At the age of 16, a well-built supper middleweight by the name of David Benavidez made his professional debut in Mexico. Making quick work of Erasmo Mendoza knocking him out in the first round. From the point on it was a rapid and undisturbed rise to the very top. Compiling a 17-0 record with (16) and in March of 2016, the WBC agreed to sanction Benavidez against Porky Medina for the #2 mandatory spot on May 20 at the Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, Texas. Benavides scored three knocked downs before the referee waved the fight off in the 8th, putting Benavidez in position to fight for a world title at the age of 20. An opportunity the younger Benavidez brother would seize out[pointing Ronald Garvil a rugged veteran in a fight of the yeat back and forth life and death type of fight. Making Benavidez an instant star and the youngest super middleweight champion in history.
If there was any doubt about who won the first Benavidez/Garvil fight, the man known as El Bandera Roja dominated his veteran opponent throwing a near shout-out performance at the Mandalay Bay on the Garcia/Rios undercard. Propelling Benavides to the top spot in the entire super middleweight division in the eyes of many pundits and experts. Setting up the now 21-year old for a plethora of big money bouts in the deep but wide open 168-pound division. Names like Caleb Plant, Gilberto Ramirez. Jose Uzcategui and Callum Smith were all thrown around as future opponents. The opportunities were endless for the baby-faced champion. A mandatory defense against Anthony Dirrell was mandated and well in the works, a fight that would have marked the biggest test and payday of his young career. And then the young champ failed a drug test. Not for a steroid or other PED, but cocaine. He had his status changed from champion to champion in recess Anthony Dirrell and Avni Yildirim will fight for WBC super-middleweight world strap, a strap Benavidez won and never lost, on February 23rd.
WBC President Mauricio Suliman said it was a surprise test by the Clean Boxing program and said that he addressed the issue immediately with Benavidez. Suliman went on to say he spoke to him and “he admitted it and we had a meeting and he explained what happened. He went out, he’s single, he’s a young world champion with money and a beautiful girl comes up during a party and she offers cocaine.” This seems more alarming that he wrote off losing a world title a possible seven-figure payday and his title as world champ because a beautiful girl asked him to do coke. As Mickey Goldmill once said women weaken knees and if a woman asking you to put your whole career in the balance is enough temptation to do so. Perhaps you don’t have the mental makeup and internal toughness you need to be at and stay at a world championship level.
Benavidez has been out of the ring since February when he defeated Gravil for the second time. A year layoff for a 21-year-old is never good or useful, a year out of the ring for a kid that likes to party is even worse, and just so you understand Benavidez, no one is believing that you did blow in the bathroom for the first time. I got a speeding ticket not that long ago, it wasn’t the first time I drove faster than the allowed speed limit allowed. It was the first time I was caught. This wasn’t the first time you snorted lines with a chick in the bathroom, it’s the first time you got caught. A major distinction. Benavidez has damaged his career more than AB or Tank Davis have, two guys that are constantly labeled “at danger” and “wasting away their talent”. None of them have failed a test for nose candy. However, at just 21, an age where most are just building up their careers Benavidez needs to actually rebuild his career. But first, he needs to get clean and then get back. The skill set, punching power and fundamentals are all there with the younger Benavidez, that much is for sure. But is he going to be the million dollar talent with the 10 cent brain? That much is yet to be determined, however, time is on his side and so will the fans as the combination of power, charisma, and fan friendly style will certainly win him a second and third chance among fight fans.