David Benavidez and David Lemieux will meet May 21 at the Footprint Arena in Benavidez’s hometown of Phoenix for a Premier Boxing Champions main event on Showtime, sources told ESPN on Friday.
ESPN reported in December that the boxers had signed contracts for the 168-pound fight that could line up the winner for a shot at a title held by Canelo Alvarez.
Already, Benavidez (25-0, 22 KO) is looking ahead. He won’t fight Canelo in 2022 after Alvarez chose a path that will lead to a September trilogy fight with Gennadiy Golovkin, so Benavidez expressed interest last month in a match with Demetrius Andrade.
The longtime middleweight champion drops to 168 pounds for a fight with Zach Parker which is scheduled for May 21 in the UK.
“I want to challenge myself,” said Benavidez, ESPN’s No. 2 super middleweight. “I’m tired of talking s— and going back and forth with fighters who don’t want to fight. It’s a waste of time. It’s a waste of energy. If a fighter wants to fight , that’s what I’m here for. I’m not here to be on social media and talk to everyone.”
Benavidez, who hits volume, has twice held a 168-pound title and has never lost it in the ring. Instead, the 25-year-old was stripped once after testing positive for cocaine and a second time after failing to gain weight.
Benavidez was expected to face Jose Uzcategui in November, but the fight was scrapped after Uzcategui tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance. Kyrone Davis stepped in on short notice and was stopped in the seventh round by Benavidez.
Lemieux (43-4, 35 KOs) promises to offer much more resistance. The former middleweight champion is 3-0 since dropping to 168 pounds and is ranked No. 8 by ESPN, but Lemieux has yet to fight anyone approaching the top 10. Now the 33-year-old will be installed as an underdog against Benavidez. in what takes the form of an all-action fight.
The Montreal native was one of boxing’s biggest punchers when he campaigned at 160 pounds. This includes a spectacular knockout of Curtis Stevens in 2017. During that middleweight run, he also picked up a TKO victory over Gabe Rosado. Among his title losses: a one-sided TKO loss to Golovkin and a lopsided decision loss to Billy Joe Saunders.