David Benavidez understandably believes that he should be Canelo Alvarez’s next opponent, not Terence Crawford.
The unbeaten Benavidez feels he has clearly established himself as the true super middleweight who has earned a shot at Alvarez’s IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO 168-pound championships. Phoenix’s Benavidez owns the WBC interim super middleweight title and is the WBC’s mandatory challenger for one of Alvarez’s four crowns.
More than anything, though, Benavidez considers Crawford entirely too small to fight Alvarez at the super middleweight limit of 168 pounds. The 36-year-old Crawford would have to move up three weight classes, 21 pounds altogether, to face Alvarez in a potential pay-per-view extravaganza that has captivated much of the boxing public’s imagination.
“To be honest with you, I don’t wanna see that,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com. “We’ve already seen what happened when he fought somebody [from] 154 [Jermell Charlo]. So, what is gonna happen when he fights somebody [from] 147? I respect Crawford a lot, but I don’t wanna see a 147-pounder fight a 168-pounder.”
Benavidez acknowledged the undefeated Crawford’s greatness and admires the three-division champion’s ambition. The former WBC super middleweight champion still couldn’t help but emphasize that Crawford’s willingness shouldn’t be confused for the Omaha, Nebraska native having a legitimate chance to beat boxing’s biggest star at a weight at which the 33-year-old Alvarez is completely comfortable.
“I understand Crawford is a great fighter and he wants to go up to 168 to fight Canelo,” Benavidez said. “But if you ask somebody at 112 pounds to come up and fight Canelo, they’ll go up to fight Canelo. You know what I mean? So, it’s just basically everybody wants the fight. But, you know, we as fans deserve competitive fights. You know what I mean? And that’s why I feel like Canelo doesn’t wanna fight me right now, because he knows it’s the most competitive fight. And I’m working like an animal in the gym, so that’s why he knows.”
The 26-year-old Benavidez will instead box unbeaten southpaw Demetrius Andrade in his next fight. Benavidez (27-0, 23 KOs) and Andrade (32-0, 19 KOs), a former junior middleweight and middleweight champion from Providence, Rhode Island, will headline a Showtime Pay-Per-View event November 25 at Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino’s Michelob ULTRA Arena in Las Vegas.
Crawford (40-0, 31 KOs), boxing’s undisputed welterweight champion, is contractually committed to an immediate rematch with Errol Spence Jr. (28-1, 22 KOs). A weight and a date for their second fight hasn’t been determined, however, and Crawford could fight someone other than Spence next if Spence, a former IBF/WBA/WBC champ, declines to face Crawford at the welterweight limit of 147 pounds again.
Crawford dropped Spence three times and stopped Spence, a southpaw from DeSoto, Texas, in the ninth round of their highly anticipated welterweight title unification fight July 29 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Mexico’s Alvarez (60-2-2, 39 KOs) is expected to return to the ring May 4 for the second bout of his three-fight agreement with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions. The four-division champion dominated Houston’s Charlo (35-2-1, 19 KOs) in his last fight, a 12-round, 168-pound championship bout he won unanimously September 30 at T-Mobile Arena.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.