All six super middleweight boxers made weight on Thursday, one day before a stacked tripleheader tomorrow/Friday, Sept. 8 on SHOWTIME BOXING: Special Edition live on SHOWTIME® (10:05 p.m. ET/PT) from the Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino.
(Photo credit: Rosie Cohe/SHOWTIME)
David Benavidez: 167 ½ Pounds
Ronald Gavril: 166 ¾ Pounds
J’Leon Love: 168 ¼ Pounds
Abraham Han: 167 ½ Pounds
Caleb Plant: 167 ¼ Pounds
Andrew Hernandez: 166 ¼ Pounds
“I’m a little surprised the title shot came this early. My dad told me to be ready and if the opportunity came, I need be ready to show up.
“[Gavril] thinks I’m a kid, I know it. I’m 20 years old, but I’m going to let him make the mistakes and let him come forward, then I’m going to take over.
“He’s never faced someone like me. I’ll let him think what he wants to think. I know what I can do. This is the biggest fight of my life and I have to take advantage.
“Leaving Phoenix was probably one of the best things I’ve ever done, especially for my boxing career.
“I can’t keep my mind away from boxing and I have to stay sharp because the fights are getting harder and harder.
“The last few fights have been tough and I can’t go in there just thinking about the knockout. I have to take them apart piece by piece. My approach has changed. I’m not going in there just wailing away like Mike Tyson. I’m going to dissect them.
“I see that he’s a pressure fighter and has good body work. He only has one speed and doesn’t have any other gears. I’ve watched a lot of film on him and feel like he has some weaknesses that I can expose. I’m going to end this in a knockout! I’m ready to go 12 rounds, but I’m going to knock him out.
“I’ve dedicated myself the most I ever have for any fight this time. I had sparring partners exactly like Gavril.
“I feel comfortable at this weight, but I can see myself going up to 175 at some point, maybe three or four years from now.
“I know if I win I’m going to be the youngest super middleweight world champion ever. That’s just frosting on the cake.”
“Our camp was extended by two weeks because we were supposed to fight on Aug. 26. But the world title fight came up so we had to go for it.
“I’m going to make him fight. I’m a more experienced fighter and have a higher boxing IQ than my opponent.
“I’m not overlooking Benavidez. He’s a tough fighter and we know it. My trainer [Eddie Mustafa Muhammad] has been working with me on a game plan. I’m going to be ready for whatever he has to bring.
“It was a great camp and we had the best sparring partners, including Badou [Jack] and Jose Uzcategui.
“I’ve watched video of Benavidez. He throws lots of combinations and quick hands. They say he’s a highlight reel, but he will be exposed on Friday night.”
“I know I’ve had a year-long layoff, but I’ve always been in the gym just working on my mistakes and polishing my game. I’m past the prospect stage and now I’m a contender.
“He’s not as smart as me. I’m coming to make a statement. He’s going to try and bring the fight to me, but it doesn’t matter. I’ve had some bigger guys in sparring, light heavyweights.
“It’s easy to be comfortable, but I’ve learned from my mistakes. I’m blessed to have Floyd [Mayweather] in my life, but he won’t always be there. I have to be able to do some things for myself. Everyone knows Floyd has it all, but he still busts his ass and works hard.
“Theo Chambers is back training me now and I had to go back to Kronk Gin Detroit to let the dog come out. I started with him when I was 14 years old.
“I want guys like James DeGale, and the winner of Benavidez and Gavril. Why not? I’m hungry for whatever. I’ll do whatever I have to do be world champion.
“Sometimes you need some time off and a layoff is good. I healed my mind and my body. We’ve worked on some things and now we are ready to put it on display. I’ve learned from my mistakes.
“Boxing just comes natural to me and I’m feeling really good about my chances Friday night.”
“I wasn’t always focused on my career, but I’ve gotten it back and my sister [current IBF women’s Featherweight World Champion] Jennifer is a big reason for that. I had to figure some things out. She beat my butt all the way through high school. Guys would see me with black eyes and know that she would beat the crap out of me. It was kind of embarrassing when you get beat up by your sister.
“This is a big opportunity for me. I lost two split decisions [to Sergio Mora and Fernando Guerrero] and both could have gone either way. I had the only knockdowns in both fights, but I was on the ‘B’ side so you know how it’s going to go.
“El Paso is trying to become a fight town and we have a lot of good trainers, but we still have a ways to go.
“I injured my shoulder a few years ago and couldn’t use my right shoulder so I started fighting more southpaw. I’ve done a lot of mixed martial arts growing up, and it hasn’t been hard switching from that to boxing.
“J’Leon Love has one of the best teams in boxing in Mayweather Promotions. I have to throw punches in bunches.”
“I’m just going to go in there calm and relaxed as I always do and make adjustments as I need to. I could tell you everything I plan to do, or what could happen, but this this is boxing and everyone knows how it works. It depends on what’s going on inside the ring, and I will make adjustments.
“My opponent does different things and is very durable and comes to fight. We know he moves well and can do different things and be the aggressor. He has different dimensions. We’re not overlooking him.
“This isn’t the first time it’s happened, and it won’t be the last, having to face a different opponent than we trained for. At the end of the day it’s all about being able to make adjustments, in the ring and in life. I don’t expect anything less than an A-plus performance.
“I’m not taking this fight lightly. This is no joke. Boxing is life and death to me. It’s all I have and it’s been my whole entire life since I was nine years old. I don’t have anything else.”
“I’ve had about a week notice for this fight. Of course I’m going to say yes. I’m not going to run from any fighter or opportunity. Caleb is a tremendous prospect and they are talking about him fighting for a world title soon. So much opportunity can come from this.
“[Caleb] doesn’t have many weaknesses. He has good hand speed and pretty good power and very good defense. He’s the total package and I have my work cut out for me. But I’m very confident in myself and I hope I can take him into deep waters.
“Hopefully I will fight the best fight I can and pull off the upset.”
“I’ve had some upsets during my career. I’ve been doing this long enough and hopefully someday maybe I’ll fight for a world title and get a nice payday before it’s all said and done. I’m very hungry.”
David Benavidez fights Ronald Gavril this Friday on Showtime Boxing
The sport of boxing was the center of attention in August with a record-setting mega event that captured the imagination of the public. A trio of shows presented by Premier Boxing Champions in September will give fans more opportunities to see young boxers on the rise in the sport.
“Premier Boxing Champions will present three shows that will deliver the kind of excitement that fans have come to appreciate. All three shows involve boxers who have a bright future in the sport and are tomorrow’s stars,” said Tim Smith, VP of Communications for Haymon Boxing.
David Benavidez (18-0, 17 KOs) will take on Ronald Gavril (18-1, 14 KOs) for the vacant super middleweight world title in a bout that will have historical implications when the two boxers square off in a 12-round bout that headlines a SHOWTIME BOXING: SPECIAL EDITION® on Friday, September 8 at 10 p.m. ET/PT. The 20-year-old Benavidez has the chance to become the youngest super middleweight champion in history and the youngest reigning boxing world champion in the sport today. Gavril is looking to win the title that was once held by his Mayweather Promotions teammate, Badou Jack, who vacated the title to move up to 175 pounds where he claimed a light heavyweight world title with a dominant victory over Nathan Cleverly on Aug. 26.
The undercard will feature two more exciting matches in the super middleweight division. Once-beaten contender J’Leon Love (23-1, 13 KOs) will battle Texas-native Abraham Han (26-3, 16 KOs) in a 10-round bout and unbeaten prospect Caleb Plant (15-0, 10 KOs) takes on Andrew Hernandez (19-6-1, 9 KOs) in 10 rounds of action.
Unbeaten super lightweight contender Mario Barrios (19-0, 11 KOs) will clash with Philadelphia’s Naim Nelson (13-3, 1 KO) in a 10-round battle from Sands Bethlehem Event Center in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania on TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and FOX Deportes on Tuesday, September 16 at 10 p.m./7 p.m. PT. The 22-year-old Barrios of San Antonio has been on a roll this year, knocking out Yardley Armenta Cruz in March and Jose Luis Rodriguez in June.
In the other televised bouts, Brooklyn light heavyweight prospect Earl Newman (10-0, 7 KOs) takes on Toledo’s Paul Parker (8-2, 4 KOs) in an 8-round bout to open the broadcast and a pair of undefeated featherweight prospects Stephen Fulton (11-0, 5 KOs) and Adam Lopez (8-0, 3 KOs) face off in an eight-round co-main event.
Six boxers with a combined record of 72-1 will do battle on TOE-TO-TOE TUESDAYS on FS1 and FOX Deportes on Sept. 26 from Cannery Casino & Hotel in Las Vegas at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. ET. Unbeaten Cuban super featherweight Leduan Barthelemy (13-0, 7 KOs) will meet Eduardo Ramirez (20-0-2, 7 KOs) from Los Mochis, Sinaloa, Mexico in a 10-round main event.
In the co-main event Alejandro Salinas (8-1, 8 KOs) of Youngstown, Ohio battles Duarn Vue (12-0-2, 4 KOs) of Madison, Wisconsin in an eight-round super featherweight bout. In the opening TV bout, Bryan Figueroa (12-0, 5 KOs) of Tijuana, Mexico will fight for the first time outside of Mexico when he takes on Ivan Jimenez (7-0-1, 4 KOs), who is from Cuba but now lives in Las Vegas, in an eight-round lightweight match.