David Morrell’s team claims Benavidez ducked him, sets sights on bigger names

By Will Arons - 12/14/2023 - Comments

Trainer Ronnie Shields says he offered to match David Morrell Jr. against David Benavidez last year and was turned down by them. The ducking by Benavidez was done to stay in the pipeline for a fight against Canelo Alvarez.

Interestingly, Shields says that Team Benavidez offered a fight to Morrell two years ago after his fourth pro fight when he was first starting out, which he declined because he had just started training the Cuban fighter and he wanted to get to know his skills.

But after Morrell’s eighth fight, he reached out to Benavidez’s team and let them know he wanted to make the match-up, and they said no.

Shields says he understands why Benavidez and his team rejected the fight with WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion Morrell (9-0, 8 KOs) would give him “competition that he’s not looking for.”

Benavidez and his team have been trying to maneuver into a lucrative fight against the money man in the 168-lb division, Canelo, and they obviously don’t want to mess things up just when they’re so close.

Who knows why Canelo hasn’t given Benavidez the fight he’s been looking for, but it could be that he’s made a nuisance of himself with his chronic complaining.

Fighting Morrell would possibly spoil things for Benavidez, who isn’t the hardest fighter to hit, and he’s already been down on the canvas against Ronald Gavril.

Shields says Morrell is the “better fighter all around” than Benavidez, which is another reason the ‘Mexican Monster’ isn’t eager to take the fight. He and his dad, Jose Benavidez Sr., obviously see Morrell as a threat.

Morrell is defending his WBA 168-lb title this Saturday night, on December 16th, against Sena Agbeko (28-2, 22 KOs) in Showtime’s final boxing broadcast at the Minneapolis Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

“I expect my guy to win. We’re fighting a really good guy in Sena Agbeko. I know him really well. I worked with him for a couple of fights, and he comes to fight, so it should be a great fight,” said trainer Ronnie Shields to Fighthype about this Saturday’s headliner on Showtime Boxing between WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion David Morrell Jr. and Sena Agbeko.

Shields says the fight that they wanted for this Saturday night was Benavidez, but he turned it down, leaving no option but to take the best possible opponent available, Agbeko.

Benavidez turned down the fight

“I don’t know because David had fought a couple of good guys, but Sena will be one of the best ones he’s fought so far,” said Shields.

“I thought Demetrius [Andrade] would give a better fight [against David Benavidez], but it looked like after the third round, he went down. He eventually collapsed after the third round.

“We all know Benavidez is a slow starter, but this is what you train for. I thought he would do better than he did, but that’s credit to Benavidez because he showed again that he’s one of the top at 168 lbs.”

Demetrius Andrade was picked out

Team Benavidez picked the 35-year-old Demetrius Andrade, likely knowing that he was too old and lacking size & experience in the 168-lb division to be fighting ‘The Mexican Monster.’ Hence, he was the perfect opponent to make Benavidez look good.

Andrade had only fought once at 168, and he looked shot in his fight last January against journeyman Demond Nicholson, getting dropped, buzzed and struggling to win a ten round decision.

“When I first started training David [Morrell], after the very first fight, they [Team Benavidez] came and offered the fight—the first fight with me, which was the fifth fight [of Morrell’s nine-fight career in 2021],” said Shields.

“So, I told them, ‘No, I need to work with my guy a little bit longer. I want to find out everything about him and the work is in the gym. After that, we’ll see.’ So, after two more fights [in 2022], I said, ‘Yes, we’ll fight him [Benavidez].’

“This was after his eighth fight. I said, ‘Yes, we’ll do it,’ and they said, ‘No.’ They said, ‘Nobody knows him. Nobody knows Morrell.’ I said, ‘Hold on. After his fourth fight, you wanted to fight him, but now, after his eighth fight, you don’t want to fight him.'”

By the time Morrell had won his eighth fight, he was looking scary, destroying opponents, and that may given Team Benavidez food for thought, likely thinking, ‘We don’t need this. He could mess up the plans for the lucrative, life-changing money fight against Canelo.’

Morrell – tougher than what Team Benavidez wanted

“I understand. They [Team Benavidez] know the beat David Morrell is, and despite him only having nine fights, he’s a hell of a fighter, and he can give David Benavidez the competition that he’s not looking for. That fight is a war.

“Both guys are basically the same height, same weight, same everything. Both guys are beasts, simple as that, but I just feel David Morrell is the better fighter all around,” said Shields about Benavidez & Morrell.

Shields spells out that Team Benavidez don’t want to take risks and is trying to maneuver their way into a Canelo payday without earning it the hard way by facing dangerous opposition like Morrell.

YouTube video