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By Steve Kim Updated on May 19, 2022

Benavidez Highlights Boxing Weekend

Highlighting this weekends boxing action is the clash between David Benavidez and David Lemieux from the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, which is the featured bout on the latest installment of Showtime Championship Boxing.

Up for grabs is the WBC interim super middleweight title.

That probably doesn't excite most of you, but in theory it does put the winner in line to face Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez, who despite his loss a few weeks ago to WBA light heavyweight champion, Dmitry Bivol, is still the undisputed champion at 168.

WBC

Many believe that the offensive buzzsaw is still the most dangerous threat to Canelo (short of Bivol stepping down to super middleweight), who unified this weight class recently by besting Callum Smith at the end of 2020, and then stopping the likes of Billy Joe Saunders and Caleb Plant last year.

While certainly a notable accomplishment, there are some who point out that during his campaign to capture all the titles in this division, that the iconic Mexican didn't face the 25 year old Benavidez. 

But it has to be noted that much of this is on him, given that Benavidez is actually a two-time WBC super middleweight champion, but has lost the belt twice without ever losing inside the ring. That has to be some sort of record. First he was stripped for testing positive for cocaine a few years back, and then for not making weight before facing Roamer Alexis Angulo in 2020.

With that said, Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) is rated first by Ring Magazine at super middleweight (with Canelo being the Ring Champion), and he has a fan-friendly style that will certainly make for a bout with him entertaining at the very least.

As for Lemieux (43-4, 36 KOs), the former IBF middleweight champion, you wonder if he has one more good left hook in back pocket. He's at least a few years past his physical prime, and his most natural weight is 160 

The expectation is that Lemieux will go down swinging, and Benavidez will continue his march for a showdown with Alvarez.

 

TOP RANK

Meanwhile at the Resorts World Las Vegas, ESPN has a card that features the battle for the vacant WBO middleweight title between Janibek Alimkhanuly and Danny 'Dig Dug' Dignum.

Despite just 11 bouts under his belt Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7 KOs) is a respected boxer. The native of Kazakhstan is rated sixth in the Ring rankings at middleweight. Demetrius Andrade was the WBO middleweight titlist, who made the decision to move up and fight for their title at 168. So then it was Jaime Munguia and Alimkhanuly were were left to fight for this belt.

Top Rank

Well, Munguia's side decided to go another route (and more on that later), and this is how we got to this particular bout. Its a shame we didn't to see 'Qazaq Style' against either Andrade or Munguia.

The co-feature for this telecast has the return of former WBO junior lightweight champion, Jamel Herring, who is matched with Jamaine Ortiz, who gave prospect Joseph Adorno, all he could handle last year in a disputed draw. 

With a victory, 'Semper Fi' Herring could be right back in the mix for a title shot at either 135 or 130.

 

DAZN

On Saturday afternoon(for us in the States), the action kicks off with a card from the O2 Arena in London, a pivotal all-British light heavyweight between Joshua Buatsi and Craig Richards. 

The highly touted Buatsi will try and remain undefeated by getting past Richards, who gave Dmitry Bivol a difficult time down the stretch in their fight last year. This isn't just for local bragging rights, but this bout is being billed as a WBA elimination bout. 

Matchroom Sports

Now, it was just last week where Gilberto 'Zurdo' Ramirez mowed down Dominic Boesel in four rounds, in what was also a WBA eliminator. (Yeah, they like their eliminators)

So who gets first dibs at Bivol? Ramirez, or the winner of this weeks tussle?

I'm told that much of what Bivol does is centered around the decision of Alvarez (who has a rematch clause for their fight that took place on May 7), and that he has nine months to fulfill his mandatory defense. 

Regardless, should Canelo eschew a second go-around with Bivol, he is left with some interesting options. Perhaps a full unification with the winner of the Artur Beterbiev-Joe Smith clash on June 18, or Ramirez on the west coast, or the winner of Buatsi-Richards in the UK.

 

FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

It was made official by Top Rank on Tuesday that the highly anticipated rematch between Naoyo Inoue and Nonito Donaire will take place on June 7 at the Saitama Super Arena in Japan. This bantamweight unification will be streamed by ESPN+.

Top Rank

 

There was much less enthusiasm from the boxing fans when Golden Boy Promotions announced that on June 11 that Jaime Munguia is being paired with Jimmy 'Kilrain' Kelly in a super middleweight contest at the Honda Center in Anaheim.

Yeah, this went over like a fart in church.

Kelly isn't a bad fighter. He's actually coming off a solid victory over the previously undefeated Kanat Islam in February but it's certainly a let down given that it seemed as though Munguia was on the verge of facing Jermall Charlo for the WBC middleweight belt, before the usual boxing politics got in the way. I wrote about it a few months ago on SNAC.com:

Jaime Pawnguia

Then there was talk of Munguia, facing Danny Jacobs in a crossroads bout. But word is that Jacobs and his team were asking for an exorbitant amount for that assignment. Perhaps they weren't aware the the gold rush of 2018 is long over, and that he's coming off a loss to John Ryder. 

Regardless, it has to be asked: what is the plan here for Munguia?

About Author
Benavidez Highlights Boxing Weekend
  • 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.