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Canelo chase continues as two undefeated boxers prepare to square off

Updated November 24, 2023 - 10:32 pm

David Benavidez knows he can’t force Canelo Alvarez to fight him.

Until Alvarez offers, he waits — and he fights.

“I don’t got to say anything anymore. I’m just interested in whatever gets put in front of me,” Benavidez, the unbeaten super middleweight contender, said. “My job is stay here and be the best super middleweight in the world. Whoever they put in front of me, that’s who I’m going to keep beating.”

Benavidez (27-0, 23 knockouts) will instead welcome unbeaten two-division champion Demetrius “Boo Boo” Andrade (32-0, 19 KOs) into the boxing ring with him Saturday at Michelob Ultra Arena. Benavidez’s interim WBC 168-pound title will be on the line atop a card presented by Premier Boxing Champions via Showtime pay-per-view.

The victor strengthens his position as a prospective opponent for Alvarez, the division’s undisputed champion who picks his foes as boxing’s cash cow.

Not that Benavidez — 26, explosive and twice previously the WBC super middleweight champion — should need it.

“I really want to be the best of my generation and the only way to do that is to go through everybody,” said Benavidez, a violent volume puncher from Pheonix.

“We move slow. One fight at time. … My job is to clear out the division, and that’s what I intend on doing.”

Benavidez made his case to fight Alvarez in March with a 12-round battering of 168-pound stalwart Caleb Plant at MGM Grand Garden. But Alvarez elected to fight former 154-pound undisputed champion Jermell Charlo in September — leaving “The Mexican Monster” to fight Andrade, a slick 35-year-old southpaw.

Andrade, an Olympian in 2008 by way of Providence, Rhode Island, has long coveted a fight against world-class opposition. But he hasn’t once lured a champion into the squared circle despite owning titles before at junior middleweight and middleweight.

Alignment for Andrade with PBC accompanied a foray into a division ruled by Alvarez and roamed by Benavidez, who hasn’t fought a lefty in more than seven years.

Andrade debuted at 168 pounds in January with a dominant decision over Demond Nicholson. He insists he’s comfortable in the heavier division.

“I’m a fighter-boxer. I can fight mid-range. I can fight inside. I move a lot better (than Plant),” said Andrade, playful in public for much of the promotion. “At the end of the day, I’m out-boxing people and I’m winning.”

Benavidez, for his part, promised a knockout and lamented he couldn’t secure a stoppage against Plant. Andrade — tall for the division, lean and reliant on movement — is armed with similar attributes, though Benavidez says he’s benefited from the experience sharing the ring with Plant provided.

A win for Andrade would prove he belongs among boxing’s elite. A win for Benavidez would strengthen his standing as Alvarez’s rightful challenger.

“Opportunities are hard to come by. You’ve got to keep knocking on the door and doing what you’ve got to do,” Benavidez said. “I worked extremely hard for this. I knew the task at hand. The fight with Caleb Plant motivated me even more to be the best I can be. You guys are in for a treat on Saturday.”

Contact Sam Gordon at sgordon@reviewjournal.com. Follow @BySamGordon on X.

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