Skip to content
Menu

David Benavidez Proclaims That He Will Be Even Faster At Light Heavyweight

"I feel like this is the perfect time for me to go up to 175," said Benavidez to Zenger News.

Canelo’s crazy demands made it an easy decision for “Monster” Benavidez to move up in weight.

Time waits on no man, and when opportunity knocks, you better be ready to answer the door. Enter David Benavidez, who for years appeared to be in line for a shot at boxing’s most prized pugilist, Canelo Alvarez. Although, at times the fight seemed like it had some legs, it never materialized past preliminary negotiations. Instead of waiting, Benavidez decided to move up 7-pounds to face, Oleksandr “The Nail” Gvozdyk. Benavidez-Gvozdyk will serve as the co-main event for the Gervonta Davis-Frank Martin fight on June 15th, live from the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will be a part of PBC’s new deal to broadcast fights on Amazon Prime.

We recently caught up with David Benavidez to discuss his upcoming bout, why waiting on Canelo wasn’t an option, and much more.

Although, you’re viewed as a big 168-pounder. How do you feel now that you’ve moved up to 175?

Benavidez: I feel good, man. I’ve been wanting to move up to 175 for a long time. I’ve been training extremely hard for this camp, and I feel like this is the perfect time for me to go up to 175. Canelo is holding all the belts hostage (at 168), he don’t want to give the fans what they want to see, so I said, is there a possibility for us to go up to 175? The opportunity presented itself, and now we’re here. Everything is looking great. I’m feeling strong, feeling fast, and this is a big card. This is a very big opportunity and I’m going to take full advantage.

David Benavidez (L) punches Demetrius Andrade in a WBC super middleweight title fight at Michelob ULTRA Arena. Benavidez retained his title with a TKO. DAVID BECKER/GETTY IMAGES.

Your fight against “The Nail” [Oleksandr Gvozdyk] could easily headline any card, but to be the co-main event for Gervonta Davis’ fight against Frank Martin shows the depths of this card. How does it feel to be a part of this big event?

Benavidez: It’s honestly a dream come true to me. When I got with PBC, I always wanted to fight on a card with “Tank.” But we started headlining our own cards, so I didn’t think it was going to be possible. This new deal with Amazon and PBC, they said, “Let’s go for it. Two big main events on one show.” This will be a treat for the fans. I’m excited for the fans because they get to come see two of the best fighters in the world on the same night. We’re going to rock that house on June 15th.

You and Gervonta seem to have a mutual respect for one another.

Benavidez: Yeah definitely! I’m a big fan of “Tank’s.” I’m a big boxing fan too. I’m a fan of all these fighters. But we work together with PBC, I respect him a lot. I think he is one of the best in the world. He is basically the Mike Tyson of our era, and he’s a great dude too, man. Him and his trainer, and his entire camp are great people. I’m happy we can work together and make this card for the fans.

In this era, not many guys fight three times in one year, Gvozdyk had 3 fights in 2023, you had 2, so I don’t think inactivity plays a part. What type of fight are you expecting?

Benavidez: I know his style very well. I sparred him a lot when I was like 20-years-old. I’m not going off of that, but I’m just saying that I kind of know what he does. I have prepared very well for this fight. He is a great fighter, a lot of amateur accolades, a world champion being one of the best fighters in the division in recent memory. He beat Adonis Stevenson. His only loss is to [Artur] Beterbiev, the main dude at 175. I’ve studied him and I feel like I know exactly what he’s going to do, but I’ve worked extremely hard. He could do something different in the fight. Whatever he brings to the table come June 15th, I’m going to be completely ready for it. I got something special for him.

You seem to have an uncanny ability to just move on and continue business as usual. You wanted the Canelo fight, it didn’t happen, and you moved on to your light heavyweight debut. Does that come from being avoided at times, just knowing the nature of the sport or what?

Benavidez: I’m never going to wait for one person to make something happen. Especially, if he’s not trying to give me the fight and I’ve done everything in my power. I don’t see Canelo asking for $200 million to fight anybody else. I didn’t see him asking that for [Terence] Crawford. I didn’t see him asking that for [Dmitry] Bivol. He wasn’t asking that for Beterbiev. Him asking that let’s me know that he doesn’t want the fight with me. But if he wants to leave that fight on the table, I think PBC is offering $65-$70 million. He talks about everybody wants the payday, well, I’m the biggest payday for him right now. That fight is on the table, if he wants to continue to let his fans down, business for me will continue as usual. I had it in my dreams to be a world champion, I didn’t think, I’m going to fight Canelo and my career is going to be over. I never thought like that. My main objective when I came into boxing was to become champion at whatever cost, whatever weight. I done everything, Canelo is holding the belts hostage at 168. There’s nothing I can do about that. So, this opportunity presented itself for the WBC interim title, we’re going to win that and we will be put in line to fight the winner of Beterbiev and Bivol and just keep going.

We don’t need you creating another “Monster” and from the looks of that footage you posted training with your son, that’s exactly what’s happening (laughing).

Benavidez: It’s crazy! I’ve always taken him to the gym since he was a baby. He loves it. He picked it up. He has my blood in his veins. Since he was 2-3 months old, I told him that he would be a world champion. He thinks he’s the champion. He’s not going to rest until he becomes the champion when he gets older. When he has free time he trains by himself. He honestly trains harder than a lot of pros that I know. I’m very excited to have a son that is going to follow in my footsteps and I’m going to support him 100% as he carries the Benavidez name and becomes champion.

David Benavidez walks to his corner at the end of a round in the interim WBC world super middleweight title fight against Caleb Plant. On November 25, at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade will square off. ERIK VERDOZC / LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL.

David Benavidez walks to his corner at the end of a round in the interim WBC world super middleweight title fight against Caleb Plant. On November 25, at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas, David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade will square off. ERIK VERDOZC / LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL.

If I have interviewed a thousand fighters, 999 of them said that they wouldn’t want their kids to become boxers. What’s different about you?

Benavidez: I feel like for us, we’re known for this. I made a lot of good money off of boxing. I’ve been able to change my life and my people’s lives. If I already know how this works, why would I not put this on my son. He loves doing it himself, so I can put him in position to become a world champion, become wealthy, and take care of his family… I feel like as his father, that’s my obligation to give him the best opportunities in his life.

As great as you are, as a fighter, you never know it all. You seemed to be dialed in when learning from the great Roy Jones. What was that moment like for you?

Benavidez: Those moments will be moments that I cherish in my life forever. I remember as a kid my son’s age, I was watching Roy Jones. Anything that Roy was telling me, I soaked it up. I was very happy to have him in front of me. He showed a lot of love, I showed love back, and it was a great memory and great moment.

What can we expect from the 175- pound version of David Benavidez?

Benavidez: I’m faster now. You guys are going to see. My volume is going to get even crazier. I’ve been working combinations this whole time, and I feel great. I feel faster than I did at 168, so the power and the speed is definitely coming up with me.

“What’s the latest with Florida Man?”

Get news, handpicked just for you, in your box.

Check out our free email newsletters

Recommended from our partners