Earlier this month, Badou Jack and James DeGale showcased the super middleweight division in an action-packed unification fight that ended in a draw. Last weekend, undefeated prospect David Benavidez stole the spotlight again for the 168 pound division, scoring an impressive, Round 2 KO of Sherali Mamajonov on the Leo Santa Cruz-Carl Frampton undercard.
David Benavidez is the younger, larger brother of undefeated welterweight contender, Jose Benavidez. It might not be very long before he puts his older brother in his shadow.
Benadvidez has a lanky, 6’2.5″ frame and fights intelligently behind a stiff, accurate jab. He can box very well, but he is a natural puncher, throwing quick, well-leveraged blows from a variety of angles. So far he has knocked out 15 of 16 opponents.
Mamajonov was not a high-quality opponent, by any stretch of the imagination. He was giving up a half-foot in both height and reach to Benavidez. Benavidez may not have faced any true contenders, but he’s been in against experienced fighters with decent records. Mamajonov’s 14-2 record was padded with inexperienced cannon fodder.
Mamajonov was picked for this fight because he was an opponent Benavidez would have a great chance of looking good against.
But sometimes a prospects main job is to do what is expected of him. Benavidez did precisely that, using a stiff jab to frustrate and pester Mamajonov from long range, then pounding his torso and jolting him with uppercuts.
I still do not believe David Benavidez is ready for a belt holder like WBO champion Gilberto Ramirez, although that is a fight I would like to see him in at some point.
In the meantime, I would love to see Benavidez against fellow unbeaten Jesse Hart, a Philadelphia native with a similar frame and big-time knockout percentage.