David Benavidez voiced his irritation this week about his struggles to get Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant to take a fight against him.
Despite being Canelo’s mandatory challenger with the WBC at 168, the unbeaten Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) has had no luck in getting him to accept the fight.
To help increase his chances of forcing a fight against Canelo, Benavidez, 25, is fighting David Lemieux (43-4, 36 KOs) on May 21st for the interim WBC 168-lb title. The fight will be shown on Showtime Boxing at the Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona.
If Benavidez defeats Lemieux to capture the interim WBC title, he’ll not only be Canelo’s mandatory with the World Boxing Council but he’ll also hold the interim belt with the organization for that division.
While Canelo was willing to defend against his WBC mandatory a year ago when his ex-sparring partner Avni Yildirim was the guy in that position, he’s not been in a hurry to defend his title now that it’s Benavidez in the spot.
Likewise, Benavidez had similar problems trying to get former IBF super-middleweight champion Plant (21-1, 12 KOs) to agree to a fight.
Plant, 29, recently exchanged words with Benavidez on social media, but when push came to shove, the Tennessee native chose to go in another direction for a fight against 38-year-old Anthony Dirrell for his next fight.
Benavidez wants Canelo fight
“To be honest, I don’t know what to think anymore. You think you’re going to get a fight and then something happens,” said David Benavidez to K.O. Artist Sports in voicing his frustration at not getting Canelo fight.
“I was supposed to get a fight against Canelo two fights ago, and now they’re saying I have nothing to offer. But I’ve been in the ranks with the WBC [at #1 at 168], and I thought that’s what champs are supposed to do.
“They’re supposed to fight the mandatories, but he’s going up to 175,” said Benavidez about Canelo choosing to face WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol next on May 7th and then Gennadiy Golovkin on September 17th instead of him.
“So, I got to forget about these fights [Canelo and Jermall Charlo], and I got to forget about Canelo and try to get these fights. Maybe now the fights will be easier,” said Benavidez.
It might not be in the cards for Benavidez to get a fight against Canelo soon if ever. The Mexican star is fighting WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol on May 7th, and if he wins that match, he’ll take on Gennadiy Golovkin on September 17th.
There’s a very good chance that Canelo will lose to at least one of those fighters, and when that happens, he’ll fight them in a rematch. Who knows what will take place in Canelo’s career if he loses twice in 2022.
Whatever move Canelo takes under that dire worst-case scenario, it’s reasonable to assume that a fight against Benavidez won’t be high on his priority list.
David fighting Lemieux for interim WBC title
“After I get this belt [interim WBC 168-lb title], I’ll have more leverage to get a fight against Caleb Plant. Boo Boo Andrade is there or maybe Charlo will be there. So, I got to see and take it fight by fight,” said Benavidez.
“I’m going to see what the best option is after this fight [David Lemieux]. They’re both boxers and both move around a lot. I don’t think either of them are going to get hurt.
“They’re not big punchers either of them, but it’s going to be a good fight, I guess,” said Benavidez in reacting to the talk of Caleb Plant fighting 38-year-old Anthony Dirrell next rather than agreeing to face him.
“Caleb kind of made it seem like ‘Oh, yeah, I have to make the fight make sense because that was David’s toughest fight, and that was my comeback fight,'” said Benavidez in trying to understand Plant’s rationale for fighting an old Dirrell, who he stopped in the ninth round in 2019.
“He’s 28-years-old and I stopped Dirrell when I was 22, so I don’t know what he’s trying to say by there,” said Benavidez about the 29-year-old Plant, who will be turning 30 in July.
Winning the interim WBC super-middleweight title probably won’t help Benavidez get a fight against Canelo.
If Canelo wanted nothing to do with Benavidez during his title as the WBC 168-lb champion, he’s surely not going to be any more interested in facing him if he wins the interim WBC strap.
It’s logical to assume that Canelo is avoiding Benavidez and that avoidance will grow stronger as his career begins to flounder this year or next.
Canelo wants to become the undisputed 168lb champion, meaning that he’s going to need to beat Bivol and then the winner of the light heavyweight unification fight between IBF/WBC 175lb champion Artur Beterbiev and WBO champ Joe Smith Jr. With Canelo fighting those types of fighters, it’s likely he’s going to get beaten this year or next.
Caleb Plant on Benavidez’s target list
“Caleb Plant is a f**** clown. Until I get a fight against him, I’m just going to be waiting patiently until I get the fight, and then we’ll see what it is when I get him in there,” said Benavidez.
“It could be that easy [to make a fight against Plant]. He’s with Luis DeCubas, and I work with Luis DeCubas too, we all work together.
“So, it could have been a verbal agreement. He fights Anthony Dirrell, and I fight David Lemieux. We both get past that fight, and we’re both in agreement to fight. But Caleb, he’s always coming up with some excuses saying this and that.
“It could be very much that easy. It doesn’t have to be no contract. I could say if I beat David Lemieux, I’m not going to fight anybody until I get Caleb Plant, and he could say, ‘If I beat Anthony Dirrell, we’ll make that fight happen.’
“That could be as easy as can be, but he doesn’t want to fight and is saying all this other s***. He’s talking all this s***. It’s that easy to make that fight happen, and the reason the fight isn’t being made is because he doesn’t want to fight.
“As much as the s*** that he’s talking about how Sampson turned down the fight five years ago, four years ago. All the s*** that he can talk, it doesn’t matter. I want the fight. All it takes is a verbal agreement.
“Yes, you want to fight after you fight Anthony Dirrell? That’s fine. He wants a tune-up fight, and I’m getting this WBC interim title [against Lemieux].
“We can make it happen there, but there’s always stuff going on in the background that makes these fights hard to happen,” said Benavidez.
It’s probably a waste of Benavidez’s sweet time for him to hold onto the dim hope of Caleb Plant choosing to fight him.
It doesn’t seem likely to happen because Plant is trying to rebuild quickly so he can get a rematch with Canelo, and if he faces Benavidez, the chances are too high that he’ll lose.
As such, Plant will likely use Benavidez’s name to clout chase, but won’t ever fight him. It’s unlikely that Canelo will ever fight Plant again, but Caleb will try anyway to get the rematch by rebuilding in a tactical way without taking true risks against fighters like Benavidez.