A critical look at the past week in boxing
David Benavidez (left) gave Kyrone Davis a vicious beating. Stephanie Trapp / Showtime
David Benavidez and Jaime Munguia lived up to expectations on Saturday night … and then some.
Benavidez, the best super middleweight not named Canelo Alvarez, gave brave Kyrone Davis a terrible beating until Davis’ corner stopped the fight in Round 7. His ability to consistently break down good opponents is awesome, in the literal sense of the word.
I don’t believe stopping a naturally smaller late replacement proves that the Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) can take down Alvarez but his performance reinforced the notion that he’s a serious threat.
Benavidez, 24, certainly has more all-around ability than Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant, the three fighters Alvarez defeated to become undisputed champion. That includes the heavy hands with which he bludgeoned Davis for six-plus rounds.
If Alvarez is the warrior I believe he is, he’ll choose Benavidez as his opponent for May. He’s clearly the best choice.
Munguia (38-0, 30 KOs) dominated veteran Gabriel Rosado en route to a one-sided decision to remain on track for a shot at a middleweight title.
The 25-year-old Mexican simply outworked Rosado, outpunching him 821 (landing 328) to 551 (154). He never stopped throwing blows, which is a testament to his conditioning. And he clearly is evolving as a boxer under trainer Erik Morales, although he can still be hit.
He also took everything Rosado threw at him, underscoring the former 154-pound titleholder’s durability.
Munguia is the highest-ranked challenger to titleholders Jermall Charlo (WBC) and Demetrius Andrade (WBO), who defends against Jason Quigley on Friday. And he has said he would like a shot at IBF beltholder Gennadiy Golovkin, who fights fellow champ Ryota Murata on Dec. 29.
How would Munguia do against those champions? He’d have a chance against any of them, especially if he and Morales can refine his defense a little bit more.
Davis and Rosado were on the wrong end of one-sided fights, which is never easy to swallow.
Davis’ effort was inspiring. He took the fight on two weeks’ notice and is a small super middleweight yet absorbed a progressively worse beating and continued to fight back until moments before the bout was stopped.
He also had some good moments between the heavy shots he took from Benavidez, countering nicely at times and landing some hard body shots, although none deterred an imposing opponent bent on his destruction.
Davis obviously is a fighter through and through. And I think he demonstrated that he’s a pretty good boxer in spite of the terrible beating he took. The main problem he had was that he was physical overmatched, as many of Benavidez’s opponents are.
I hope Davis gets more big fights, perhaps at 160 pounds. I think he’ll have some success.
Rosado (26-14-1, 15 KOs) was living in dreamworld when he said after his one-sided setback that he deserved the nod. He didn’t do the work required to win, at least against a volume puncher like Munguia.
In other words, Rosado was Rosado, a gutsy fighter who comes up short in his biggest fights. Yes, he upset Bektemir Melikuziev by a third-round knockout in his most-recent fight. That was an aberration, though. And maybe Melikuziev isn’t as good as we thought he was.
This isn’t meant to be a knock on Rosado, who always comes to fight and has performed well enough to remain a contender for a decade. He simply hasn’t been able to reach the pinnacle of the sport. No shame in that.
Should he retire? Well, he’s 35. That’s an option. At the same time, he probably did enough against Munguia to earn another big fight. I doubt we’ve seen the last of this warrior.
Jose Benavidez Jr. (left) drew with Emanuel Torres on Saturday. Stephanie Trapp / Showtime
I celebrate the fact Jose Benavidez Jr. can still fight … but it’s tough for me to watch him.
The older brother of David Benavidez was shot in the leg five years ago, after which it wasn’t clear whether he would be able to fight again. He has managed to do so but no longer has the mobility he had before the shooting, a fact he has acknowledged.
He surprised many by giving pound-for-pound No. 1 Terence Crawford some difficulty in 2018, stepped away from the sport for three years and then returned on his brother’s card Saturday in Phoenix, their hometown.
He was fortunate to emerge with a majority draw in the 10-round bout. Opponent Emanuel Torres was the much busier fighter but Benavidez landed the bigger punches, which resulted in two 95-95 cards. The third judge had Benavidez winning 96-94.
I applaud Benavidez for his effort, especially for overcoming his long layoff and permanent handicap. However, I kept thinking about how much better he would be if both of his legs were 100%.
Alas, he’s making the best of the situation. This is who he is as a fighter now. And he somehow remains a world class fighter, as he demonstrated against both Crawford and Torres.
My dream for him is that he build upon his performance on Saturday, win some fights and earn another shot at a world title. And I imagine him hearing the words “and the new …” after that championship fight.
Benavidez already has pulled off a remarkable comeback. If he can win a world title post-shooting, someone should start thinking about making movie about his life.
What if David Benavidez doesn’t land a fight with Alvarez, who plans to fight next in May? He reeled off a list of potential foes at the post-fight news conference, underscoring earlier comments that he’ll take interim fights if necessary to earn a shot at Alvarez. “I would love to fight [Jermall] Charlo, [Edgar] Berlanga, Caleb Plant still, Callum Smith. If I have to go up to 175, I’ll go up to 175, too. It doesn’t matter. I feel like I got another 10, 12 years left in this professional boxing game so there’s a lot of names to be fought out there. I’ll fight every single one of them.” He doubts Charlo, a respected middleweight titleholder, will fight him. He said in his post-fight interview that Charlo, “Don’t wanna get in the ring with me because he’s a p—y.” How do you really feel, David? … Talk about great stories. Kiko Martinez was a bantamweight titleholder in 2013-14 but could never regain a belt … until Saturday night in Sheffield, England. The 35-year-old Spaniard knocked IBF 126-pound champ Kid Galahad (28-2, 17 KOs) flat on his back with an enormous overhand right in the final seconds of Round 5 and then rendered him unconscious with the same punch seconds into Round 6. That was his fourth – and perhaps final – attempt to win a second major belt, having fallen to Carl Frampton, Leo Santa Cruz and Gary Russell Jr. in previous title fights. Martinez (43-10-2, 30 KOs) is now a two-division titleholder and undoubtedly a legend in Spain.