David Benavidez came into tonight’s clash with late replacement Kyrone Davis after a day filled with surprising worries. But, with a possible Canelo Alvarez battle on the horizon in 2022, Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) ran a trade in front of a hometown Phoenix crowd, releasing powerful punches at will to a brave and resilient Davis until the corner stepped. in and stopped things in the 7th round.
Davis (16-3-1, 6 KOs) came to a curly start, managing distance well and circling away from Benavidez’s power. I won the first two rounds for Davis, but things started to turn in the third and fourth rounds as Benavidez started managing space and forcing more exchanges according to his conditions.
Davis’ corner started threatening to stop the fight after the 5th round, then seemed to actually cancel it after the 6th, saying “that’s it”, but then changing their minds and sending Davis to start the 7th.
Davis stood tough, never hitting the canvas, but couldn’t get anything going despite Benavidez’s ongoing power punches. 48 seconds into the round, Davis’ corner threw in the towel.
After the fight, Benavidez gave a lot of respect to Davis, then started setting the stage for what he hopes will come next: Conflict with Canelo Alvarez. Benavidez also mentioned Jermall Charlo as a possible alternative, but downplayed the possibility of a perceived reluctance on Charlo’s part. Benavidez seemed skeptical that Charlo would face him, “because he’s a big coup, that’s why.”
Davis said he was disappointed by the corner stop, but grateful for and respectful of his coach’s decision to protect him against his own heart and tenacity. Davis comes out with a loss, but will surely return to 160 pounds. with another impressive and courageous effort similar to his February draw against Anthony Dirrell.
Jose Benavidez Jr MAJORITY RETIREMENT Francisco Emanuel Torres
Things didn’t go quite as well for the other brother Benavidez, as Jose Benavidez Jr (27-1-1, 18 KOs) could only manage a controversial draw against Francisco Torres.
Torres (17-3-1, 5 KOs) never showed the kind of power or aggression to put Benavidez in danger, but he used movement and active hands to collect rounds. Benavidez did not do himself any favors, often chasing Torres around the ring with his hands at his side, throwing wild power shots that did not land, and rarely following through with any combinations even when Torres was trapped.
It was a strange approach, and Benavidez mocked and presented his way though a battle that always felt like it was in his grasp, but where he never actually fully grasped.
Benavidez’s failed attempts at landing a one-shot stoppage punch began to get mouthed midway through the fight. Based on what we could hear from the broadcast audio, the crowd seemed to favor Torres after the decision was also announced.
Bad Left Hook had it even at 95-95, as did two of the three official judges. The third judge won it 96-94 in favor of Benavidez, who felt later that he deserved more than a draw.