The two-time world champion remains undefeated with a breathtaking display in front of hometown fans in Phoenix, stopping Davis in seven rounds Saturday night on PBC on SHOWTIME.
David Benavídez is just 24 and the former two-time WBC super middleweight champion feels he has eyes on him. Those may be special eyes, belonging to Saul “Canelo” Álvarez, the undisputed super middleweight champion and world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter.
Benavídez auditioned for Álvarez in his backyard of Phoenix with a seventh-round stoppage victory over tough late-replacement Kyrone Davis Saturday night at Footprint Center, live on on PBC on SHOWTIME.
“Everybody wants to see me against Canelo, right?” Benavídez said. “I don’t care what his assessment of my fight is but they keep putting these contenders in front of me. My last fight was a WBC Title Eliminator and that’s why I’m here holding my belts. They need to give me the opportunity. I’ll go through anybody. Whoever they want me to go through. If (Jermall) Charlo wants it, he can get it too. But he doesn’t want to get in the ring with me.”
Benavidez used his height (6-foot ½ to 5-10) and reach (74½ to 73) advantage over Davis with great effectiveness in the opening round. He patiently stalked the smaller, faster Davis, jabbing at his midsection, and occasionally landing a shot up top.
In the second, Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) polished off Davis against the ropes, only to have Davis shove him off in the last :10 of the round. In the third, a Benavidez left hook to the body got Davis’ attention, and by the sixth, Benavidez looked like he was in the brink of being stopped.
“That was a great performance on my end,” Benavidez said. “A lot of courage by Kyrone. A lot of respect to him and his team. He’s a tough dude. I came out here to give the fans a good fight and we both left it all out in the ring.”
In the last half to the sixth, Benavidez had Davis (16-3-1, 6 KOs) trapped against the ropes, taking left hooks to the body, and right uppercuts. Davis tried to fire back, though didn’t have the firepower to keep Benavidez off of him.
Davis, who replaced former IBF titlist Jose Uzcategui after the former IBF titlist fell out when he tested positive for a banned substance, kept shaking his head, as Benavidez came forward, nailing him with uppercuts.
“It was tough but the thing about me is that I have so much conditioning that I’m going to keep going until he eventually stops,” Benavidez said. “That’s what eventually happens. They tend to give up. I know that I don’t have that one-punch knockout power but I’m going to be ready to get you every single round.
“He never hurt me. He has good power but he never hurt me. You can improve in every area. I’m looking to improve in every area. I’m 24 years old so I’m going to continue working. I can get better. I’m going to keep working until I become the best.”
Between the sixth and seventh round, Davis’ trainer, Stephen “Breadman” Edwards gave Davis another round, fearful he was taking too much punishment. “If you don’t give me more this round, I’m going to stop the fight, I can’t watch you get hurt,” Edwards told him.
Davis was promptly greeted by a Benavidez left hook to the body in the seventh. With 2:20 left in the round, Benavidez plowed a series of body shots off of Davis’ ribs and midsection.
By then, Edwards saw enough and wisely threw in the towel to end it at :48 of the seventh.
“I feel okay,” Davis said. “I’m a little disappointed. I wish I could have pulled out the victory. I don’t like losing. I came in on two weeks’ notice. Shame on Uzcategui for being on steroids. I had to come in on short notice but I fought like a warrior.
“I’m living my dream. I love coming out here and putting on a great show. Fighting is in my blood. I was raised like this. When they called me and said I’d be fighting one of the top dudes in the division, how the hell am I going to pass that up? I came out here and fought my ass off and I did the best that I could. Maybe one time we can do it again.
“[Breadman] is my guy. I’m upset, but not at him. If he wanted to stop the fight and protect me, I understand. This is like my second father.”
Jose Benavídez Jr.’s return results in a majority draw
Jose Benavídez Jr. was looking for a better homecoming upon his return to the ring after a 37-month hiatus.
The former welterweight contender didn’t exactly receive what he wanted, after fighting to a 10-round majority draw in a super welterweight clash with Argentina’s Francisco Emanuel Torres (17-3-1, 5 KOs) in the co-feature.
Judge Rocky Taylor scored it 96-94 for Benavídez, countered by 95-95 scores from judges Dennis O’Connell and Chris Wilson.
“I beat him every round, he was just running,” Benavídez said. “I don’t know how I got a draw. We can run it back. I beat him. I thought I beat him. He kept running. He didn’t want to stay in the pocket. I can’t do anything about the judges’ decisions. I felt good. He just kept holding. I beat him every round. What can I do?
“I beat him. I beat him. He wasn’t hitting me hard. He just kept holding. It’s all good. My leg is good. I’m good. I’ll go back and train. Next time I’d stop him if he doesn’t run.”
Torres started well. He used his jab and landed a few shots to the body. Benavídez (27-1-1, 18 KOs) came forward, though within the first minute of the fight, Torres pelted him with a flurry to the face. Benavídez swung wildly a few times, and it was evident some rust had to be busted loose from his three-year layoff.
In the second, Benavídez began finding his range. He connected on a few left hooks midway through the round. Benavídez, however, would often engage, land a few shots, then back away. With :56 left in the second, Benavídez landed another left hook that backed up Torres.
With 1:20 left in the third, Benavídez tagged Torres with right to the chin, which momentarily snapped back Torres’ head. In the last :20, Benavídez landed a quick combination and closed the round strong, with Torres against the ropes.
Torres started the fourth off well and began countering Benavídez each time he approached Torres. Midway through the fourth, Benavídez went southpaw, and at times squared up, making himself a far easier target to hit. The times Benavídez did let his hands go in the fourth, he missed wildly.
At the start of the fifth, Benavídez once again went on to the attack. He missed, however, on most of his punches. A big key was that Benavídez was scoring, while Torres was in a defensive mode avoiding Benavídez’s shots. As the fifth progressed, Torres began picking up his activity. He tried setting up a right uppercut but would mostly catch Benavídez’s gloves or forearms.
During the times Torres got caught on the ropes, he had trouble. It’s a lesson he seemed to learn in the sixth, because he stayed in the center of the ring and bouncing combinations off of Benavídez, the most effective of which was a Torres right cross with :29 remaining in the sixth.
By the eighth, Torres established himself of being more active. But Benavídez kept landing sweeping rights to the body, and he was clearly the crowd favorite. Every time Benavídez threw a combination, whether it was hit or miss, still drew a reaction.
In the 10th, Torres’ jab was very effective, while Benavídez continued his stalking tactics, though hardly threw a punch.
“I felt good,” Benavídez said. “A little rusty after three years. It was a good fight, (Torres) had an awkward style. He took hard shots and I give him respect. I thank him for having given me the opportunity to fight him. I gotta go back to the gym now. Can’t leave it up to the judges next time.”
ShoStats confirmed that Torres was the more active fighter, landing 135/612 (22%) total punches to Benavídez’s 122/375 (33%). That punch stats also revealed Benavídez landed more than double the body shots Torres did (64/27).
“You can hear from the crowd,” Torres said. “I felt I won the fight. As a visitor, I came here to his backyard and they still gave it a draw. Imagine if this would have been in Buenos Aires. I definitely want the rematch. Let’s see what my management team says but I definitely want it.”
For a closer look at Benavídez vs Davis, check out our fight night page.