David Benavidez regains WBC super middle title

By Rocky Morales at ringside
Photos: Sumio Yamada

Super middleweight David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez (22-0, 19 KOs) regained the WBC 168-pound title with a bloody ninth round TKO over current champion Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell (33-2-1, 24 KOs) on Saturday night at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
Benavidez Dirrell015
After a tactical few opening rounds, Benavidez started to take control by the fifth round with his relentless stalking and power punching. Dirrell tried his best to return fire but Benavidez gleefully walked through Dirrell’s punches.

In the sixth round, a punch from Benavidez opened up a bad cut in the right eyelid of Dirrell. Blood would drip for the remainder of the fight and with Dirrell likely behind on the scorecards, he had no choice but to fight onward.

The seventh and eight rounds belonged to Benavidez as he started to put the hurt on Dirrell with his power punches.

With Dirrell taking more punishment in the ninth round, midway through the round, Dirrell’s corner did the right thing and stopped the fight to save their fighter from unnecessary further punishment. Time was 1:39.

With the victory, Benavidez regains the WBC title that was stripped from him after testing positive for cocaine in September 2018 that also led to a four month suspension. Moreover, Benavidez appears to be a huge threat to any other super middleweight champion out there, whether Callum Smith, Billy Joe Saunders or fellow PBC fighter, Caleb Plant.

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  • The Dirrell brothers ended up not living up to expectations. Yes, they won world titles but just never became the greats that they seemed to be.

      • Well, not legitimately. But he did win an IBF one, might have even been some interim one. Beat the Venezuelan fighter with a disqualification, but then lost that with a storage to the same opponent. The one who later lost to Plant.

    • Horrible comment. Andre was supposed to be the better of the two but was never the same after a brutal foul by Abraham. Anthony has been great. It was amazing both brothers accomplished what they did. 168 has been a hard division to get noticed as a great and they both didn’t have the body types to move up.

  • Although I never wager on boxing because I just want to enjoy a fight for what it is and allow myself to root for someone putting together a major effort even if I had bet against them, The side of me that likes to gamble saw Benavidez as being too much for Dirrell . * but then again I thought I was a know-it-all predicting Anthony Joshua was going to make quick work of Andy Ruiz … live and learn.

  • Impressive performance by Benavidez, which raised the quality of the super middle weight division by another notch. Like many others, I expected a UD but a TKO sent out a strong message to Callum Smith & Co.

    • Yes, yes it did. However, since benavidez and plant both fight on the same network I see Callum getting frozen out. I see plant as a fraud and the only big fight at 168 is between the Chicano and the Brit. The winner of these two is truly undisputed at super middleweight.

      • Plant a fraud? You are a fraud and have no knowledge of boxing. Plant is so far superior to either of the Dirrell’s.

        • I respect Pant. But the truth is Benevidez would be Caleb Plant. The only difference is Caleb Plant having never lost would be a little more resilient. But, in the end Benevidez is too strong and has just enough technique to win. I think he was hurting Dirrell with just the jab at times. Caleb’s a good fighter, this is not meant to be a knock on him

        • You must be from Tennessee and plants only fan. I’m the aficionado and you are the casual so for you to say that I don’t have boxing knowledge just makes you look even stupider than you probably look. Southern trash

          • There you go again calling people casuals. You show how inept you are and how poor your boxing knowledge is every time.

        • I agree, Plant is no fraud. He’s a crafty fighter with a solid tool kit. I think a lot of people look at him with a jaundiced eye because he’s from Tennesee-A state where fighters with a 30-0 record could fight out of state for the first time and lose a 4 rd fight. I actually saw that in France one time. A 38-1 cruiserweight fought a guy with a 3-2 record in a 4 rounder and lost!

  • There is only one fight that makes sense it 168 and it is Benavidez versus the RING champ Callum Smith

  • it might still be a few years off, but eventually I see Jaime Munguia going all the way up to 168 lbs …. & it will be curious to see what Canelo does if he were to get by Kovalev at light-heavy. lastly the Billy Joe Saunders who toyed with David Lamieux is an excellent boxer. 168 lbs has always been a live division going all the way back to all the champions from Europe.

    • i realize his inactivity and lack of focus can be an issue. I would still love to see Trevor McCumby and Caleb Plant at 68. I think it would be an entertaining fight.

    • Jaime Munguia may be moving up to 168 but I don’t see him bringing belts with him along the way. Golden Boy is doing everything he can to make sure he keeps his 154 title by having him defend against weak opposition and really not looking all that impressive in doing so.

  • Please check the resumes of the Dirrell Bros and both have been involved in controversy and drama. Disqualifications, sliced up around the eyes and boring to the fan, who loves the sport. Badou Jack is another one, with connections, but lacks greatness to be at the top. Dirrell’s have never legitimately defeated an elite opponent.

  • David Benavidez displayed fast hands and combination punching which usually includes a left hook to the liver mixed in with punches to body and head. He did display a couple of flaws in this fight. He is not fast on his feet, but was eventually able to cut the ring off and land his combinations. He also stands too straight up while advancing, but was able to get away with it because his reach is so long and he can lean back to escape punches from shorter opponents.

    Benavidez stepped up his attack in the second half of the fight and was dominating the fight as Dirrell slowed down. Up till then, Dirrell did a good job of moving side to side and not being predictable. He did land his share of punches, but I never saw him as the winner in this fight, especially as the fight entered the second half.

    Benavidez is one of my favorite fighters and is the man to beat at 168 pounds. Caleb Plant and Callum Smith are two potential opponents with different styles. Plant is more of a boxer and Smith is a boxer/puncher. Plant is extremely mobile and can maneuver with ease. Smith is a stalker but is not fast on his feet.

    I see the bigger money fight as the Callum Smith one. Despite his success, Plant is still relatively unknown outside of avid boxing fans. Smith has a following outside the US. I look forward to seeing Benavidez in with one of those two fighters.

    • Right on the mark Augustin. You see the same flaws and benavidez that I see. You also see that Callum plants his feet, but makes subtle angular maneuvers to cut his opponent off. It is also why I think a Smith/ Benavidez fight is one of the best fights in boxing to make. Their styles are so compelling and they can both punch. I think the Brit is the bigger puncher and has the tighter defense of the two, but benavidez has the faster hands. It is a great fight and these two are far and away better than Caleb plant who is strictly a poser in the ring, in my book. Plant would only keep it interesting for the first half of the fight, but would get found out by rounds 9 or 10 by either man.

    • It’s because he doesn’t have much muscle in his upper body and Mexicans usually carry a lot of water weight. Benavidez can literally drop 15 pounds in 24 hours. He probably comes in the ring close to 190 pounds on fight night.

      • Mexicans usually carry a lot of water weight? From what I saw Benavidez just looked bigger in every form. I would like to know where these Mexicans are getting this magical water, because lately they have been kicking ass, look strong and bigger. Now I know why this new generation of Mexican boxer are getting bigger. I want to know where is the source of their water. We could go into bottling this water and selling it to boxers all over the world. P.S where is the water!

  • Benavidez really showed his stuff and was like a shark in the water once the cut opened. He finished the show!

    Unlike, some below, I think Plant is a solid boxer and believe a fight with Benevidez could be fun. I favor David slightly, but Caleb’s speed might prove me wrong.

  • Anthony Dirrell deserves praise for his already proven toughness. He wasn’t going to quit despite his eyelid clearly blurting his vision. How much do you need? Beat Cancer, showed toughness on multiple occasions when cut and sportsmanship in defeat. This guy is great!

  • Actually most posters had called this fight correctly. And most consider Benavidez at the top of the division. The fight went as planned and I think everyone basically had Benavidez winning by K.O. We actually did not see the best of Benavidez, however we will see it in the near future, and he will break into the top 10 P4P shortly. This guy is a very talented fighter.

    • @Steve: same thoughts over here. Benavidez has very few flaws and many impressive strengths. He is very close to breaking through unto the big stage. I hope his promoter (Sampson Lewkowicz) will not start sleazy business moves like ODLH or similarly greedy promoters. If properly managed and matched-up, Benavidez will give us some of the best fights of 2020.

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