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The failure of David Benavidez

David Benavidez
David Benavidez failing to make weight speaks of poor discipline, writes George Gigney in his media review

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WITH plenty of televised action on both sides of the Atlantic, it was David Benavidez’ alarming lack of discipline that unfortunately stole my attention. The unbeaten Mexican-American lost his WBC super-middleweight title on the scales when he weighed in almost three pounds over the 168lb limit and didn’t attempt to take the excess weight off and weigh in again a few hours later.

He thrashed Alexis Angulo in the main event of the Showtime broadcast, but so what? This is the second time Benavidez – who is still only 23 – has been stripped of his world title. He tested positive for cocaine back in 2018 and the WBC relieved him of their title before he reclaimed it against Anthony Dirrell.

His 2018 hiccup was put down to the ignorance of youth and he was swiftly granted a second chance, but he’s wasted that now. This wasn’t a slight miscalculation on the scales; he knew full well he wouldn’t make weight. This isn’t a case of him being too big for the weight, either; as he stood on those scales, it was clear he had weight he could have safely taken off during training camp. It’s worth noting that one of Benavidez’ rivals – Callum Smith – is an enormous super-middleweight who routinely makes the championship weight.

The Showtime broadcast on fight night mentioned the missed weight – and how could they not? – but were too lenient on Benavidez. No, coming in overweight isn’t as serious as, say, testing positive for performance enhancing drugs, but it’s still a dangerous flouting of the rules – there are weight divisions for a reason.

Benavidez is a talented fighter but he’s now twice thrown away a world title – he should have to work his way back into contention by taking on worthy contenders.

On DAZN, Jessica McCaskill pulled off a huge upset to dethrone welterweight queen Cecilia Breakhus, but it was a bizarre piece of refereeing in the chief support that grabbed attention.

Israel Madrimov decked 37-year-old veteran Eric Walker with a scything left hook in the ninth round of their super-welter clash. Walker remained on the floor for at least a minute, unable to find his feet. Once up, he stumbled around, his senses evaporated. Referee Gary Ritter ordered for the fight to continue. Walker continued to receive unnecessary punishment right through to the final bell of the 12-rounder.

Ritter, who was behind Madrimov when the blow landed in the ninth, deemed that Madrimov’s shoulder had forced Walker down. He couldn’t have been more wrong; Walker was knocked out.

It was a dangerous call, and credit should go to the DAZN commentary team – particularly Sergio Mora – who were quick to point out Ritter’s mistake and claim the fight should have been stopped there and then.

Over in the UK, the usually boisterous York Hall remained empty of fans while the first genuine star boxed on a British show since lockdown began. Carl Frampton looked good while dispatching Darren Traynor on BT Sport in what ended up being a lightweight fight after Frampton’s team struggled to find an opponent.

It was obviously strange to see York Hall so quiet, though the extra room in the venue did allow BT to install an impressive setup.

We’ve had plenty of solid shows on TV since lockdown measures were eased a few weeks ago, but Frampton is the first household name to box on these shores. It’s an interesting milestone.

The Matchroom ‘Fight Camp’ series continued on Sky Sports with, admittedly, one of its weaker shows though there was an upset on the card; Rachel Ball outpointing Shannon Courtenay.

It was an impressive performance from Ball, who finds time to train alongside a full-time job. Unfortunately, she didn’t get much credit from the commentary team, who instead focused a lot on Courtenay, praising a lot of her work despite her clear struggles in the fight.

It was undoubtedly a close fight, but it’s a shame Ball didn’t get the praise she deserved – indeed, there was a fair amount of people online who labelled the decision a robbery, which it definitely was not.

MTK Global staged a show on the IFL TV YouTube channel on Wednesday night, with another upset taking place in the main event, where Jono Carroll was outpointed by Maxi Hughes.

The loss marks a rather dramatic fall for Carroll who, in his previous bout, turned in a career-best performance to defeat Scott Quigg in a Sky Sports main event. It’s unclear why he was boxing on a MTK show on YouTube rather than appearing on a ‘Fight Camp’ show, given that he’s aligned with Matchroom, but hopefully he can rebuild.

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Vasyl Lomachenko will reportedly take a slight pay cut in order to facilitate his mouth-watering clash with fellow lightweight titlist Teofimo Lopez.

It had been previously reported that talks for the bout were falling apart as Lopez was not happy with the $1.25m purse offered to him. However, The Athletic are now reporting that Lomachenko has agreed to take $250,000 less than he was guaranteed in order to bump Lopez’ purse up to $1.5m, a figure he is apparently happy with.

That’s a move of confidence from Lomachenko – taking a short-term hit for long-term gains should he win such a big fight. It’s apparently being targeted for October 17 in Las Vegas and would immediately become one of the most competitive fights on paper of the year once it’s booked.

Another fight that The Athletic are reporting is all but confirmed is Andy Ruiz’ return against Chris Arreola. Talk about a comedown.

Still, it’s fairly marketable – pitting two prominent Mexican-American heavyweights against each other isn’t the worst idea and, despite being 39, Arreola was in an exciting clash with Adam Kownacki last year.

For Ruiz, it’s a shot at redemption after his disappointing display against Anthony Joshua in their rematch late last year. That being said, a win over Arreola won’t exactly put him back in the title mix.

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