David Benavidez’s performance last Saturday night in his debut at 175 against Oleksandr Gvozdyk showed that he has a limited future at light heavyweight.

The Inevitable Fall

The fight showed that Benavidez lacks the pop in his punch at 175 to be one of the major players in the weight class and will be exposed once he gets in against one of the champions or if he faces David Morrell.

Benavidez (29-0, 24 KOs) says he wants to return to the 168-lb division, which is a good idea. Still, he plans on returning to 175 to fight for the winner of the undisputed light heavyweight championship between Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev.

The money Benavidez can get from the Saudis for fighting the Bivol-Beterbiev winner will be huge for the ‘Mexican Monster’ and a salve for his wounded pride when he’s beaten and exposed.

Skipping Steps, Ignoring Reality

Ideally, Benavidez should prove himself before fighting for the undisputed by facing Morrell, Willy Hutchinson, Anthony Yarde, or Joshua Buatsi. Even fighting the loser of the Bivol vs. Beterbiev fight would be an excellent way for Benavidez to prove that he belongs fighting for the undisputed at 175.

The way that Benavidez is getting a fast title shot at light heavyweight sends a bad message to fans and other fighters because he’s not earned it.

Boxing is a business, though, and Benavidez is being vaulted to the top at 175 without being made to prove himself because a fight between him and the Bivol-Beterbiev fight will make money. It has nothing to do with true competition.

If this were the NFL, Benavidez would need to go through the playoffs and beat increasingly better competition to get to the Super Bowl. That’s not happening here. Benavidez has beaten an older fighter, Gvozdyk, just off of a four-year retirement, and now he gets to fight for the undisputed at 175.

The Bleak Reality

Benavidez has no chance against the winner of the Bivol vs. Benavidez fight or even the loser. He’ll take his loss and many millions and return to the 168-lb division afterward to continue to hound Canelo Alvarez.

“I don’t think he beats Bivol, but a fight against Beterbiev is very exciting. I just saw Bivol put on a good performance at the 5v5 card where he looked so good, so sleek, so slick,” said analyst Gareth A. Davies to Charlie Parson’s YouTube channel on David Benavidez’s ability to fight at 175.

Gareth’s comments about Benavidez being over his head against Bivol are in line with the boxing public’s. They witnessed how poor David looked against Gvozdyk and don’t see him as having any chance against the WBA 175-lb champion or Beterbiev.

“I think Bivol is a very hard fight for Benavidez,” said Gareth. “I think Beterbiev is a better fight for him stylistically, but he’s [Benavidez] a big guy. He cuts it at 175, but it’s at 168, a 12-stone super middleweight, where I think he’s at the peak of his powers.”

IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Beterbiev (20-0, 20 KOs) would be an even harder fight for Benavidez than Bivol, as he would be facing a huge puncher that would be hitting him hard all night. Gvozdyk didn’t load up on his punches, but he still had Benavdez’s face looked like a train wreck afterward.

“Again, stylistically, it works,” said Gareth when asked about a fight between Benavidez and David Morrell. “The thing about Benavidez is, he’s a crowd-pleaser. The thing about Benavidez is he wants to go in there and fight.”

Benavidez isn’t going to fight Morrell because it’s too risky. The Cuban would likely weed him out, missing his opportunity to face the Beterbiev vs. Bivol winner for big money in Saudi Arabia.

Benavidez will play it safe now that he’s mandatory for that fight, taking a soft, stay-busy match at 168 while he waits for the smoke to clear.

“He’ll fight anybody, and the other thing about Benavidez is that he’ll be very disappointed at the end of his career without Saul Canelo Alvarez on the other side, win or lose that fight,” said Gareth.

Read the full article here