David Benavidez vs. Ronald Ellis: Hunger Games

Two fighters with much to prove will throw down when unbeaten two-time world champ David Benavidez meets Ronald Ellis in a WBC Super Middleweight World Title Eliminator Saturday night on SHOWTIME.

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Benavidez vs Ellis PREVIEW: March 13, 2021

This Saturday, March 13, a young lion itching to regain his throne meets a hungry contender looking to prove his worth in a high-stakes super middleweight matchup with tons on the line.

From Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn and broadcast live on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT), two-time world champ David Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) takes on top contender Ronald Ellis (18-1-2, 12 KOs) in a 12-round WBC Super Middleweight Title eliminator. 

Also on this Premier Boxing Champions event, under-25 lightweight contenders Isaac Cruz and Matías Romero clash in a 12-round battle for a spot on the 135-pound main stage. To open the telecast, Terrell Gausha and Jamontay Clark meet in a 10-round contest in the deep and competitive super welterweight division. 

The Story

David Benavidez lost his WBC super middleweight belt on the scale before his battering of Alexis Angulo this past August. It was the second time the 24-year-old from Phoenix, Arizona lost his belt without being defeated in the ring. That belt, though, is his ticket to being the next-level star his talents suggest he could be. For that reason, this eliminator means everything to him.

A child prodigy and younger brother of welterweight title challenger Jose Benavidez Jr., Benavidez made his pro debut at 16 and became the youngest super middleweight world champion ever at 20. Already regarded as one of the best fighters in the game and a superstar-in-the-making, he wants his title back to leverage his way into the breakthrough fights he needs. 

Like Benavidez, Ronald Ellis is also from a fighting family. The Lynn, Massachusetts native is older brother to well-regarded welterweight contender Rashidi Ellis and talented female boxer Rashida Ellis. 

At 31 years of age, Ellis needs to make a move from the periphery of the title scene to the main stage and this Benavidez fight will provide him with the chance to do just that. With a recent RTD win over an injured Matt Korobov and a victory over the very solid Immanuwel Aleem before that, he’s shown that, when healthy, he can fight his way to the near-top. A win this Saturday would put him among the elite of the talented 168-pound class.

The Stakes

At stake in this WBC title eliminator is an eventual shot at the super middleweight title and, more importantly, a step forward toward big, lucrative fights in a division currently topped by Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.  

The Matchup

Benavidez is widely acknowledged as one of the best all-around talents in the sport and an elite-level offensive fighter. Mature and poised beyond his years, he throws punches in bunches and is impeccable with both technique and placement. He also varies tempo well, throwing shots at differing velocities to push opposition off-kilter. His whole offensive package, augmented by two legitimately heavy hands, make him hard to defend against and difficult to resist.

I’m looking to get an early stoppage against Ellis. Undefeated Two-Time WBC World Super Middleweight Champion - David Benavidez

The two-time world champ is a tall, long fighter who fights like a tall, long fighter, doing his best work at arm’s length, setting everything up with a thudding jab.

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

With Ellis, there’s legitimately a lot to like. At his best, he can do a bit of everything. He can come forward as well as go back, he's athletic, has a good jab, and mixes his punches well. 

His biggest problem has been a frequently injured right hand that has required two surgeries. When he has that weapon in his arsenal, he’s simply at another level; a fighter who can box, but who can also take out an opponent, with eight first-round knockouts over the course of his ten-year pro career. The former national Golden Gloves champ and sparring partner to the likes of Saul Alvarez and Sergey Kovalev hasn’t had problems with the right hand in his last two fights. It’s expected that he’ll be similarly healthy in this coming bout.

Defensively, Ellis uses a high-guard defense up close and relies on his reflexes to stay out of trouble.

The Words

David Benavidez

“I’ve had an amazing camp in Big Bear and this is the strongest I have ever felt so I’m looking to get an early stoppage against Ellis. I’m glad this is a title eliminator and it’s going to be another step to being a world champion once again.”

Ronald Ellis

“It’s a fight but not just any fight. This is the type of fight I have trained for and wanted since I turned pro. He’s going to bring his best on March 13 and that will bring out the best in me.”

The Breakdown

Expect Benavidez to do what he usually does and take the fight immediately to Ellis, backing him up and forcing him into the right distance and pace.

The question with Ellis is whether he has next-level ability and skill or whether he’s just a very good—but not great—fighter. He’ll have that question answered against Benavidez, who will push him in ways he’s never been pushed. 

Benavidez will have the edge in power and overall ability, but there’s room for a focused, on-point Ellis with a healthy right hand to get some things done with his timing and speed game. He’ll have to weather a few storms to get to that point, though, and that’s where much of this bout’s intrigue lies.

This Saturday, we’ll either see a brutal virtuoso offensive performance from one of the top young fighters in the sport or a surprisingly competitive contest between two hungry pros desperate to reach the very top of the super middleweight division. 

For a closer look at Benavidez vs Ellis, check out our fight night page. 

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