David Benavidez and Jose Uzcategui are finalizing a deal for a rescheduled fight in January at super middleweight.
Mike Coppinger is reporting the news of the fight between interim WBC 168-lb champion Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) and former IBF champion Uzcategui (32-4, 27 KOs) for January.
Uzcategui, 31, and Benavidez had been planning to battle last year in November, but the fight was cancer after a positive test for Jose. Uzcategui tested positive for the banned performance-enhancing drug rEPO.
After all that, it’s more than a little strange that Benavidez’s promoter wanted to reschedule. If this is as good as it gets for Benavidez’s promoter, it’s troubling because he should have been able to find a contender with a clean slate when it comes to drug tests.
Additionally, Benavidez has nothing to gain by fighting Uzcategui because he’s already been beaten by Caleb Plant. Boxing fans are already criticizing Benavidez for fighting Plant’s leftovers.
Casual boxing fans have never heard of Uzcategui or seen him before, so it doesn’t help Benavidez to be rescheduling against him.
Hardcore fans likely haven’t seen Uzcategui on television for years since his 12 round unanimous decision loss to Plant in 2019 and his two fights against Andre Dirrell in 2018 & 2019.
Benavidez has recent knockout wins over David Lemieux, Kyrone Davis, and Ronald Ellis. He’d like to challenge undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez and fight Plant, but neither of those two fighters have any interest in facing him. It’s pretty obvious why the disinterest on their part.
Benavidez says he’s tired of being avoided by the top fighters at 168, and he plans on moving up to 175 next year if he can’t get the fights that he wants.
He’s already Canelo’s mandatory for the WBC belt, but with the World Boxing Council being slow in ordering the fight, Benavidez can’t afford to wait around for a fight that likely will never happen.
The same applies to Benavidez against Plant and Jermall Charlo, who has zero interest in fighting him. Ideally, the WBC will order Canelo to fight Benavidez in early 2023 and then strip him if he refuses or ignores him. With Benavidez soon reuniting with his WBC title, he can defend it as he did before.
Uzcategui is a good basic slugger, but he struggles when he faces opposition that takes the fight to him or has good boxing skills. He gave Plant a lot of problems in their fight in 2019.