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Arne’s Almanac: Benavidez vs Lemieux Tops the Busy Weekend Boxing Slate

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  • Arne’s Almanac: Benavidez vs Lemieux Tops the Busy Weekend Boxing Slate

    Click image for larger version  Name:	benavidez.PNG Views:	0 Size:	279.5 KB ID:	21415

    By Arne K. Lang

    The marquee event on this weekend’s boxing slate will be held at the Gila River Arena in Glendale Arizona, the recent home of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes, where David Benavidez meets David Lemieux in a match stamped as a WBC interim title fight in the super middleweight division. Showtime will televise.

    It’s a homecoming for the 25-year-old Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) who has the seemingly incongruous distinction of being both undefeated and a former two-time world title-holder. He was stripped of his first title after a failed drug test and his second title reign ended when he came in overweight.

    The 33-year-old Lemieux, from Montreal, is one of the sport’s hardest punchers (check out his brutal one-punch knockout of Gary “Spike” O’Sullivan). He’s won five straight since being schooled by Billy Joe Saunders, elevating his record to 43-4 (20), but he’s moving up in weight against an opponent who is taller and younger and more technically proficient. The bookies don’t like his chances. Benavidez is in the vicinity of a 15/1 favorite.

    Benavidez has been calling out Canelo Alvarez for some time. Canelo’s 168-pound belts were not at risk in his engagement with Dmitry Bivol. However, barring a big upset, Benavidez is more likely to fight Caleb Plant or England’s John Ryder next.

    The undercard is deep but not particularly interesting with the exception of the TV opener, a crossroads fight between precocious featherweight prospects Luis Reynaldo Nunez (16-0, 12 KOs) and Jonathan Javier Fierro (13-0, 12 KOs). Nunez, 22 is from the Dominican Republic. Fierro, who is only 18 years old, fights out of Guadalajara, Mexico.

    Meng vs Pascal

    The action gets underway tonight (Friday, May 20) in Plant City, Florida, where Fanlong Meng, rated #1 by the IBF at 175 pounds, steps up in class to meet veteran Jean Pascal.

    The 34-year-old-Meng, a 2012 Olympian and currently undefeated (17-0, 10 KOs), will have a three-and-a-half-inch height advantage over his 39-year-old opponent. However, assuming he is still in shape – this will be his first fight in 29 months -- Pascal (35-6-1, 20 KOs) won’t be an easy nut to crack. The Laval, Quebec resident from Haiti, a former two-division world title-holder, upset Badou Jack in his last outing, winning a split decision.

    Four 8-round fights in the junior welterweight division, the opening round of the “Last Chance” Tournament, precede the main event. The combatants are all former promising prospects whose careers have stalled or hit the skids. To take the most severe example, Kendo Castaneda, who boasts a 17-5 record but has lost five straight, takes on Sonny Frederickson who has lost his last four, dipping his record to 21-5.

    Some of these 140-pound fights should provide lively entertainment. They will air on ProBox TV (, a new streaming platform described as “the first and only global sports streaming and media company dedicated exclusively to professional boxing.” Subscriptions are being offered at the introductory rate of $1.99 per month or $18 per year.


    A Matchroom Matinee

    The Saturday docket includes a matinee for DAZN subscribers in North America. The featured bout, airing from London’s O2 Arena, is an all-South London showdown between light heavyweights Joshua Buatsi (15-0, 13 KOs) and Craig “Spider” Richards (17-2-1, 10 KOs).

    Buatsi, born in Ghana, was a bronze medalist for England at the 2016 Rio Olympics. His manager of record is Anthony Joshua. Richards is a former world title challenger who hunkers for a rematch with Dmitry Bivol to whom he lost a 12-round decision in May of last year.

    Alen Babic, whose fan-friendly fighting style has been compared to a typhoon, opposes Adam Balski in the co-feature. A victory for the wild-swinging Babic, who has answered the bell for only 29 rounds while building a 10-0, 10 KOs record, will reportedly propel the London-based Croatian into a WBC bridgerweight title fight with Oscar Rivas who won the inaugural bridgerweight title in October of last year in a slugfest with fellow Canadian Ryan Rozicki. Balski, a 31-year-old Pole, brings a 16-1 record.

    In another bout of note, British junior welterweight Chantelle Cameron, who owns the WBC and IBF versions of the 140-pound title, looks to keep her undefeated (15-0, 8 KOs) record intact at the expense of Argentine challenger Victoria Noelia Bustos (23-6). Cameron is pointing toward a unification fight with Rhode Island’s Kali Reis who owns the other two pieces of the title.

    Top Rank in Las Vegas

    Top Rank returns to Resorts World on Saturday with an 11-bout card airing on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN+. The show kicks off earlier than usual with the main card on ESPN kicking off at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT.

    The main event, packaged as a WBO interim middleweight title fight, matches Janibek (Qazaq Style) Alimkhanuly (11-0, 7 KOs) against Danny Dignum (14-0-1, 8 KOs).

    Dignum and his team, a six-man traveling party, arrived in Las Vegas from London on Sunday. To fight in the main event of a boxing show in Las Vegas is a dream come true for the 30-year-old Brit (pictured on the right, photo courtesy of Mikey Williams) whose record includes a 3-0-1 mark in bouts sanctioned for the WBO European middleweight title.

    “I didn’t come here just to show up,” said Dignum at the pre-fight press conference. “I am going to cause a big upset and make a lot of fans.” However, he didn’t say it with a lot of conviction. He knows that he is the “B” side. Top Rank calls Janibek, trained by Buddy McGirt, one of boxing’s most-avoided fighters and the next big star from Kazakhstan.

    The opener on ESPN’s main platform showcases Cleveland welterweight Delante “Tiger” Johnson, a 2020 Olympian who looks to build upon his 3-0 record in a 6-rounder with Argentina’s Agustin Kucharski who is 8-4-1 and has never been stopped. The co-feature is an intriguing lightweight battle between Jamel Herring (23-3, 11 KOs) and Jamaine Ortiz, (15-0-1, 8 KOs), the latter of whom was the subject of a recent profile in these pages.

    On paper Ortiz, who hails from Worcester, Massachusetts, is moving up in class. In Jamel Herring, the ex-Marine, he is facing a former Olympian and former world title-holder. However, the oddsmakers deem this a very winnable fight for Ortiz who will enter the bout in the unaccustomed role of the favorite. Herring, moving back to lightweight, looked every bit his age (36) in his one-sided defeat to Shakur Stevenson.
    Last edited by AcidArne; 05-20-2022, 12:27 PM.

  • #2
    Benavidez is arrogantl and cocky. He is looking past Lemieux. I don't like his persona. The aging David has a puncher's chance. It would make my year in boxing if he waxed Benavidez.


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