In what will be remembered as the final Showtime Boxing pay-per-view event, David Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) added another significant scalp to his resume, stopping Demetrius Andrade (32-1, 19 KOs) over six rounds to retain his interim WBC super middleweight title.
Through the first three rounds, the match was closely contested, with Andrade utilizing a strategy of throwing in combination and holding Benavidez whenever on the inside. Benavidez, 26, was never fazed by any of Adrade’s blows, with a majority of them caught on the arms of the younger fighter.
The momentum of the fight changed at the end of the fourth round when a right-hand landed by Benavidez put Andrade down. Over the next two rounds, Benavidez unleashed an avalanche of destruction on Andrade, landing a steady amount of punches on his opponent both to the body and head. After the sixth round, Andrade’s corner advised the referee, Thomas Taylor, to halt the fight, saving the former junior middleweight titleholder from taking further punishment.
The victory for Benavidez further solidified him as the number one contender for the reigning undisputed super middleweight champion, Saul “Canelo” Alvarez. The four-division champion is expected to return in May 2024. No other opponent has the demand from fans and pundits like Benavidez, who poses the biggest threat to Alvarez.
Just as important, a fight with Benavidez is another major box-office event for the Mexican superstar. Alvarez-Benavidez is one of the few fights in the sport that can potentially sell out Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
“I think I just solidified myself as the dominant performer that I am,” Benavidez said after the fight with Andrade. “And it was just a reminder to let everybody know who the fuck is the real champion at 168. You all want to see me versus Canelo, and that’s what we want, too.
"I’m the youngest super middleweight champion in the world. I’m a three-time world champion. Now, just give me the fight that we all want to see. Who wants to see David Benavidez versus Canelo? That’s who you’ll want to see. Let’s get it.”
Who will be David Benavidez's next opponent when he fights again?
The demand for the fight with Alvarez will be at its loudest in 2024. However, should Alvarez choose to go in another direction, Benavidez will still have favorable options available to him. At super middleweight, WBA titleholder David Morrell is one of the few fighters who has openly stated he wants to face Benavidez. A fight between the two has the possibility of being action-packed.
On the undercard of Benavidez’s win over Andrade, Jermall Charlo returned to the ring after a two-year absence. Charlo defeated Benavidez’s older brother, Jose Benavidez. While he may still need to work off some ring rust, Charlo is still a viable opponent for Benavidez and would be the biggest fight for the super middleweight titleholder that isn’t with Alvarez.
Benavidez is still in his prime, but there is a question about how much longer he can make the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds. A move to light heavyweight is undoubtedly in the future for Benavidez. Therefore, a bout with Alvarez’s former conqueror, Dmitry Bivol, could be the next potential move.
2023 has been a stellar year for Benavidez, who secured the two best victories of his career against Caleb Plant and Andrade. He has earned a shot to take on Alvarez more than any other opponent. Holding the advantage of youth and being in his prime, Benavidez has a wide array of directions to go.
“I just have to keep beating whoever they put in front of me,” said Benavidez. “ I’m the best. I’m going to be a legend by the time my time is done. I don’t care who they keep putting in front of me, I’m going to keep knocking them down.”