David Benavídez vs. Kyrone Davis: A Most Violent Homecoming

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Undefeated two-time champ Benavídez faces a stern test in Davis when he returns to his native Phoenix Saturday night in a PBC on SHOWTIME main event.

As the super middleweights make headlines, one of the division’s most entertaining and accomplished warriors makes his return to the ring.

This Saturday, November 13, unbeaten two-time world champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez (24-0, 21 KOs) returns home to Phoenix for a 10-round super middleweight clash against contender Kyrone Davis (16-2-1, 6 KOs) in a Premier Boxing Champions event from Footprint Center.

Benavídez was originally scheduled to face former world champion Jose Uzcátegui, who was removed from the bout due to a failed pre-fight drug test.

The bout will be televised on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT) and will feature José Benavídez Jr., older brother of David, against Argentina’s Francisco Emanuel Torres in a 10-round super welterweight contest.

The Story

At 24 years of age, David Benavídez has already established a reputation as an elite in the 168-pound class.

In 2017, a 20-year-old Benavídez became the youngest fighter to ever win a super middleweight world championship when he beat Ronald Gavril for the vacant WBC title. A year later, however, he was stripped of his title after testing positive for the banned substance benzoylecgonine, the primary ingredient in cocaine. 

After recapturing that title in a scintillating stoppage of Anthony Dirrell eighteen months later, he would again lose his belt without losing the fight when he couldn’t make weight for his first defense against Roamer Alexis Angulo. 

The one-time child prodigy is now focused on reclaiming what he’s lost and fighting his way to the very top of the division. A bout with COVID-19 in August pushed his ring return to this later date, but a re-energized Benavídez says that the setback allowed him even more time to prepare and motivate himself.

The 26-year-old Kyrone Davis, a native of Monmouth, N.J., was a three-time national champ as an amateur and an alternate in the 2016 Olympic games.

After starting his pro career with a 10-0 record, he ran into his first defeat against Junior Castillo in 2016 and his second loss two years later against Patrick Day. Since then, Davis is 3-0-1.

High-water mark performances in his last two bouts, a split-draw with Anthony Dirrell in February and a unanimous decision victory over Martez McGregor in September, give reason to believe that Davis is entering his prime as a fighter.

A win on Saturday gives him Benavídez’s spot as top dog of the title contenders at 168.

The Stakes

The winner of this bout becomes a top contender to unified super middleweight champ Saul “Canelo” Álvarez.

The Matchup

Offensively, Benavídez is one of the very best in the sport. Mature and poised beyond his years, he has a stiff jab and throws combinations with fluidity, mixing velocity and placement in waves of aggression that keep opposition on the defensive.

Tall and long, he does his best work at arm’s length, but is also adept at fighting inside where he punishes the body with digging shots.

Benavídez’s defensive game is underrated. He moves his head well, rolls with punches, and picks off incoming shots with his gloves and arms.

I'm very excited to come back to my city of Phoenix, Arizona and give the people a great fight. Undefeated Two-Time Super Middleweight Champion David Benavídez

Davis is a confident, aggression-minded fighter who likes to put pressure on opponents. In his bout with Anthony Dirrell, however, he showed another side of his abilities, displaying more caution and using more movement than normal.

Although lacking in one-punch power, he has decent pop and earns respect with solid work to both the head and body. 

On defense, Davis can be touched and hurt. In pursuit of his own offense, there are openings for him to be countered. These liabilities have become less glaring in recent bouts, but they still exist nonetheless.

The Words

David Benavídez

“I like to go out there and leave no doubts in anyone's mind that I'm the best, against whoever it may be. I love to go out there and stop people. I'm very excited to come back to my city of Phoenix, Arizona and give the people a great fight.”

Kyrone Davis

“Sometimes with stepping-stones, you trip. We’ve seen it happen plenty of times. My job is to make sure Saturday night isn’t his night. I’m looking to have a good time and put my all into it. This is going to be a world class fight. I’m coming to fight and I’m coming to win.”

The Breakdown

Benavídez-Davis will occur a week after Canelo Álvarez stopped Caleb Plant to become the undisputed super middleweight champ. It’s unavoidable that the winner’s performance will be measured against Canelo’s. 

In Benavídez’s specific case, an impressive win this Saturday will be seen as a justification of sorts for a shot at Álvarez. So, expect an especially spirited effort and a more stressful evening for the young man as well, as he also fights in front of his Phoenix fans for the first time since 2015.

Davis will be outgunned in this contest and will have to show some next-level guile—not usually part of his repertoire. He showed glimpses of more nuance against Dirrell, but Saturday, it’ll be absolutely essential for him to change things up significantly. If he walks to Benavídez and tries to will his way through a firefight, things could get ugly. 

In Davis’ favor, though, is the fact that all of the pressure will be on his opponent. Although the 24-year-old Benavídez says he feels no added pressure for this homecoming fight, there will be a lot on his plate. Any slippage in his focus and execution will be to the benefit of the underdog. 

The story of Benavídez-Davis will be centered around Benavídez showcasing his prodigious abilities in front of a raucous hometown crowd, with a potential mega-fight against Canelo Álvarez on the horizon. But strange things sometimes happen when a rising star is looking too far ahead and not entirely focused on the task at hand.

For a closer look at Benavídez vs Davis, check out our fight night page. 

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