Unbeaten two-time world champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavídez and former world champion David Lemieux previewed their 12-round showdown for the vacant Interim WBC Super Middleweight Title.
Both knockout artists forecasting fireworks during a virtual press conference Tuesday before headlining live on SHOWTIME Saturday, May 21 from Gila River Arena in Glendale, Ariz. in a Premier Boxing Champions event.
The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® telecast begins at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT headlined by Benavídez returning to fight in his home state of Arizona for the second-straight outing after delivering a knockout victory over Kyrone Davis in November 2021 on SHOWTIME.
He will be taking on a hard-hitting former champion in Lemieux, making May 21 a clash of power punchers, as the two fighters have combined for 58 knockouts in their 68 wins (85% KO rate).
“I’m very excited to go into this fight against Lemieux, because he’s a guy I’ve watched for a long time and I like his style. We both have similar styles because we go for the knockout. That gets me very excited and motivates me a lot.
“I train extremely hard to make sure I get the knockout. I just feel like I’m at my peak right now. I have a lot of skills, power and great experience. I know it won’t be easy, but I’ve done everything right in the gym.
“I see flaws in David’s game and I’m sure he sees flaws in me. I know he wants to stop me, and I want to stop him. This is going to be a great fight for the fans. This could be the Fight of the Year because of what’s at stake and because of the type of fighters we are. We’re two bulls going in there to see who has the most heart.
“I just want everyone to see that I’m the best in this weight class. I’m only looking at the fight in front of me. I have to win this fight before I can win anything else. But I do feel like everyone knows where I stand in this division. I’ve been calling out the best and I respect Lemieux for stepping up to take this fight.
“I wanted to fight back in Arizona again because we had a great event in November. This is my first title fight back at home and it’s a dream come true for me. Everything has fallen into place for me. I’ve had an amazing camp and I’m preparing for a great opponent. This has all the makings for a great fight. The energy is right. This is one of the biggest fights of my life and that’s how seriously I’m taking it.
“We’ve been in camp for a long time and we’ve been feeding off of each other’s energy. I’ve been putting in the work and getting my miles in. Seeing Jose Valenzuela and Diego Pacheco have great victories gives me even more energy. We’re all like brothers and we all push each other.
“I’m expecting a great fight. David Benavídez is a very tough fighter. We’ve been watching him for a while. He’s always very exciting. His style of fighting – he comes to fight – there’s no messing around with him. That’s my style too. Two bulls going in there and may the best man win this title. We want that WBC belt around my waste and I’m planning on having it on fight night.
“I know it’s a difficult fight. I’m training very hard and doing everything I need to do inside the gym. I don’t want to lose this opportunity. I know Benavídez is a great fighter. I’m going to work very hard and bring the best that David Lemieux can bring. I’m leaving with the WBC title on fight night.
“I do believe that my power will translate at 168 pounds. I’ve been working a lot to integrate into the 168-pound division and I believe my power will be at its peak on fight night. Benavídez is a big guy. We know that. But we’re preparing and we have the right sparring partners. I’m going to go in there and be very strong. It’s been a long time since I’ve had an opponent like Benavídez, but I’m excited. I’m very hyped up about this fight. I know what a victory will do for my career and I won’t miss my shot.
“It’s definitely a big task in front of me. When I sat down with my team and Benavídez’s name came up, we knew it was a tough fight. He’s a tough fighter and a big guy, but we’re preparing and getting ready for him. It’s all in the preparation. Styles make fights. I have the style to hurt Benavídez and I’m training hard to beat this guy.
“Anything can be done, you just have to go out and do it. David Benavídez is a very good fighter but everybody is beatable. Nobody is invincible. That’s what we have to prove. There’s no cheating boxing. You train hard for a fight. You don’t underestimate your opponent and surprises can happen. I’m planning on bringing that title back home to Montreal.
“Regardless of your age, it’s really now or never in every fight in the boxing ring. You don’t get many chances to leave a good mark in the game, so every fight needs to be taken very seriously, especially a fight of this magnitude. There’s a lot at stake for me. I know I’m the underdog, but I don’t care. I’m just going in there to fight, underdog or not. I’ve been the underdog in the past and I’ve won the fights. It doesn’t really bother me.
“The eight pounds makes a world of a difference. 160 pounds was very difficult to make, especially towards the end. I feel great training at 168. I’m very comfortable making that weight. I’m training very hard, building strength and muscle and not worrying about cutting weight. I’m feeling great.
“I feel like I’ve been underestimated during my career. But the only way to come back is with a strong victory against an opponent of an elite level. That’s what I’m planning on doing on May 21.”