Remember in Wayne’s World when Garth hacks into the mainframe or whatever and reroutes a satellite signal to beam Crucial Taunt’s performance directly into Frankie Sharp’s limousine so that he’ll sign them to Sharp Records and Cassandra will continue porking Wayne? Stay with me here. Now, picture this scene as a metaphor for last night’s Showtime Championship Boxing card only in this scenario Crucial Taunt is David Benavidez, Frankie Sharp (aka Mr. Big) is Canelo Alvarez. Somehow Alice Cooper is mixed up in both storylines but we’ll deal with that later.
It remains to be seen what type of numbers the David Benavidez-Kyrone Davis fight ended up pulling in, but ultimately it doesn’t matter. This night was for one particular set of eyes and one particular set of eyes only: Canelo’s.
There’s an art to lobbying for a big fight. One obviously has to win but looking too good in the process could scare your meal ticket away. However, fail to impress altogether and you’re right back to the end of the line with the rest of the slobs. It’s a tough needle to thread. You must earn your spot, free of as many caveats and asterisks as possible, while simultaneously showing reverence for your future benefactor and waiting patiently for them to usher you into the clubhouse.
Or you can just kick the fucking door down and walk right in.
This appears to be the tactic of choice for David Benavidez.
Benavidez (25-0, 22 KO) has separated himself from the logjam of potential suitors lined up at the Alvarez ATM. There’s a number of big names from 160-175 pounds vying for the attention of the cinnamon one but most, or all, lack the full package of prerequisites necessary to justify the life-changing payday that a fight with Canelo bestows. Some are too young, some too old. Others are too big, the rest too small. Some just plain stink. But Benavidez has the perfect goldilocks combination of size, skill and youth that feels juuuuust right.
Sporting an undefeated record and eye-popping power that has seen him stop his last five opponents — four of them for the first time in their careers — the 24 year-old Benavidez lacks the physique of the other more shredded fighters in and around his division. A pudgy midsection and undefined arms give him a Kelly Pavlik-like appearance that could easily be mistaken for a suburban dad or an alcoholic gym teacher. But boxing isn’t crossfit and Benavidez’s unassuming build belies a ferocious puncher that knows how to deploy his weapons. At his best, he’s capable of making anyone across the ring from him disappear. At his worst, issues with the scale and other, ahem, substances, can render him too high of a risk for the big stage.
As Benavidez stepped into the ring on Saturday night at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona on a Showtime televised card against late-sub Kyrone Davis (16-3-1, 6 KO) he aimed to prove that any personal and professional issues were a thing of the past. With a replay of last week’s Canelo-Plant fight as his lead-in, the table was entirely set for Benavidez to cement himself as Canelo’s next challenger. All he had to do was finish his meal in impressive fashion. After his systematic dismantling of Davis, it’s hard to say he did anything other than just that.
The fight would go exactly how a fight between two competitors of this caliber should go. Davis was game, as he always is, while Benavidez was ruthless, as he too always is. There’s not a lot to dissect other than one man dishing out hellacious punishment and another man taking it with a smile until his corner put an end to the carnage, as Davis’s did 48 seconds into round 7.
The numbers reflected the one-sided nature of the onslaught as Benavidez landed 181 punches in just over 18 minutes while Davis managed just 54. Punch stats don’t always tell the whole story but here they do. As gutsy as Davis was, getting out-landed 3.5 to 1 is generally pretty indisputable evidence of an ass kicking.
After the fight, Benavidez called out Canelo, as everyone expected he would. At this point, there’s nothing left for him to do to make his case. Sure, he could fight Caleb Plant or Daniel Jacobs or one of the Charlos — though I can’t remember which is which and I’m too lazy to look it up — but why? The time is now.
Canelo is coming off fights against Plant, Billy Joe Saunders, Avni Yildirim, Callum Smith, Daniel Jacobs, a severely burnt out Sergey Kovalev and Rocky fucking Fielding. Not exactly a murderer’s row of punchers. Benavidez would be the heaviest-handed opponent he’s faced since GGG back in 2018 and he’s by no means just a one-dimensional slugger. Canelo is the consensus pound-for-pound king for a reason but Benavidez would only be the slightest of underdogs, should the fight materialize.
People like to point out that there’s levels to this game, and that’s certainly true. Canelo has nearly twice as many knockouts as Benavidez has fights. He’s clearly on a different level… for now. As this sport has shown us countless times, it’s far easier to get to the next level than it is to stay there.
Benavidez has piped his audition tape directly into Mr. Big’s limo and the head honcho has undoubtedly heard it. Now it’s time to make a record.
Party on, Wayne.
(Photo by Stephanie Trapp for Showtime Boxing)