BACK TO K-9 KIM’S CORNER

By Steve Kim Updated on May 23, 2022

Benavidez and Janibek do 'the Chris Rock'

There is a famous riff from Chris Rock where he stated that those who did such tasks such as taking care of their kids, shouldn't really be given too much credit for it. Or those who have never been to jail shouldn't be celebrated.

Hey, what do they want? A cookie?

After all, that's what they're supposed to do.

Which is precisely what Janibek Alimkhanuly (who from now on will be referred to as just 'Janibek') and David Benavidez did on Saturday night, as they squashed overmatched foes. Yes, they were impressive in blowing out Danny Dignum and David Lemieux (in two and three rounds, respectively), but again..

They did what they were supposed to do.

Mikey Williams/Top Rank

Janibek captured the WBO interim middleweight title with a highlight reel KO that was perfectly executed with a left uppercut at the Resorts World Las Vegas in front of a national audience watching on ESPN. Under the tutelage of Buddy McGirt, this Kazak has steadily improved and despite just a dozen bouts under his belt (12-0, 8 KOs), he emphatically stamped his arrival as a player in the 160-pound class.

All the Angles of Janibek Highlight Reel KO Over Dignum, Wants Charlo or Andrade Next | HIGHLIGHTS

He's a strong punching southpaw, with an impressive set of skills, who is well built and oozes confidence.  Just 29 years old, it looks like his best boxing is still in front of him. Coming into the weekend, the Ring Magazine rated him sixth in the division, but that seems a bit low based on the eye test. Keep this in mind, the reason why he faced Dignum is because Demetrius Andrade vacated the WBO belt, and Jaime Munguia was once again steered towards the path of least resistance by Golden Boy Promotions.

 

The biggest quandary for Janibek's management (which is headed by Egis Klimas) and Top Rank is that he is the very definition of high risk-low reward. Yes, he is a formidable fighter, but one that has very little commercial appeal outside the hardcore fans, at the moment.

It will be interesting to see just who will be willing to face 'Qazaq Style' in the near future.

Later on that night at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, Benavidez dispatched Lemieux in short order as the featured performer on Showtime. Unfortunately, this was exactly the physical mismatch that nearly everyone had forecasted as this fight was announced a couple of months ago.

Esther Lin, Showtime Sports

While Lemieux was once a middleweight of note, he was nothing more than a bloated boxer against Benavidez, who looks more or less like a cruiserweight come fight nights. No matter what he threw, and how hard he tried, he could never dent the armor of Benavidez. But on the flip side, Lemieux was hurt by numerous clean shots that came from one of the most fearsome offensive machines in the sport. 

This contest was very close to coming to a conclusion in one round as Lemieux was hit by a barrage of power punches. Then he was sent to the canvas in the second, before a merciful corner threw in the towel during the third as he was getting hit with another torrent of leather.

David Benavidez vs. David Lemieux: Highlights | SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING

Benavidez, a former two-time WBC belt-holder at 168, with this effort created a real buzz for himself. The fact he faced a faded fighter, is overlooked by many, but much of this game is about perception. And now there is a vast sect of boxing fans who believe he is the greatest threat to Canelo Alvarez at super middleweight. Yeah, there could be some recency bias, but who wouldn't want to see that match-up down the line?  

Currently, Alvarez is the Ring Magazine champion in that division, with Benavidez rated as the top contender. 

Yet Alvarez, coming off an unsuccessful gambit versus WBA light heavyweight champion, Dmitry Bivol, is aligned with DAZN/Matchroom Sports for the time being, and will probably face arch-nemesis, Gennadiy Golovkin, for the third time in the fall. 

Esther Line, Showtime Sports

But that doesn't mean that there aren't other interesting options on his side of the street at PBC. There is a former super middleweight belt-holder, Caleb Plant, and also there has been a lot of chatter about WBC middleweight champion, Jermall Charlo, moving up. Here's the reality though, it takes two to tango, and they may look at Benavidez much the same way that current middleweights look at Janibek -- simply not worth the hassle. 

There's no doubting Benavidez's fighting spirit. It's clear that he wants these bouts. He could be stuck facing the inexperienced but talented David Morell (6-0, 5 KOs) in a fight that seems to have very little upside for him, but carries great peril.  Short of Canelo, he wants the much more well-known Plant and Charlo.

However, the feelings may not be mutual.

As Benavidez told Showtime's Jim Gray: "I'm waiting for them to send me the contract, 'dem bitches know whats up. I'm right here waiting for 'em."

 

BUATSI

Earlier in the day from the O2 Arena in London, Joshua Buatsi survived a second half charge from Craig Richards to win a hard-fought 12 round decision by the scores of 116-112, 115-113 and 115-113.

This bout was billed as a WBA eliminator(the second one in two weeks) which now means that both Gilberto Ramirez and Buatsi are in line to face Bivol, eventually. 

                       
Mark Robinson, Matchroom Sports

Buatsi is a sound and solid technician but this performance didn't give any indication that he is ready to topple Bivol. While he piled up early rounds and built a lead on the cards, he faded in the later rounds, and one aspect that was very apparent is that from the outside he would be very vulnerable to Bivol's steady jab and laser-like 1-2's down the middle with his lack of upper body movement.

Coming off this effort, most observers came away thinking that it is 'Zurdo' (who is coming off a fourth round TKO of Dominic Boesel) that is more prepared to face Bivol at the moment,  and that it's the 29 year old Buatsi (16-0, 13 KOs) who needs more seasoning.

 

SEMPER FI

It was one of those nights for Jamel Herring, who simply didn't have it down the stretch, as he lost to Jamaine Ortiz as the co-feature on ESPN. There were openings he simply couldn't exploit, and other times where he couldn't get out of the way of punches he saw coming.

No, he wasn't shot, but he did look like a faded fighter. 

And it was Ortiz who took control of the bout down the stretch to win by the scores of 96-94 and 97-93 (twice).

There was a realization from the affable Herring that Father Time has caught up to him. And with that he announced via Twitter on Saturday night:

Jamel Herring

Yes, while this is a sad occasion for him as an athlete, this is a career that should be celebrated. Herring, after getting released by PBC, found new life under the guidance of adviser, Jerry Casarez, and Top Rank. He was able to win a world-title, make some defenses (that came with good money) and just as importantly, parlayed that into a broadcasting career, and other business opportunities that will carry on well after his retirement from the sport. 

You'll be seeing him around at the fights for years to come. So it's not necessarily good-bye, but really a 'see you later', with Herring.

 

FINAL FLURRIES

Delonte 'Tiger' Johnson is looking more and more like a true blue-chip prospect...Karlos Balderas has all the physical tools for success, but it may be time to just make the move to lightweight....The best fight of the night was the eight round battle between Adam Lopez and William Encarnacion. Lopez had to overcome two early trips to the canvas to rally down the stretch and win a unanimous decision....Put Alan Babic on every pay-per-view show, the guy is entertaining....Speaking of which, can we get Nick Saban and Jimbo Fischer on a pay-per-view card. They can be paid in NIL's...Does anyone want to coach the Lakers?....I can be reached at k9kim@yahoo.com....

About Author
Benavidez and Janibek do 'the Chris Rock'
  • Hosted 'the Main Event' on KIEV 870, and then later XTRA AM1150 ( a three hour show devoted to boxing) from 1996 to 1999.
  • Joined one of the first boxing websites, 'House of Boxing' in 1999, and then later became one of the founders of Maxboxing, that started in 2001, till his departure in 2014.
  • From 2014 to 2018, he was the lead columnist for UCNlive.com.
  • Was a boxing reporter for ESPN.com from 2018 to 2020.
  • He has written for Ring Magazine, International Boxing Digest and Boxing News.
  • Is the co-host of 'the 3 Knockdown Rule' with Mario Lopez, which has become of the most popular boxing podcasts the past several years.
  • Steve has also served as an announcer and analyst for RingTV, Thompson Boxing, 360 Promotions and CBS Sports Network.