David Benavidez’s Wait for a Canelo Alvarez Fight Could Keep Dragging

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WBC president Mauricio Sulaiman believes David Benavidez is content to play the waiting game before getting his opportunity to face Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.

Benavidez is moving up in weight to face Ukraine’s Oleksandr Gvozdyk in June for a light heavyweight title, having missed out – this time, at least – on the sweepstakes to meet boxing’s franchise player, Canelo.

Canelo holds all of the gold at 168 pounds, and the queue to face him at super middleweight is long. 

Benavidez has grown impatient and has moved up in weight now, seeking opportunities elsewhere, and Canelo has given no signs he is keen to give Benavidez a shot – other than saying his price for the bout would be north of $150 million.

“Well, it’s a great fight that a lot of people want to see,” admitted Sulaiman of Canelo-Benavidez. “[David] Benavidez is moving up in weight to light heavyweight in June, and he will then decide which weight category he will continue in – whether he comes back to 168 [pounds] or he remains at 175.”

With many unable to get the two fighters to the negotiating table, would Sulaiman like to play his part to make the fight happen?

“Yes, of course,” he said. “The thing is that the world has changed so much.

“Everything is so instant and immediate that there’s a rush for things to happen; sometimes they haven’t finalized that whole cycle. A big fight needs to take place at the right moment, at the right time, at the right scenario and [the right] conditions for the fighter. So I’m positive Benavidez is happy, Canelo is fighting May 4 [against Jaime Munguia], Benavidez is fighting in June, so we will see.”

The fight, however, is red-hot now and there are two different times to make a big fight: when it would deliver the most entertainment or when it would make the most money. The two are not always the same. Financially, Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Manny Pacquiao took place at the right time, but as a sporting contest it would have likely been better had it taken place five years before it eventually did in 2015.

Sulaiman agrees that the timing is now good for Alvarez-Benavidez, but he knows it can grow as an event further still – and that will mean the fight might not happen for some time.

“At the moment, for these two fighters, yes, at this level, the money they expect. … When they’re younger, trying to become champions, there’s unifications. At this time … Canelo, Benavidez, they’re looking for the best scenario with the best money.” 

Which means that, on May 4, Canelo will fight Munguia at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas and Benavidez will head down a different path. Sulaiman also believes Munguia could prove to be a stumbling block for his fellow Mexican.

“Yeah, it can get in the way,” Sulaiman said of the May 4 fight. “Munguia is a top challenger. It’s going to be a great fight and he can get in the way of Canelo-Benavidez.”

Tris Dixon covered his first amateur boxing fight in 1996. The former editor of Boxing News, he has written for a number of international publications and newspapers, including GQ and Men’s Health, and is a Board member for the Ringside Charitable Trust and The Ring of Brotherhood. He is a former boxing broadcaster for TNT Sports and hosts the popular Boxing Life Stories podcast. Dixon is a British Boxing Hall of Famer, an International Boxing Hall of Fame elector, is on The Ring ratings panel and the author of five boxing books, including “Damage: The Untold Story of Brain Trauma in Boxing,” “Warrior: A Champion’s Search For His Identity” and “The Road to Nowhere: A Journey Through Boxings’ Wastelands.”

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