David Benavidez proved why he is one of the best pound-for-pound stars of the future with a dominant win over David Lemieux.
The former two-time WBC super-middleweight champion is on course for another shot at his old belt after crushing Lemieux in three rounds.
The WBC could order a fight with Canelo Alvarez by the end of the year.
The undefeated “El Bandera Roja” didn’t disappoint the hometown crowd as the Phoenix native secured a TKO against former world champion Lemieux.
In the process, Benavidez picked up the vacant Interim WBC belt at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona, and is now one step from Canelo.
The event took place on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® in an event presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) beat and battered a gutsy Lemieux (43-5, 36 KOs) from the opening bell knocking him to the canvas for the fifth time in his career midway through the second round on a massive uppercut that nearly sent Lemieux through the ropes.
Lemieux somehow survived the onslaught of Benavidez’s power punches and returned to action in the third round.
But Benavidez went right to work dishing out more and more punishment. Lemieux’s corner stepped in and signaled surrender to referee Harvey Dock, who waved off the fight with 1:31 remaining in the third round.
DAVID BENAVIDEZ – MEXICAN MONSTER
“Mike Tyson gave me the name ‘The Mexican Monster.’ What do you think I’m going to do?” Benavidez told Jim Gray after the fight.
“I feel like I’m the strongest 168-pounder. No one can mess with me.”
Too big. Too strong. Too good. @Benavidez300 earned the TKO win after Lemieux's corner stopped the fight in round 3. #BenavidezLemieux pic.twitter.com/IRg9Nqmj48
— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 22, 2022
Benavidez staggered Lemieux in the closing seconds of round one, the big blow a left hook that sent Lemieux into the ropes with Benavidez pouncing with a 10-punch combination of uppercuts, hooks, and straight jabs.
Dock later said he was about to stop the fight had the bell not rung to end the round.
“Lemieux is a special type of breed,” said Benavidez, who landed 49 percent of his total punches and 52 percent of his power punches. “This guy was swinging until the end. I had to be on my p’s and q’s.
“He’s a tough champion, so my hat’s off to him. He’s the only one with the guts to face me.”
Lemieux never backed down and told Gray he was impressed with Benavidez. “I’m good. Benavidez is a hell of a fighter,” Lemieux said.
“I congratulate him. After the first round, I was okay.
“He had gotten me with some good shots. I tried to come back, but he’s a very good fighter.”
David Benavidez said he wants the best the 168-pound division has to offer. “I’m waiting for [Caleb Plant, Jermall Charlo, David Morrell] to sign the contract.
“They know what’s up. I’m right here waiting for them. I’ll put myself up against everyone. I guarantee I’m knocking everyone out.
“I can get better everywhere. You can always learn. It only gets better from here. I’m just going to keep working. Facing tough guys like Lemieux just pushes me to keep moving to the next level.”
In the co-feature, hard-hitting Cuban prospect Yoelvis Gómez had his knockout streak ended at five but still dominated Mexico’s Jorge Cota in a 10-round super welterweight shutout.
The scores were 100-90 three times.
Rising Dominican prospect Luis “The Twist” Núñez danced his way to a unanimous decision over fellow unbeaten Jonathan Fierro in an exciting and close 10-round featherweight bout in the SHOWTIME opener.
The scores were 96-94 in favor of Núñez on all three judges’ scorecards.
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