Avila Perspective, Chap. 255: Benavidez-Andrade and the National Boxing HOF


By David A. Avila

LOS ANGELES-Smack in the middle of downtown Los Angeles two champions David Benavidez and Demetrius Andrade met on Thursday to announce their upcoming collision to decide the next best super middleweight in the world.

“F Canelo,” said Andrade alluding to current undisputed champion Saul Alvarez.

The two undefeated super middleweights Benavidez (27-0, 23 Kos) and Andrade (32-0, 19 Kos) meet on November 25, at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino in Las Vegas. Showtime pay-per-view will televise the TGB Promotions card.

Both clamored to meet Alvarez and both were rebuffed. Along the way they saw each other and realized they could stir up a lightning storm by fighting each other.

“Everybody wants the Canelo fight, but what I respect about these two men in this fight is that they aren’t waiting to get a phone call. They are going out and making their case by taking tough fights and taking risks. That’s what this sport is all about. On November 25, nobody is avoiding anyone,” said Stephen Espinoza president of Showtime Sports.

For hardcore boxing fans this is one step below the top of Mt. Everest. For the fighters this is like playing roulette and betting on red or black.

In the case of Benavidez, at 26 years old the tall fearsome fighter originally from Phoenix, Arizona has already won two super middleweight titles. He’s been chasing Canelo for several years and took out frustrations against Anthony Dirrell, David Lemieux and Caleb Plant.

Against Plant, he gained not only a win, but new followers convinced that Benavidez might be the next great champion.

Andrade, 35, a former Olympian, has physically chased Canelo at a post-fight press conference in Texas and harassed the redhead. It caused more derision and probably any further hopes of an actual meeting in the boxing ring. The Rhode Island-based fighter won a super welterweight title by defeating Vanes Martirosyan back in 2013. After numerous defenses he moved up to middleweight in 2018 and defeated Namibia’s Walter Kautondokwa for the WBO title. Now he’s a super middleweight.

I first saw Andrade fight years ago in Las Vegas when he met Alberto Herrera and won by decision after eight rounds. It was the semi-main event for the cataclysmic match between Mauricio “El Maestro” Herrera and Ruslan Provodnikov in January 20011. That was the Fight of the Year and a victory for older brother Herrera.

You never know who will emerge and who will descend in this business.

Benavidez and Andrade are tall southpaw fighters with completely different styles.

“He’s a very technical fighter. He’s a champion in two different weight classes. When you get a fighter like this, it’s 50-50. He’s a threat to anybody. A lot of people wouldn’t take the fight with him because they know he’s a problem. But for me, I want to be the best,” said Benavidez with a look of respect toward Andrade.

Andrade showed mutual respect toward Benavidez.

“This is the Super Bowl of the 168-pound division,” said Andrade looking deliriously happy. “This is the biggest fight that can be made. The two most avoided fighters. Yes, I haven’t fought the best because the best doesn’t want to fight me. He (Benavidez) can have that same claim. But the time is now. This is the fight.”

Tom Brown, head of TGB Promotions, is convinced the winner will get a shot at the undisputed champion.

“The winner of this fight will emerge as a clear frontrunner for boxing’s biggest superstar, Canelo Alvarez,” said Brown.

Maybe the chase for Canelo will be over.

Meet Boxing Greats in SoCal

More than a few boxing greats will take part in a Saturday morning event tomorrow Oct. 14, at Stevens Steak House in Commerce, California. Called “15 Rounds Down Memory Lane” it begins at 11 a.m. and ends at 3 p.m.

The National Boxing Hall of Fame group will host a meet and greet to celebrate the ever-growing boxing clubs of the Southern California area that have provided fans with more than a century of prizefighting.

Linda Dempsey Young said the NBHOF has produced events for more than 20 years. It recently staged its induction ceremony this past April. Among those inducted were Roberto Duran, Bridgett Riley, Ray “Boom, Boom” Mancini, Graciela Casillas and Yory Boy Campas among others.

Young said Puerto Rico’s Felix Trinidad may be attending the event that will include many stars and champions of the past.

Tickets are available and space is limited. Go to www.NationalBoxingHallofFame.com

For more information call (818) 621-2249.

Upcoming Boxing Events

All Star Boxing stages a fight card nearby at Commerce Casino on Saturday Oct. 14, that features undefeated light heavyweight Sonny McEwan (9-0, 5 KOs) versus super tall Marquice Weston (15-1-1, 8 KOs) in the main event. Weston is 6’7” in height.

Also, lightweights Rene Moreno (9-0, 4 KOs) meets Cesar Villarraga (10-8-1) in the semi-main event.

For tickets and information call (323) 816-6200. Ages 14 and over only.

Fights to Watch

Sat. ESPN+ 2:55 p.m. Jhanibek Alimkhanuly (14-0) vs Vincenzo Gualtieri (21-0-1).

Sat. Showtime 7:30 p.m. Tim Tszyu (23-0) vs Brian Mendoza (22-2).

Photo credit: Al Applerose