DEPENDING on a boxer’s mindset, being linked with a fight against Saul “Canelo” Alvarez can be seen as either motivation or a distraction, particularly if, before reaching boxing’s premier cash cow, you have to first overcome a different opponent with their own threat and ambitions.
This is the problem – admittedly, a nice one to have – currently facing super-middleweight contender David Benavidez, who, at 27-0 (23), has emerged as a potential Alvarez opponent next year, yet must first get past Demetrius Andrade, 32-0 (19), on November 25 in Las Vegas.
Far from a routine fight, Benavidez knows the danger Andrade is likely to present and is therefore more determined than usual to push all the talk of Canelo to the back of his mind. Andrade, after all, is unbeaten in his own right and, although coming up from middleweight, has long been viewed as a fighter whose danger has led to many looking the other way when offered the chance to fight him. It is perhaps for this reason the southpaw’s career has to date been one of the low-key variety and why it is only now, at the age of 35, he is getting his shot on the big stage.
“This is definitely the biggest fight of my career,” said Benavidez at Thursday’s (October 12) press conference. “I give Demetrius a lot of props. He’s a great fighter and a lot of people have been ducking him for a long time.
“Nobody wanted to give him the opportunity but now we have come together and we have the opportunity to make a great fight happen. These are the fights I want. I want to make my own lane and face the best. Andrade is one of the best in this weight class.
“He’s a world-class fighter and he’s not going to give me an easy fight at all. He’s hungry for the fight so that’s going to make for a great fight and the fans are going to be the ones who win. He’s a very technical fighter. He’s a champion in two different weight classes (super-welterweight and middleweight). When you get a fighter like this, it’s 50-50. He’s a threat to anybody. A lot of people wouldn’t take the fight with him because they know he’s a problem. But for me, I want to be the best.
“I know this isn’t going to be an easy fight but, at the end of the day, it’s going to bring the best out of me. I’m a monster for a reason.”
Key to ensuring there are no pre-fight distractions, one would expect Benavidez to continue to talk up the threat of Andrade in the coming weeks, especially whenever the C-word is thrown at him by reporters or those whose interest in Benavidez vs. Andrade isn’t what it should be.
“I’m not worried about Canelo Alvarez,” Benavidez said. “I’m worried about Demetrius Andrade. I definitely believe the winner of this fight is the best super-middleweight in the world.”