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Benavidez: The fire in Uzcátegui’s eyes motivates me

Perhaps the biggest threat to Canelo Alvarez’s supremacy at 168lbs, David Benavidez hopes to press his claims for that opportunity when he meets former IBF king José Uzcátegui in a WBC title eliminator at the Footprint Center in Phoenix on August 28.

Two-time WBC champion Benavidez says the fire and ambition of Uzcátegui (31-4, 26 KOs) could prove the catalyst for a ‘fight of the year’ contender.

Boxing in his home city of Phoenix for the first time since May 2015, Mexican-American Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs) is expecting and welcoming a war against the battle-tested Venezuelan.

“I’m very excited for this fight. I’ve been training for eight weeks and I can’t wait. Uzcátegui is not an easy fighter. He’s an ex-world champion looking to be champion again, so we’re at a crossroads, and whoever wins knows they have a big fight coming,” said Benavidez, still only 24.

“I see the fire in Uzcátegui’s eyes and that motivates me. This might be the fight of the year. Don’t blink, because this one is going to be explosive.

“This is a big opportunity for whoever wins this fight. He’s been in this sport for a long time and has a lot of experience. This is the kind of fight we both need to get to the bigger dogs. I’ll fight whoever I have to in order to get back to the world title. I’m going to earn my opportunity any way it comes. 

“We both throw good power shots and we’re very similar fighters. When two bulls go toe-to-toe you’re going to get a war. This is going to be one of the best fights of the year. It’s a guaranteed war. 

“I know that I can hurt anybody. I’ve hurt everyone I’ve ever faced. I’m not ignorant though, I know that he has power, too. I think if I follow my game plan, I can definitely knock him out. No one has knocked him out, so I’m training hard to be the first person to do that. I go for the stoppage in every fight and I know he’s going to come for the same thing.”

Main image: Amanda Westcott/Showtime.