Here are the most eye-catching stories from this weekend’s boxing news and ring action:
– David Benavidez proved his status as top super middleweight contender to unified champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez with a brutally efficient victory over former Alvarez foe and former IBF champ Caleb Plant Saturday night atop a Showtime PPV event at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas.
The 26-year-old Benavidez had some issues early on in the contest against Plant, who worked to disrupt his rhythm with smart movement, a solid jab, and strategic clinching. Eventually, though, the Phoenix native wore Plant down and began to do some serious damage. By the ninth round, “The Mexican Monster” was firmly in control and putting a serious beating on a fatigued Plant, who was doing his best just to stay on his feet.
At the end of twelve rounds, the judges’ scorecards were unanimously in Benavidez’s favor with tallies of 115-113, 116-112, and 117-111. The victory earns the two-time super middleweight champ the interim WBC title and, more importantly, confirms his status as undisputed top contender to unified champ Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
“I just want to tell everyone that I have a lot of respect for Canelo Alvarez but he has to give me that shot now,” Benavidez said in his post-fight interview. “That’s what everyone wants to see. Let’s make it happen. Now the fans are calling for this fight, the legends are calling for this fight, so let’s make it happen.”
– On the stacked Benavidez-Plant undercard:
Jesus Ramos battered an overmatched and naturally smaller Joey Spencer from pillar to post, eventually forcing a seventh round corner stoppage. On paper, the battle of undefeated 22-year-old super welterweight prospects promised to hold some intrigue, but it became clear very early on in the contest that this would be a one-sided beatdown.
There was a note of controversy when Chris Colbert got the 95-94 tally on all three judges’ scorecards in his lightweight contest against Jose Valenzuela, despite getting dropped hard in the first round and being buzzed on a few other occasions. Colbert and Valenzuela were coming off high-profile losses in their last bouts and needed to get their careers back on track. Both did perform well Saturday night and seemed to come away in good shape, with Colbert getting the official win and Valenzuela being able to vigorously claim robbery.
Canada’s Cody Crowley kept his forward push going with a solid and decisive points victory over the always game Abel Ramos in a welterweight contest. Scored a majority decision, with judges tallies of 114-114, 116-112, and 115-113, the bout certainly looked more tilted in Crowley’s favor than what the scorecards said.
– After nearly a year of inactivity, former two-belt junior welterweight champion Jose Ramirez got back to business Saturday night at Save Mart Arena in his hometown of Fresno, California on ESPN, stopping former lightweight world champ Richard Commey in eleven rounds. Clearly in command throughout the fight, Ramirez dropped Commey in the eleventh round before putting him down again one last time with a digging body shot.
After the win, Ramirez called for a bout with current WBC junior welterweight champ Regis Prograis, despite having recently passed on a shot at Prograis’ title.
– Apparently, the proposed Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk heavyweight title unification bout, which has been on-again, off-again for weeks, is now officially dead. According to reports, the final end came over a dispute regarding the revenue split for the bout’s contractually mandated rematch. According to a report issued by ESPN’s Mike Coppinger, Usyk wanted a 70-30 revenue split in his favor if he came into the rematch as the victor while Fury wanted a 50-50 split coming into the rematch as a loser and 70-30 in his favor if he came in as the victor.