All That Glitters: Benavidez, Andrade, and the false economy of defending world titles

By Elliot Worsell

YOU will be hard pressed to find a better fight, statistically, than the one between David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade this Saturday (November 25) at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas. Together, the talented super-middleweights bring to the fight a record of 57-0 and have, at different points, held the following “world” titles: WBC super-middleweight; WBC interim super-middleweight; WBO middleweight; WBO super-welterweight. They have, in other words, both established themselves as not only successful fighters, as is indicated by their unbeaten records, but also champions who have excelled at a world-class level, both winning and defending various belts in various weight classes.

It is rather interesting, then, to consider that on Saturday night, when Benavidez and Andrade meet in order to advance to the next level, there will be no world titles on the line. Even more interesting than that, though, is the fact that instead of a negative this is deemed a positive and does absolutely nothing to detract from either the quality of the matchup or its importance. Indeed, if anything, the lack of world titles and the baggage they inevitably bring serves only to boil a matchup like this down to its essentials, allowing us to focus harder on the things that truly matter; that is, the abilities of the two boxers.

Without the messiness of belts, you see, boxing, in general, becomes a simpler and more accessible sport, which is something we have known for some time. An absence of them, such as in a fight like this, also has a way of shining a light on how unnecessary they are in terms of building a fight and how potentially damaging they can be in the context of building a fighter. After all, despite their successes as “world” champions, the likes of Benavidez and Andrade are anything but household names. In fact, one could go so far as to argue that their fight – which, on paper, should be a huge one – has in some ways, rather than been helped by it, been adversely affected by the fact they have both been world champions in the past.

This is particularly true in the case of Andrade, for whom a world title could even be viewed as something of a crutch or, worse, a poisoned chalice. Certainly, as champion, both at super-welterweight and middleweight, he was often accused of having developed an inflated view of himself, his worth, and his standing – a world champion, after all – which, in turn, may have prevented him chasing bigger fights, more lucrative ones, and putting his prime years to better use.

Demetrius Andrade

Demetrius Andrade (Ed Mulholland/Matchroom)

Now, at the age of 35, he at last gets a defining fight of sorts; or at least a fight in which he can prove his credentials and world-class ability. This despite the fact Andrade, 32-0 (19), won his first world title, the WBO’s super-welterweight belt, 10 years ago almost to the day.

Ask him and he will no doubt say that only goes to prove his longevity and greatness, but what it should signify as well is a lesson, both for Andrade and for others; those who win a world title and then buy into the idea, or illusion, that they are the number one in the world without doing anything else to prove it.

That’s not to say Andrade is entirely at fault, of course, for there is every chance he may have been avoided on account of his awkward style and undoubted quality. Yet what cannot be ignored, either, is that Andrade, as bizarre as it sounds, appears to have spent 10 years of his career accumulating world title wins, which in the end do little for his legacy, before then, in 2023, taking a fight with no belts on the line which could, who knows, represent the start of him building one.

For Benavidez, meanwhile, there is less of a concern as far as time. He, at 26, still has plenty on his side, yet he will also know, having flirted with the WBC super-middleweight belt since 2017, that it is about time he either did something with that belt or, as is true here, without it.

Taken out of his hands, perhaps, both the belt and the decision, Benavidez’s old WBC super-middleweight strap is currently the property of Saul “Canelo” Alvarez, which means there is no longer the temptation, if indeed there ever was, to seek comfort and safety with it in his possession. Now, conversely, Benavidez, 27-0 (23), must take fights like this one against Andrade in order to (a) increase his profile and therefore his marketability and (b) put himself in the shop window for a title fight against Alvarez. Should that then happen for Benavidez – which, if he wins this weekend, is a distinct possibility – he will at last know not only what it feels like to be involved in a world title fight in the truest sense, but also what it feels like to be a star; a very rich one at that.

David Benavidez (Getty Images)


News7g: Update the world's latest breaking news online of the day, breaking news, politics, society today, international mainstream news .Updated news 24/7: Entertainment, the World everyday world. Hot news, images, video clips that are updated quickly and reliably

Related Articles

Back to top button