The boxing world was shocked recently when David Benavidez was stripped of his WBC super middleweight title and banned from the sport for a year.
Benavidez had just become the youngest 168 pound champion in history before it was all taken away suddenly.
With his career back on track, the Mexican has discussed the hurt he felt seeing Anthony Dirrell pick up his old belt.
“I felt it as soon as he fought for the belt in February because when I fought was it two or three weeks after that,” explained Benavidez. “It was very hard just to go through seeing him win the title that was mine.
“But he’s the ‘real champion’. He fought for the Vacant Title so I’m not going to take that away from him.”
Dirrell now stands in the way of Benavidez possibly becoming a two-time world title holder at the tender age of 22.
“Knowing that that was my belt that I have. I’m just coming in this fight very hungry, very motivated.
“I have about three and a half months of training. So I was very focused for this training camp. So this is the best thing that you guys are ever going to see.
“That you guys have seen actually, so I’m very excited to go in there and give a great fight and get my title back.”
On rumors of a deal with Caleb Plant or Callum Smith being in the works for a unification in 2020, Benavidez says his sole focus is September 28.
“I don’t hear any chatter at all. I just hear some people saying that that (Plant) would be a good fight,” he said. “To me personally he doesn’t tell me anything or I don’t hear anything from here.
“So it’s not hard to block something out when I don’t hear anything to start off with. But it’s the same thing as everybody else in the business.
“Caleb Plant, Anthony Dirrell, Callum Smith, there’s all these fights are great fights to be made. I just train and prepare for each fight that I have.
“So, yes it’s not hard at all. When it’s time for those fights to be made it’s going to be made.”
Asked about dealing with his suspension and lack of regular fight action, Benavidez said having people around him who cared was helpful.
“It was very important. When we got suspended for a year we didn’t know what to do with our time.
“Obviously we trained but it’s like when you’re training and you don’t have anything coming up, you just train. You go home and talk about the mistakes that lead you to that point.
“And I felt like I matured a lot from that point, just talking to my father and my father being around me, supporting me and my family supporting me through this whole situation.
“I feel like I’m very grateful just to have my family there with me always supporting me. At the end of the day, this is what I do it for. I don’t just do it for me. I do it for my family.
“Obviously I do it for my legacy when I get older too but I put my family before myself every time.
“So everything that’s good for me is good for them. I’m just very appreciative that they’re there supporting me no matter what,” he concluded.