Former WBC World champion David Benavidez secured an eleventh round stoppage victory over Ronald Ellis at the weekend. With two of the three World champions tied up in May, Chandler Waller looks at potential opponents for the 24-year-old prodigy.
Caleb Plant (21-0, 12 KOs)
The only World champion on this list. Due to Canelo-Saunders, the IBF World champion will be waiting idly by to take on the winner, but in the meantime a fantastic and easy fight to make would be Plant-Benavidez. Both fighters are under the PBC banner, and have been considered as a potential matchup in the past. However, Plant is expected to take it easy until he can land an undisputed showdown with the winner of Canelo-Saunders. After all, why would he gamble against a quality fighter like Benavidez, who punches like a mule.
Callum Smith (27-1, 19 KOs)
After his lacklustre performance against Canelo in December, Callum Smith has made it clear that he will be moving up to light heavyweight. Although a chance to redeem himself could come from the former WBC World champion Benavidez. Both men have points to prove, and it can even take place at a catchweight, as both men are extremely big for the 168lbs limit. Callum Smith also packs a punch, which could prove for a fun contest whilst both men have no immediate title shots on the horizon.
Daniel Jacobs (37-3, 30 KOs)
The former IBF middleweight World champion was another fighter who didn’t impress in his last outing. His Split Decision victory against bitter rival Gabriel Rosado was seen as fortunate to some, with many people believing the Philadelphia man should’ve come away with a win. It was everything it wasn’t advertised to be though, as neither man really made a stamp in the fight, which was meant to be a war. Jacobs is keen to become a two-weight World champion, and at 34-years-old, he should do so quickly. A fight with Benavidez would likely put him as the WBC’s mandatory challenger (when it is called), and now being a free agent – this fight is easy to make. Jacobs would provide Benavidez with the best name on his resume and a chance for him to really make a statement in the super middleweight division.
John Ryder (29-5, 16 KOs)
John Ryder is such a nice guy, the super middleweight sweetheart if you will. The Londoner was unlucky to not capture World honours against Callum Smith in 2019, and despite calls for a rematch, he never got the chance to get his revenge. Ryder is still yet to win a World title and is the only one who fits that category on this list, but his move to the 168lbs limit has done wonders for his career. He now sits among one of the very best super middleweights in the World, in my opinion. Benavidez, if really wanting to make a statement, could fancy his chances against the dark horse. Ryder isn’t a worldwide stable name, but in England he’s massively respected and would definitely give Benavidez a thing or two to think about.
Gilberto Ramirez (41-0, 27 KOs)
Gilberto Ramirez is a name that I keep forgetting since he departed from the super middleweight division, without really securing a marquee win. Now fighting at 175lbs, the Mexican seems to be doing the same old trick, and waits patiently for an opportunity to become a two-weight World champion. Honestly, I don’t know how he’s not bored at this point, which is why I think a war with David Benavidez, who comes from Mexican heritage, could entice him to a clash over one of the Mexican holiday dates. Cinco De Mayo is of course, too soon to get a deal done, but September’s Mexican Independence Day could give enough time for this fight to actually happen. They fight on different platforms which is the stumbling block, but in recent times, promoters have gotten better at working with each other. Benavidez might consider a flirt at the 175lbs limit, and Ramirez would be the clear and ideal opponent for him at the new weight.