Experience meets youth when Anthony Dirrell defends his WBC world super-middleweight title against 22-year-old former champion David Benavidez on the undercard of Errol Spence Jr vs Shawn Porter at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on Saturday, September 28th. The fight will be shown live on Fox PPV.
Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 Ko’s) will be making the first defence of the title he won against Turkey’s Avni Yildrim, the title was vacant after Badou Jack moved up to light heavyweight. This is Dirrell’s second reign as WBC 168lb champion after winning the title in 2014 after two tough encounters with Australian based Sakio Bika, their first fight being scored a split decision draw. Dirrell lost the title in his first defence to Jack by majority decision.
Describing Anthony Dirrell’s abilities is not easy, he doesn’t particularly stand out in any one department, but he does everything very well and efficiently. His Brother Andre has very smooth, stylish skills that make great fights, whereas Anthony is more inclined to stick with the basics, and he has a far better winning record than his brother because of it.
David Benavidez is an enigma, a real life boxing prodigy who has failed to live up to his full potential despite having held this title in 2017-2018. That’s being tough on the 22-year-old from Phoenix, Arizona who turned professional at the age of 17 in 2013.
Benavidez might well be the best super middleweight in the world but discipline, or lack of it has cost the youngster dearly. He has plenty of time to put those demons to rest and go on to a successful career and this fight would put him in line for unification bouts with the likes of Callum Smith (WBA), Caleb Plant (IBF), and Billy Joe Saunders (WBO).
Benavidez won the vacant title in September 2017 with a split decision over Romanian hard man Ronald Gavril. In his toughest fight to date, Benavidez was knocked down in the final round but hung on to take the decision by 116-111, 117-11, 11-116. Benavidez looked tired in the latter stages of the fight, begging the question of just how hard he had trained for the opportunity.
In the rematch six months later, Benavidez showed why some people in the sport believe he is the most talented at 168lb’s, winning by unanimous decision in a fight that saw Gavril completely outclassed. Then, that discipline factor hit David’s career again when he failed a VADA drug test and was stripped of the title.
Due to promotional problems. Benavides was out of the ring for 13 months but came back at light heavyweight in March and looked in good form stopping J’leon Love in 2 rounds. So who wins this fight?
Anthony Dirrell still has the durability and experience to retain his title but if Benavidez is in the same form he showed in the second Ronald Gavril fight and the J’leon Love outing then youth will prevail and the title will change hands.
Prediction: David Benavidez to win on points.