David Benavidez is one step closer to a shot at Canelo Alvarez.
The former 168-pound champion tackled Kyrone Davis by punishing Saturday in Phoenix with a seventh-round TKO win in Showtime’s main event.
Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs) beat Davis, a late substitute, round after round. He pressed Davis on the ropes and unloaded with violent combinations, especially from the fourth round on.
With the hard-yet-superior underdog unable to fend off Benavidez’s relentless pressure, coach Stephen Edwards wisely threw in the towel 48 seconds into the seventh round.
“It was tough but I have so much condition, I will continue until he finally stops,” said Benavidez, ESPN’s No. 2 superweight. “I think everyone wants to see me against Canelo. I’ll go through anyone; whoever they want me to go through.”
The 24-year-old has been fighting in his birthplace for the first time since his 10th professional fight. Since then, he has twice won a middleweight title, and has been twice stripped of the championship.
Benavidez first relinquished the title after testing positive for cocaine. The second time came last year after he lost weight.
“People aren’t excited to fight me, obviously because I don’t have a belt,” Benavidez told ESPN earlier this week. “… It’s been very, very hard for me but we’ll keep pushing. I’ll be here for a long time. I’ll keep calling for these big fights that fans want to see and when they come., They come.”
Without a big fight planned, Benavidez was set to face former champion Jose Uzcategui. However, the Argentine was removed after he tested positive for the synthetic version of EPO, a performance-enhancing substance that aids endurance.
Davis (16-3-1, 6 KOs) accepted the fight on notice of just two weeks. Wilmington’s volunteer firefighter, Delaware, opposed Anthony Dirrell to a lively draw in February, a performance that landed him on the shortlist to intervene for Uzcategui.
He never stopped trying to overthrow Benavidez, absorbing the power shots along the ropes, but he also never threatened to get a punch of consequence. Benavidez was just too big, too strong and too good.
Benavidez got 181 punches, 47.4% of his attempts, to just 54 from Davis, via CompuBox.
With Davis out of the way, Benavidez will hope to get that high-pitched fight with Canelo, an attack he has long sought.
“I feel like I have the best shot [to beat Alvarez] because I have the greatest power in the division besides Canelo, “said Benavidez.” I have longer arms, as much as speed – probably even faster – and just as much power. I’m just hungry for this opportunity. “