On Saturday night, former world champions will clash when David Benavidez faces David Lemieux. The interim WBC super-middleweight title is on the line. Live on Showtime, the action will be televised from Gila River Arena, Glendale, Arizona. It starts at 10 p.m. ET.
The winner of the fight becomes one of the mandatory challengers to Saul "Canelo” Alvarez, which can lead to another potential huge prize.
Benavidez (25-0; 22 KO) has repeatedly proven that he is one boxing's most talented talents, but his own mistakes have kept him from greater things in the past. He has lost the WBC super-middleweight title twice, once for testing positive for cocaine and again for losing weight. If Benavidez hadn't been stripped of his super middleweight title for losing weight, he would almost certainly have met Alvarez in ring as the Mexican superstar seeks to unify all four titles at 168lbs.
"I have had an amazing training camp and everything was perfect. At the press conference, Benavidez stated that the miles had been covered, rounds were fought and weight loss was already achieved. "I was extremely prepared to fight this fight. Both of us have a lot more knockouts than each other, so I'm looking forward to fighting for the fans.
"I want to be in that room and get this title. Lemieux is someone I respect and have been watching since I was a kid. However, he has plenty to worry about me. He's stronger and faster than me, but I have the experience so this will be a great fight."
Benavidez is a solid favorite at -2000 because of his size, strength, toughness, and high-volume output.
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Lemieux (36-4, 36KO) was a formidable middleweight puncher. He scored a knockout over Gabriel Rosado in 2014, before taking the IBF middleweight title with a victory over Hassan N'Dam N'Jikam. N'Jikam was then knocked out four times.
Lemieux won the world title and was awarded a fight with Gennadiy Glovkin, the most fearful man in the sport. However, things would not go according to plan as he was defeated in the eighth round. Lemieux was able to move up to 168 pounds after he lost to Billy Joe Saunders in the WBO world title fight.
"I am 100% focused on Lemieux. I am focused on the task at hand. Benavidez stated that he only takes one fight at a given time. I like to give everything and then figure it out later. My mind is focused 100% on Lemieux, as I know he is highly motivated for this fight.
"I can promise a helluva fight, a war and that someone is being knocked out. We don't want to be forced to make a decision. People are willing to pay a lot to see a knockout and that's exactly what they will get. "I'm going to leave Saturday night with the title."
Here is the complete fight card from Saturday night, with the most recent odds from Caesars Sportsbook. Next, we will provide a pick and prediction for the main event.
Lemieux's unfortunate reality is that he only has one way to win, and that's to land an enormous fight-changing punch. Benavidez, a talented, large, and durable fighter, is the problem. Benavidez is a skilled fighter, despite his tendency to get drawn into a fight rather than working behind the jab and using his range, Benavidez still has the edge. It isn't clear if the full power of Lemieux really went up to 168. Benavidez is the smaller, older man with lots of miles. It is difficult to see Lemieux winning against such an intimidating opponent. Pick: Benavidez TKO7