Canelo Alvarez will need to face David Benavidez at some point in the future if he’s successful at becoming the undisputed super middleweight champion in 2021.
If Canelo (54-1-2, 36 KO) stays at 168, he’ll need to defend those titles against the former WBC super middleweight champion Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs).
Trainer Abel Sanchez believes that the 24-year-old Benavidez has the fighting style to give Canelo plenty of problems with his size, power, and ring IQ.
Canelo would need to come up with different gear for him to beat Benavidez because he’s not just big; he can fight as well. Canelo’s recent wins over Callum Smith and Sergey Kovalev came against fighters with limited talent.
Kovalev was pretty old when Canelo fought him, and in the case of Smith, he looked out of his depth.
Benavidez would trouble Canelo
“I’ve always thought David was a talent just waiting to blossom into a superstar,” said trainer Abel Sanchez to Sean Zittel of Fighthype about David Benavidez.
“I think David has the tools, the tenacity, and the imagination to be able to counter Canelo the way he needs to be countered and to be able to out-think him.
To put him in situations where a bigger guy would be able to capitalize,” said Sanchez when asked if Benavidez could give Canelo Alvarez problems.
“In his last fight with Callum Smith, it was just a sparring session for Canelo. He [Smith] didn’t even try anything. David is a different kind of fighter.
David would trouble him. Whether he beats him or not, who knows? As I said, Canelo is a different type of fighter and it on a level right now that is going to be hard to top,” said Sanchez.
Of the top super middleweights in the division, Benavidez might be the most problems for Canelo.
That might explain why Canelo waited until Benavidez was no longer the WBC super middleweight champion before he started trying to unify the 168lb division.
Sanchez believes Benavidez would keep Canelo on the outside
“That fight is going to depend on the opponent. Canelo is going to try and do that,” said Sanchez about Canelo trying to get inside on Benavidez.
“In David’s case, he would try and keep him on the outside. I think David could box him from the outside and jab him.
“The question is, will he be able to keep him off for the 12 rounds. If he doesn’t keep him off, will he be able to counter Canelo?
“Canelo has quick hands too. Canelo is very imaginative, he does a lot of nice things in there.
“So if David can keep on the outside and box him, potshot him from the outside, keep at a distance, and keep him at bay, that’s a good fight for David, but it’s a difficult fight.
“Canelo is getting better and better, and he’s maturing. He’s fighting good fighters that are making him. He’s fighting different styles that are making him better.
“I saw him 10% ago, and he’s gotten that much better in my opinion,” said Sanchez.
Benavidez likes t fight on the inside, and he probably wouldn’t even attempt to keep Canelo at a distance.
The 6’1 1/2″ Benavidez doesn’t move well enough to keep Canelo on the outside even if he wanted to.
It would be a very difficult fight for Canelo because Benavidez wouldn’t cover up against the ropes as Callum Smith did in their fight on December 19th.
Benavidez would throw power punches, a lot of them, and make Canelo try and match his work rate.
If Canelo slowed up in the second half like he often does due to his gas tank issues, Benavidez would batter him.
Alvarez has improved since GGG 2
“Absolutely,” said Sanchez about Canelo having improved considerably since the second fight with Gennadiy Golovkin in 2018.
“He wants to be there. He believes he’s the main man, and he’s going to work hard to stay there. He’s doing the necessary things to stay there.
“Mentally, he doesn’t want anyone to be better than him. Mentally, he likes his top spot, and he’s going to do whatever it takes.
“He’s allowing Eddy [Reynoso] to coach him, and he’s allowing the coaching staff to initiate new things, do new things, and to improve new things.
“You see him training when he’s not fighting. You see clips of him training when there are no fights involved. Those are the types of fighters that are going to get better, and those are the types of fighters you’re going to remember forever,” said Sanchez.
It’s impossible to say that Canelo has improved since his rematch with Golovkin in 2018 because he’s not fought anyone superbly talented.
These are the fighters Canelo has fought since 2018
- Rocky Fielding
- Daniel Jacobs
- Sergey Kovalev
- Callum Smith
Smith was supposed the #1 fighter at 168, but he clearly wasn’t. The rating organizations that had picked Callum as the #1 fighter at super middleweight showed that they know very little about boxing.
Callum had already looked poor even before facing Canelo, and he clearly wasn’t the #1 or even the #5 guy at super middleweight. he was more like bottom 10, and that’s being generious.
To really see if Canelo has improved since his rematch with Golovkin, we would need to him take real tests, not fake ones against average fighters.
Canelo needs to fight these guys to show if he’s improved:
- Jermall Charlo
- Gennadiy Golovkin
- Artur Beterbiev
- Dimitry Bivol
- David Benavidez
- Demetrius Andrade
- Bektemir Melikuziev
If Canelo can beat those type of fighters, you can say he’s improved. You can’t tell if Canelo has gotten better with the carefully selected fighters he’s been since for the last three years.
Canelo could deal with any 175-pounder
“Canelo is not a typical smaller man,” said Sanchez when asked if a good big man like Benavidez might be able to beat a good smaller man in Canelo?
“Canelo has the skills to deal with 175-pounders. I wouldn’t say cruiserweight, but he’s got the skills to deal with any of the 175-pounders.
“The fights that are going to be difficult for him or the ones like David [Benavidez], who is very technically sound. Also, [Dimitry] Bivol is very technically sound.
“He may not be the puncher that Canelo is or [Artur] Beterbiev is, but he’s very technically sound. Unfortunately, he doesn’t fight. He doesn’t show us a little more of his versatility, so we can kind of compare them.
“I don’t think [Caleb] Plant has fought the kind of talent that these other guys have fought. He’s very skilled, and he has great hand speed too.
“That’s one thing that is impressive about him, but I just don’t think he’s quite the mature fighter that these other guys are.
I’d like to see him fight these two guys that we’ve mentioned, Bivol or Beterbiev or even a Joe Smith to see where he’s at to see how far he can go.
“That would be a great fight [Benavidez vs. Plant], but unfortunately, sometimes the politics of this game don’t allow that to match the good guys against the good guys,” said Sanchez.
Abel is going a little overboard here in saying that Canelo can deal with anyone in the 175-lb division. Sanchez is partly right that Canelo can deal with light heavyweight, but not all of them.
These 175-pounders would Canelo problems:
- Jean Pascal
- Artur Beterbiev
- Joe Smith Jr
- Dimitry Bivol
- Gilberto Ramirez
- Joshua Buatsi
If Canelo fought Beterbiev and Smith, there’s a good chance he would be knocked out for the first time, even if he shelled up against the ropes.
Benavidez impressed Sanchez sparring with Golovkin
“He was up here [at Big Bear, California] when he was 16-years-old sparring with Gennadiy Golovkin,” said Sanchez.
“I’ve had probably 20 to 25 sparring partners sparring with Gennadiy, and David was probably the best I had up here.
“I knew he was going to be a champion, but I didn’t know how he was going to develop. But he’s developed into a heck of a fighter.
“There’s no comparison, Gennadiy is at a level all by himself,” said Sanchez when asked to compare Benavidez’s power to Golovkin’s.
“But David is a very smart fighter, he has very good tools and very good defense. He sets traps,” said Sanchez.
It would have been interesting to see Golovkin and Benavidez spar at Big Bear at Sanchez’s training camp. Benavidez is one of those types of fighters that don’t back down and likely was going to war with GGG, even at 16.