Undefeated WBC super middleweight champion David Benavídez joined his main event opponent, Alexis Angulo, and the rest of the fighters on this Saturday’s Showtime tripleheader in a virtual press webinar on Wednesday from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
The co-main event features rising lightweight Rolando “Rolly” Romero taking on fellow unbeaten Jackson Maríñez in a 12-round battle for the WBA interim lightweight title, while heavyweights Otto Wallin and Travis Kauffman square off in a 10-round showdown.
“I feel amazing. Our preparation has been very good and everything has gone smoothly. We had private sessions in our gym, so we had sparring and everything we needed. I’m very close to weight right now and I’m ready to defend my title on Saturday.
“Moving to Seattle was really good for me. I just bought a house out there and it’s a beautiful place. I’m there to figure out what I really want in life and dedicate myself to boxing. I’ve hit a different stage in my life and career and I’m just ready to keep winning.
“I’ve seen Angulo’s style in some of my previous opponents. I’d compare him to ‘Porky’ Medina, but Angulo is a little fresher because he hasn’t been through the wars like Medina. Angulo is very heavy handed and he wants to win. He’s coming off of an upset win and I think that has him motivated to believe he can beat me.
“I’m ready for whatever he brings to the ring. I just have to be patient. I can’t just try to knock him out and leave myself open. I have confidence in my abilities, and if I do everything right, I believe the knockout will come. I’m ready to give a great show to all my fans around the world.
“I’ve just been working on every aspect of my game. My defense, the jab, body shots and keeping the distance especially. I think Angulo is the perfect opponent to display everything I have. This is going to be a rugged and tough fight but that’s what I expect for every fight from now on. As long as I prepare myself correctly, I think I’ll be fine. This is the level I wanted to be at, and now that I’m here, I want to take full advantage of that.
“Angulo is a tough fighter. He hurt Gilberto Ramirez a couple times in their fight. I have to go in there and be alert. Everything has to be perfect. When I get on the inside, I’m going to attack the body and throw combinations.
“I think this is going to be a different fight than my last fight. I don’t think Angulo will utilize the ring like Anthony Dirrell did. I want to start the fight off well, find my rhythm and ultimately break him down.
“I want to fight [IBF Super Middleweight Champion] Caleb Plant next. All the super middleweight champions have to take risks and fight each other. I want those other belts. I want to take the chances now and show everybody, including myself, that I’m the best.
“I feel like this is just the beginning for me. I want to be a unified champion and be known as the best super middleweight of my generation. I have time on my side and I’m hungry and competitive. The sky’s the limit for me.”
“The [COVID shutdown] has helped me tremendously. I’ve been able to prepare better, and not just physically, but also spiritually and emotionally. I’m more prepared than I’ve ever been and this is really the best thing that could have happened to me. I know the coronavirus has affected many people negatively, but for me it’s been the total opposite. It’s just given me a lot more time to train.
“I hear that they are predicting Benavidez will knock me out in the seventh round, but that is just people’s opinion. I’m going to show on Saturday night that the people who are predicting that will be proven wrong.
“When I fought Anthony Sims Jr., he was a good fighter, but Benavidez is on another level in the boxing game. I’m going to show people that I belong on the same level as Benavidez.
“Benavidez is a warrior, but I don’t see him having any big advantages over me. In my only pro loss to Gilberto Ramirez, it was really just the experience factor. The biggest change for me since that fight is more personal, and just my mindset. I’m just stronger now, emotionally too. That’s the biggest change I’ve experienced.
“I know I have to be more aggressive in this fight – just more effective and smarter on Saturday. I don’t have a game plan. I’m going to adjust to the fight as it comes to me. I know I can adjust to anything Benavidez throws at me.
“I don’t know if this is my toughest fight to date. All my fights are difficult, some more than others. I’m prepared, I’m ready and on Saturday you will get to see if this is my toughest fight.”
“This is a big opportunity for me. This is a way for me to show that I belong in there against the top fighters in the division. I’ve sparred with all of them before, but this will show I’m ready to face any of them in a real fight.
“I’m not worried about going 12 rounds for the first time. I’m not trying to let it go 12, but I’m prepared from sparring 15 rounds at a time in camp. It’s not going to be hard to have more left in the tank in the later rounds.
“Floyd Mayweather taking time to work with me in camp says a lot about him. He’s got a lot of other things he could be doing, so it’s already a blessing. He always tells me to work my jab and focus on my boxing ability. We’ve worked a lot together in camp for this fight.
“When I signed with Floyd. I asked him what I should work on and he told me to work on my jab. About four or five fights in I started to really use that advice and it’s the best advice that he could have given me.
“I’ve never relied on just my power. I use my skill set and when I land a punch, the power is what floors them. I’m just a heavy-handed fighter.
“I’ve been asking for tough fights like this and to step up against the better competition. If it turns out it was too soon, then it’s only because I asked for it. But that’s not happening. I’m going to end up on top.
“I don’t think his experience is going to be a problem for me. My boxing ability and power is going to be way too much for him. I don’t think he’ll be able to do anything to me. I think I’m going to win with an early round knockout. It’s going to be a really bad knockout.
“I think I’m the best in the world, but that’s just me. I think I’d stop every single fighter at 135-pounds.
“I’m already defined as a puncher, but I’ve yet to really show my boxing ability. That’s only because I haven’t needed to yet. As I get into tougher and tougher fights I think I’m going to blow through the 135-pound division. When I move up to 140 and 147 pounds, I’ll be ready to show my boxing ability more. I started this sport at 17 and I’m 24 now. I feel like I have nothing but room to grow.”
“I’ve been training with the Garcia team for over a year. I’ve learned so much from them. The Mexican boxing style is very different than the Dominican one – working with Robert and his team has helped me combine them both.
“Romero’s overconfidence and lack of experience will give me the edge on Saturday. I’m clearly the more experienced fighter, and I guarantee you, he’s never been in a ring with a boxer like me. My style is very different to what he’s used to. He’s in for a surprise.
“I give Romero merit for his power, he’s a good athlete, but I’m not intimidated by him. I know I will get the win come Saturday night.
“Every boxer dreams of becoming a world champion from the moment they first try on a pair of gloves. I’m no different. I’ve dreamt of this moment my entire life. Winning this fight will bring countless opportunities and will change my life.
“I believe everything is possible if you work hard enough. I’m a man of a few words, but my hard work will show in the ring on Saturday night.
“My fellow Dominican, [Jeison] ‘Banana’ Rosario has filled the Dominican people with hope. I want to follow his footsteps.”
“Yes, it has been quite different [training during COVID]. In the spring, when New York shut down, we were training a lot in my apartment and in Central Park. I pretty much had to build a gym in my apartment. I bought a bike, a bench press, and some other weights. Then for the last couple of months we had a private gym that we were working out of.
“It is not so much about proving that the Fury fight wasn’t a fluke. It is about me going out there and being myself and taking care of Kauffman. He’s a good fighter, so I have to be alert at all times, but I feel like I am just a better fighter so as long as I go out and preform, no one will be saying it is a fluke and that I am for real.
“Hopefully I will get a title shot soon. I did better against Fury than anybody has, so you can take that and see that I am one of the top guys. I think that I am one of the top guys and I am happy to be fighting again so I can show that. The champions are tied up with themselves, so we will see what happens, but I feel like after the Fury fight people know that I am in that mix. Fury seems to always be calling people out, but he never mentions my name.”
“I would like to fight the champions, of course, and that is Fury and Anthony Joshua. Wilder is a top guy, so that is an option when he comes back, but a Fury rematch or a fight with Joshua is what I really want. It is important for me to take care of Kauffman and stay busy, then get back in the ring quick.
“It feels great that I am finally going to fight. It has almost been a year since my last fight. It is great to train, but I do not want to train all the time, I want to fight. I have been on lockdown in New York, so finally I get some action.”
“When you fight the best, you see what you do well, and you see what you need to work on. I have been watching the Fury fight, and I have been studying it. Being in there with Fury, and trading rounds with the champion like that, there is nothing better. I need the experience, so that was great for me. I am sure I learned a lot that I do not even know of yet. I feel like improved after that fight, but we always need to improve.”
“My life has always been full of challenges. With every fight and every camp there have been challenges. With the passing of Brother Naazim Richardson, who I’ve known since I was nine and who’s trained me for the last six years, it hurt. I didn’t expect him to pass away because he’d already overcome so much. It truly hurt me, but it also motivated me. I was unable to leave training camp, because all I could think about was that Brother Naazim would not have let me leave. He was truly a great mentor to me.
“When we knew Naazim wouldn’t be here, we decided to go back to what I knew best, which was working with my dad Marshall Kauffman. I knew that I should go back to the person who taught me everything I know.
“I turn 35 next Friday so it would be a great birthday present to beat this guy up before that. Every time I go to fight, I don’t get the nerves that people talk about. It’s another day at the office. This is a way to provide for my family. There’s always a lot on the line. If I win, it puts me in position to make life changing money.
“I have everything on the line because I know I have what it takes to beat Wallin. His claim to fame is losing to Tyson Fury. That’s all they know him for. I won’t take anything away from him, but he’s trying to prove that it wasn’t a fluke. It’s my job to stop him and I believe I have what it takes to do that.
“I’ve seen some flaws from Wallin and I’ve seen him do some great things. He’s got youth on his side, but I have the experience. I’ve been doing this for almost 20 years. I’ve been in there with some of the best heavyweights in the world. I don’t underestimate anybody in the ring. I’m coming here to bang and may the best man win. I believe I’m the better man.
“I always want to make a statement, but winning is the number one statement. No matter how I win, I have to win. I don’t want to look good and lose. I can’t lose. I want to win and get another big opportunity.
“The passing of Brother Naazim has been a motivator these last couple of weeks especially. I kept hearing Brother Naazim’s voice in my head and it’s helped push me through the toughest days and made me even more motivated heading into this fight.”
The event is promoted by TGB Promotions and Sampson Boxing. The Romero vs. Maríñez bout is co-promoted by Mayweather Promotions.