Two-time WBC super-middleweight champion David Benavídez knows so much is at stake when he clashes with former IBF title holder José Uzcátegui at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona, on November 13.
Victory in the 168lbs title eliminator would cement the lofty ranking of WBC No.1 Benavídez and strengthen his position for a fight with the winner of the undisputed title showdown between Mexican star Canelo Alvarez and Nashville’s unbeaten Caleb Plant that takes place one week earlier.
Mexican-American Benavídez would obviously prefer that to be Canelo, but feels that meaningful fights against Alvarez, Plant and WBC middleweight king Jermall Charlo lie in his future. The battle-hardened Uzcátegui stands in his way.
“Uzcátegui is a tough competitor and he was a former world champion, so I have to give him that respect,” said Benavídez. “There are big fights on the horizon for me, so I have to prepare accordingly for Uzcátegui. I feel like I’m the better fighter. I have the better skills, more power, more speed and I’m hungrier, too. It’s going to be a great night for my team. I feel like I’m going to go in there and get the knockout victory.
“We’re just focused on Uzcátegui, but of course there are bigger fights for me in the future. If I win this fight, I’m in the number one spot for whoever wins between Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant.
“Facing Canelo would be a huge fight in the super-middleweight division, but I have to go out there on November 13 and get this victory first. Right now, with the level I’m at, the fighters that I’m seeking to fight are champions and former champions. Whether it’s Canelo, Plant or Jermall Charlo, I feel like we’re all going to end up facing each other at some point.
“Canelo vs. Plant is a great fight for the division. It’s a fight where both guys have a lot to prove. Those kinds of fights tend to bring the best out of everybody. There’s a lot of pressure and a lot of glory on the line, so I feel like they’re going to be the best they’ve ever been. I’m going to be ready for the winner next.
“I’ve been a pro for eight years already. I just want the biggest fights out there. This is the level I’ve been working to get to for a long time, and we’re finally here at this moment. I want to fight the best of the best and prove myself. I want to show that I’m the best super-middleweight in the world.”
Main image: Esther Lin/Showtime.