David Benavidez, a heavy favorite to win Saturday's WBC interim title fight against David Lemieux, entered the fight as a mandatory challenger for Canelo Alvarez, the undisputed champion at 168 pounds. He knew that a win would not suffice to drive more people to the fight. Benavidez responded by putting on a dominant performance and bruising Lemieux. He then scored a TKO in round three, which Lemieux's corner thankfully saved from further damage.
Lemieux, who weighed in at 36 KO and 43-5, was two weights smaller than Benavidez (26-0), 23 KO, who is on the larger end of the super-middleweight division. He was forced to navigate dangerous territory in order to get into punching range.
The face-first attack was successful for approximately two minutes. Lemieux was then able to land several left hooks, trapping Benavidez against his ropes. Lemieux was then sent flying by a huge left hook and was thrown into the ropes. Benavidez would continue to punish him until the bell.
Lemieux attempted to storm out from the corner to begin the second round. Benavidez was happy for the exchange of fire and sent Lemieux to the ground 20 seconds into the frame. Lemieux was informed by the referee that the fight would be stopped at a short distance. However, Lemieux kept walking forward and launching power shots.
Lemieux increased his output in the third round, trying to knock Benavidez out with body shots and a hook to the head. Lemieux showed some heart, but he was clearly shocked by almost every punch Benavidez landed. He repeatedly fell backwards when Benavidez landed cleanly to the chin.
Lemieux's side was able to respond to the shots and call for the fight at Round 3:31.
Benavidez declared, "My hat's off to David Lemieux" after his win before turning to the big names he wanted in the ring. "I am waiting for them to send me the contract. They know what's going on. They are waiting for me. I don't fear anyone. ... I promise you that I will knock everyone out."
Benavidez held the super middleweight world championship twice in his career. He lost those titles. After testing positive for cocaine, Benavidez was removed from the WBC title. He was then stripped again after he failed to gain weight in time for his fight with Roamer Alexis Angulo in 2020.