David Benavidez dismantles Demetrius Andrade, calls out Canelo Alvarez

David Benavidez was asked after his knockout of Demetrius Andrade what Mike Tyson said during their short post-fight meeting at ringside.

“I just told Mike Tyson that I love him,” Benavidez said in the ring. “And thanks so much for the motivation he’s given me. It’s not every day that a legend like Mike Tyson gives people a nickname. I just want to live up to my name.”

The nickname Tyson bestowed upon him is “The Mexican Monster.” And, yes, he’s living up to it.

That was never more clear than on a dramatic Saturday night at Michelob Altra Anena in Las Vegas, where Benavidez dropped, pummeled and finally stopped one of the sport’s most avoided champions after the sixth round.

Benavidez, an “interim” beltholder, declared himself the best 168-pound champion in the world after the fight. That’s a notion an increasing number of knowledgeable observers are beginning to buy into but there is only one way to prove it.

He has to fight undisputed champion Canelo Alvarez, who Benavidez says he will chase until he finally meets him in the ring.

“I just solidified myself as the dominating performer that I am,” said Benavidez, who has twice held major super middleweight titles. “It was just a reminder of who the real champion at 168 is. They want to see me versus Canelo and that’s what we want to.

“I’m the youngest super middleweight champion in the world, I’m a three-time champion. Now give me the fight everyone wants to see.”

Alvarez obviously has no fear of Benavidez but perhaps he should. The 26-year-old from Phoenix looks all but unbeatable.

Andrade (32-1, 19 KOs) has been avoided over the past decade for a reason. The southpaw from Rhode Island, a 2008 U.S. Olympian, is skillful, athletic and has an awkward style that has befuddled almost all of his opponents.

And he got off to a good start Saturday, landing clean shots to the head and body and circling away before Benavidez could respond effectively in the first few rounds. It certainly looked as if Andrade belonged in the ring with Benavidez.

Things changed radically in an instant in the final seconds of Round 4, when a right from Benavidez put Andrade down and hurt him.

It was all Benavidez after that, as he unleashed as brutal a two-round beating as you’ll ever see in a boxing ring. The brave Andrade was willing and tried to fight back but he took terrible, relentless punishment for most of six minutes.

Finally, after Round 6, Andrade’s cornermen agreed that enough was enough and instructed referee Thomas Taylor to stop the fight. And the official, concerned himself, didn’t hesitate to do so.

Benavidez said he knew the knockout would come.

“Everyone says I’m not this, not that, that I’m flatfooted, I have no defense,” he said. “This guy has … a really good offense and he could barely hit me. That says a lot on its own. … I think the first (knockdown) shot I caught him with I dipped his left hand and came back with a right that hit [him] on the button.

“I knew I had to keep putting pressure on him because he wasn’t going to keep taking those shots.”

Andrade, who suffered his first loss, refused to acknowledge afterward that his conqueror is more skillful than him in spite of the beating he took.

He said the difference in the fight was Benavidez’s size advantage. Andrade is a former 154- and 160-pound titleholder who was taking part in only his second fight at 168.

“David is just a big dude,” Andrade said. “At the end of the day, he’s a hell of a fighter. I thought my skills would overwhelm him, but his size is what got his hand raised today.”

Benavidez isn’t bigger than Alvarez, who made his debut at 168 in 2018 and has fought twice at 175. And no one would say that Benavidez is more skillful than the Mexican superstar, who is one of the best of his generation.

Maybe those concepts and Benavidez’s increasing popularity will finally convince Alvarez to fight him, perhaps as soon as next Cinco de Mayo weekend.

“Want to see David Benavidez vs. Canelo Alvarez?” Benavidez bellowed to the spectators afterward. They responded with cheers, echoing the desires of all those dying to see the matchup.

“That,” he added, “says enough on its own right there.”


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