In the co-main event to Errol Spence v Mikey Garcia, unbeaten former 168-pound world champion David Benavidez (21-0, 18 KOs) dominated J’Leon Love (24-3-1, 13 KOs).
Benavidez earned a second-round stoppage in their super middleweight matchup.
“It’s a dream come true to fight on this stage in front of these fans,” said Benavidez. “These fans give me the motivation to get up every day and go the extra mile.”
From the opening bell, Love sought to crowd the taller Benavidez. But the 22-year-old Benavidez quickly made him pay.
The ex-WBC ruler landed a powerful left hook that stunned Love.
Love was able to last the round, but took more powerful hooks from Benavidez before the bell.
“I expected to knock him out. But when I hit him with the first god shot, I knew he wasn’t going to last,” said Benavidez. “I tried to pace myself. But it wasn’t necessary tonight.”
Benavidez wasted little time in the second round, delivering power shots that put Love on the run. Benavidez caught Love with a clean combo on the ropes that stunned him. The move forced referee Laurence Cole to jump in and stop the bout 1:14 into round two. Just as Benavidez began to throw furious combos.
“He was getting his shots off, but I don’t think I was taking too much punishment,” said Love. “I wasn’t out of the game completely but he did catch me with a couple good shots.”
After the bout, Benavidez set his sights on WBC Super Middleweight Champion Anthony Dirrell, who was in attendance at the fight.
“I saw Anthony Dirrell with the WBC belt. He can’t call himself the champion until he fights me. That’s my belt. I’m going to go get it. It’s mine.”
WBN Note: The WBC released a statement on Friday outlining their intent to rule on the matter soon.
Benavidez was due to face Dirrell as mandatory, although a controversial ending against Avni Yildirim means the WBC have a situation to clear up.