’m going to strike as soon as I get the opportunity to strike. I’m going to try to end it as early as I can because I want to show the people that I am the best fighter and I will (get) a knockout. That is what the fans want to see. They want to see knockouts.”
Previously tagged with nicknames of “The Red Flag” and “The Boogeyman,” Benavidez has since been labeled the “Mexican Monster” by no less a wrecking ball than former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson. The Phoenix native of Mexican descent figures his recognition by Tyson as a figurative successor is high praise indeed.
Can one main-event fighter with a champion’s resume impose his will upon the other? Can either adapt if necessary to beat the other guy at his own game? Contrasting styles are the Rubik’s Cube of boxing, obliging participants to think as well as to act, and therein lies much of the reason why Benavidez-Andrade is such an intriguing attraction.
Intriguing, too, is the bout pitting Charlo against Jose Benavidez Jr., which comes cloaked in mutual animosity, if their expletive-trading remarks at the final press conference is any indication.
“I’m here, baby, I’m back,” said Charlo, who cited mental health issues as his reason for his extended period of inactivity. “(Benavidez Jr.) is just a steppingstone. I’m going to step on him super-hard. I’m going to crush him.”
Benavidez Jr. figured his fight with Charlo would serve as a tasty appetizer before his younger brother follows up with the entrée.
“It’s going to be a good night for the whole Benavidez family,” Jose predicted.
For a closer look at Benavidez vs Andrade, check out our fight night page.