David Benavidez looks to start fresh against J’Leon Love
Former WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez ready for better things to come in 2019.
David Benavidez (20-0,17KOs) will take on J’Leon Love (24-2-1,13KOs) in the co-main event of Errol Spence Jr. vs. Mikey Garcia at the AT&T Stadium in Arlington on Mar. 16. For Benavidez, it is the kind of stage that he can use on his quest to become one of the top super middleweights.
“I’m extremely excited, you know,” said Benavidez. “It’s gonna be like what, 40,000 people that I’ma be fighting in front of? Co-main event you know, I’m very excited man. It’s like a dream come true fighting at Cowboys Stadium.”
In September 2017, Benavidez became the youngest super middleweight champion in history at age 20; after he defeated Ronald Gavril for the vacant WBC title by split decision. In a closely contested bout where Benavidez also tasted the canvas in the twelfth round, a rematch would take place.
Benavidez went on to win nearly every round in the rematch against Gavril in February 2018, and retained his title by unanimous decision. Then in August that same year, Benavidez tested positive for cocaine in a random sample collected by the VADA. As a result, he was stripped of the WBC title and given a four-month suspension.
“It was a little bit difficult, you know (what) I mean?” said Benavidez. “Because I beat myself for the belt basically. I basically got it taken away. But like I said, in 2019 we’re not taking no steps backward. We’re just going forward this whole year.”
Anthony Dirrell claimed the vacant WBC title in February with a technical split decision victory over Avni Yilidirim. While Benavidez is not looking past Love, he already has his sights set on Dirrell and other title holders at super middleweight.
“There’s a lot of good fights I know that could be made this year,” said Benavidez. “You know I mean, so I’m very excited. There’s Anthony Direll, Caleb Plant, maybe Callum Smith. You know, there’s a lot of good fights on the table. So I just gotta do my part, and hopefully I can face on of those fighters at the end of the year.”
Plant holds the IBF title, while Smith holds the WBA (Super) and THE RING super middleweight titles. A good performance against Love can help Benavidez get his hands back on another championship title.
“I’m looking to go in there and get a knockout,” said Benavidez. “I don’t see why I can’t get the knockout, you know I mean. I’ve been training extremely hard, three months training for this camp. And I’m just extremely ready.”