Benavidez buoys title-shot bid in TKO of Lemieux

Boxing

The pace. The ability. The precision.

David Benavidez displayed all of these attributes on Saturday evening in opposition to David Lemieux. And in entrance of a rocking dwelling crowd, the undefeated Benavidez confirmed why he deserves one other shot at a title.

Benavidez bloodied and battered Lemieux and compelled a third-round stoppage on the Gila River Enviornment in Glendale, Arizona. Benavidez positions himself to be a compulsory challenger for the WBC’s tremendous middleweight title.

The 25-year-old former champion from Phoenix needed to indicate he is nearly as good as any of the opposite fighters within the division. He used Saturday evening to indicate what sort of drive he could be.

“I simply really feel I am the strongest 168-pounder,” Benavidez mentioned in his post-fight interview. “No person can mess with me.”

Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) entered the evening ranked as ESPN’s No. 2 tremendous middleweight behind Canelo Alvarez, the division’s undisputed champion. Lemieux is a former middleweight champion who misplaced his belt to a primary Gennadiy “GGG” Golovkin in 2015 however hadn’t fought for a title in 5 years.

Shortly, it was simple to see why Benavidez was the overwhelming favourite main as much as the struggle.

On the finish of the primary spherical, Benavidez rocked the smaller Canadian fighter with a left hook that despatched him into the nook. Referee Harvey Dock watched as Benavidez unloaded a barrage of punches and grabbed Lemieux as quickly because the bell rang. Issues solely bought worse from there. A jab despatched Lemieux (43-5, 36 KOs) via the ropes within the first 30 seconds of the second spherical. Lemieux’s face was coated in blood that transferred over to Benavidez’s proper bicep as the favourite saved whacking away.

Midway via the third spherical, Lemieux’s nook determined sufficient was sufficient and requested Dock to cease the struggle. In response to CompuBox, 58 of Benavidez’s 74 landed punches have been energy pictures.

“Undoubtedly tonight was not my evening,” Lemieux mentioned in his post-fight interview, including that he nonetheless hadn’t made any choices about persevering with his profession following the loss.

For Benavidez, the bout was the most recent in a string of contests designed to fabricate both a title shot or a crack at a few of the extra respected names within the division. Benavidez has beforehand held the WBC’s 168-pound belt on two totally different events however has been stripped twice – as soon as in 2018 for a optimistic cocaine check and once more in 2020 for lacking weight.

The win provides Benavidez the WBC’s interim title, which theoretically means he ought to get an opportunity on the sanctioning physique’s high prize within the division.

Whether or not that occurs or Benavidez will get the problem he is on the lookout for stays to be seen.

“My hat’s off to David Lemieux,” Benavidez mentioned. “As a result of he is the one one who had the balls to take the struggle with me.”

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