David Benavidez wants Canelo to vacate WBC 168-lb title if he won’t defend it

By Tim Compton - 04/26/2022 - Comments

David Benavidez will be fighting David Lemieux next month for the interim WBC super-middleweight title in Glendale, Arizona, and he wants champion Canelo Alvarez to follow the rules of the sport to defend against the winner or vacate.

The former  two-time WBC 168-lb champion Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) says that as the WBC 168-lb champion, Canelo must defend his title against the winner of his fight with Lemieux or he’ll vacate his title.

Canelo is choosing to let his WBC sit idle while he goes up to light heavyweight next month to challenge WBA champion Dmitry Bivol for his belt on May 7th.

If Canelo wins that belt against Bivol, he’ll be dropping down to defend his four titles against Gennadiy Golovkin in September. In other words, Canelo has no intentions of defending his WBC 168-lb title immediately against the Benavidez vs. Lemieux winner.

It would be up to the World Boxing Council to decide whether to try and force Canelo to defend against the Benavidez-Lemieux winner. However, if the WBC pressures Canelo, he’ll surely vacate the belt because he’s already got other fighters he plans on fighting in 2022.

Next year, it’s believed that Canelo will fight Jermall Charlo in May, and possibly Benavidez in September.

“Definitely, when you win the interim title, that means the next fight has to be for the world title. It happens like that in every other weight class,” said David Benavidez on Tuesday during a virtual press conference for his May 21st fight against David Lemieux in Glendale, Arizona.

“I don’t feel like Canelo should be granted anything otherwise in this case,” Benavidez continued. “I feel like if he’s trying to unify world titles at 175, it’s fine, he can go his route.

“But whoever wins this fight [Benavidez vs. Lemieux], Canelo is going to have to vacate his world title. If he’s not going to give either of us a chance, he’s going to have to vacate that [WBC 168-lb title] and let whoever fight for that. I feel like it’s only fair,” said Benavidez.

“Personally, I don’t care what Canelo says. I’m not looking past this fight. I’m just concentrating on Benavidez, he’s a big fight ahead of me,” said Lemieux when asked about his opinion on Canelo choosing to freeze his WBC 168-lb title to go up to 175 to challenge WBA champion Dmitry Bivol on May 7th.

“There’s a lot of champions. Canelo chooses a lot of his fights, but there are rules in the fights in boxing that you’ve got to respect,” said Lemieux.

“The winner of the interim belt has to fight the champion. So if he [Canelo] follows the rules, the rules are the rules, so that’s it,” said Lemieux in making it clear that he wants Alvarez to defend against the winner of his fight against Benavidez.

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