David Benavidez couldn’t help but enjoy his recent encounter with Jermall Charlo, knowing it’s unlikely to lead to an actual fight anytime soon.
The pair of undefeated boxers and their respective teams exchanged harsh words and had to be separated at ringside for the Errol Spence-Yordenis Ugas Showtime Pay-Per-View card at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. The tense — but ultimately defused — situation was the final verbal exchange between Benavidez and Charlo, whether in person or via social media, with Benavidez keen for the rivalry to work its way to the ring.
The former two-time undefeated WBC super middleweight title doesn’t count on reciprocity.
“I think there is a big opportunity for the fight with Jermall Charlo to happen. I also feel like he’s the type to talk, talk and talk,” Benavidez told BoxingScene.com in the build-up to his May 21 WBC super middleweight title fight with David The best. “It’s an emergent habit, if you look at it. He did this to Danny Jacobs. He did this to Boo Boo Andrade. He does this to everyone he should fight, but those fights don’t happen.
“I just feel like he has no confidence in himself.
The feud has been brewing for years and still ends the same way – with Benavidez (25-0, 22KO) calling for a fight that ends up dying on the vine. Charlo (32-0, 22KOs) made headlines over a year ago with his list of reasons a fight with Benavidez wasn’t in his immediate plans.
“I don’t fight anyone under 25, and I don’t fight anyone who doesn’t take the COVID vaccine,” the WBC middleweight title list insisted last February, less than two months after Benavidez celebrated his 24th anniversary.
Benavidez turned 25 last December, though he’s not buying Charlo’s list of past claims as the reason a fight hasn’t happened yet.
“A lot of people like that who are outspoken and act like they’re tough outside the ring, they’re really scared to face you inside the ring,” Benavidez insists. “Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t have to act like that to show you that I’m tough. I know what I can do, I don’t have to scream and do crazy stuff to show you who I am I prefer to show you in the ring.
With that, Benavidez is moving forward with his own career. The upcoming fight with Lemieux will determine who is guaranteed to clinch the next title for the full WBC super middleweight title, which Benavidez has held twice before. The fight features a Showtime triple title from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, about 30 minutes from Benavidez’s hometown of Phoenix where he last fought in a seventh-round stoppage of Kyrone Davis last November.
A win on May 21 would ideally position Benavidez for a shot against undisputed super middleweight champion Saul ‘Canelo‘ Alvarez (57-1-2, 39KOs), although the Mexican superstar is on his own path this year.
That leaves Benavidez looking for his own big fights, preferably in the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) realm to take the politics out of the sport. Fights with Charlo and former IBF super middleweight titlist Caleb Plant (21-1, 12KOs) remain on his hit list, with the latter seemingly the more realistic option for later this year. If so, he’d rather not hear from Charlo again if it doesn’t lead him to see him in a fight that matters.
“It’s very unfortunate. They say it’s all about the money. It’s a big money fight,” Benavidez notes of twins Charlo, Jermall and Jermell. “Other than him and Canelo, the biggest fight to make at PBC is me and Jermall Charlo. It could be a massive, massive fight. It sucks because it’s the fans that are missing. I get a lot of shit too because they ask why we don’t do these fights.
“I’ve been trying to make this happen for a very long time. You can’t force someone to fight you. The only reason it doesn’t happen is because the other side doesn’t want to fight you. I’m all in. I’m a professional I’m ready to step in and fight these fights to show that I’m the best I’m ready to fight anybody I can’t say that for those other guys.
Jake Donovan is Senior Writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox