Demetrius Andrade is in a position to spoil what could be a huge mega-fight between David Benavidez and Canelo Alvarez next year by defeating the ‘Mexican Monster’ this Saturday night in their 12 round headliner at the Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.
If Andrade (32-0, 19 KOs) defeats WBC interim super middleweight champion Benavidez (27-0, 23 KOs) or gives him a lot of trouble, that would be enough for Canelo to look in another direction for his next fight in May or in September.
Canelo has options to fight one or more of these fighters next year:
- Jaime Munguia
- Edgar Berlanga
- Dmitry Bivol
- David Morrell
- Diego Pacheco
Most would agree that Andrade can only spoil Benavidez’s chances, but without improving his own for a fight with Canelo because the Mexican star has already said he’s not interested in fighting him.
So the only guy with a chance of fighting Canelo between those two is Benavidez, and his chances aren’t good, either, likely due to his massive size, greater than WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol.
Benavidez will be favorite against Andrade
“I wouldn’t call it a 50-50 fight. I think it’s a very competitive fight, but I’m going to lean towards David Benavidez. He’s the younger guy, the bigger guy, and he’s been in this weight class longer,” said Chris Algieri to ProBox TV, talking about this Saturday night’s fight between David Benavidez & Demetrius Andrade on Showtime PPV.
“This is Andrade’s second fight at super middleweight, and this is his third weight class. He’s 35, so absolutely, Benavidez is going to be the favorite going into this fight.”
Benavidez will definitely be the favorite on Saturday night against Andrade, but that doesn’t mean anything because he’s not fought anyone near as good as him during his career.
There are question marks whether Benavidez is as good as he seems because he’s been fighting against lower-level opposition for the most part since 2013.
“That being said, ‘Boo Boo’ can be a spoiler in terms of the way he fights, his vast skill set, and the things that he can do in there. Just the way these guys match up, I think this is a great fight, and it’ll be very competitive,” said Algieri.
“In terms of this possibly spoiling a Canelo fight for David Benavidez, it absolutely could in more than one way. One, if he loses, obviously, he’s not going to get the Canelo fight, but even if he doesn’t look particularly good or if he struggles, Canelo is going to get up on the high mountain and say, ‘You struggled with this guy. Who is this guy?’ Because he already said that about ‘Boo Boo,’ and give him a reason to not take that fight whether he deserves it or not.”
Benavidez can improve his chances of getting a fight with Canelo by dominating Andrade, but that doesn’t guarantee that he will get him. If Canelo doesn’t want to fight him, he’ll go in another direction, and leave him & his dad Jose Benavidez even more bitter than they already are.
“So that’s the thing. When you’re Canelo, you’re in the driver’s seat. So it’s really up to him whether he wants to fight the winner of this fight or not. Both guys have been avoided, and both guys have difficult styles,” said Algieri about the Benavidez vs. Andrade fight.
David needs to dominate
“The Mexican vs. Mexican match-up for May makes a lot of sense marketing-wise and dollar-wise. So if Benavidez wins, it sets up that fight, and it may force Canelo to take that fight either way,” said Algieri.
“I think he’s dangerous enough to where he could cause some trouble and cause some hiccups,” said Paulie Malignaggi about Andrade. “I want to jump on the point that Chris made about Benavidez maybe being taken out of the Canelo sweepstakes in situations other than a loss where if he doesn’t look good against Andrade, Canelo may get up on his perch and say, ‘You didn’t look good in this fight.’”
It would help if Benavidez dominates, but it won’t clinch the Canelo fight. The WBC can order Canelo to defend against Benavidez, but he won’t take it if he doesn’t want to.
“The other factor, which is you can look like absolute dynamite like a stone-cold killer, and then the other guy definitely won’t fight you because you looked that good,” said Malignaggi. “So that’s something also that you have to keep in mind. I’m not saying that’s going to happen, either.
“What I’m saying is that Benavidez and Canelo could get put in a spoiler situation by Andrade in various ways. If Andrade makes Benavidez look good or bad, then Canelo can say, ‘He didn’t look that good,’” said Malignaggi.
Alvarez likely won’t say anything regardless. If he doesn’t want the fight, he won’t likely make a public statement. He’ll just stay quiet and continue to ignore Benavidez like he’s always done.
Canelo will decide
“If Andrade makes Benavidez look like a stone-cold stunner, then all of a sudden, Canelo will ignore Benavidez altogether,” said Malignaggi. “It could go one way or the other. The bottom line is does Canelo wants to fight Benavidez. I don’t think any of these factors matter much. They’re just conversation points. They are discussion points.
“The bottom line is, does Canelo want to fight Benavidez? And if Canelo wants to fight Benavidez, then the fight will happen. If Canelo doesn’t want to fight Benavidez, then he’ll use every excuse in the book like we’ve been getting.
“It’s the bottom line. All this other stuff is just hear-say and talk. It’s good because it hypes up the Benavidez-Andrade fight and gets people to talk a lot. Canelo is one of the biggest names in boxing, if not the biggest name in boxing.
“So whenever he’s associated with an up-and-coming PPV, it’s always a good thing. People can have these conversation points. In reality, like I said, does Canelo want to fight Benavidez? What does Canelo actually want to do? All the other factors are just conversation points,” said Malignaggi.
“Whoever emerges victorious in this fight going into Canelo fight, they’re probably going to be 30% better if not more,” said Tim Bradley. “If you really look at what Benavidez has been doing and the guys and competition that he’s been facing. He is like ascending. He is going up, almost in a straight line.
“What he was able to do against Plant was phenomenal. I think Plant is a tremendous boxer. I knew Plant would get off to a quick start, and I feel that Andrade is going to get off to a quick start. Then it’s going to the end of the fight, and then I feel Benavidez is going to take over and possibly stop him,” said Bradley.
Alvarez should have fought Benavidez earlier
“I’m just saying that I think Canelo has made a state by not fighting Benavidez sooner. Sometimes, you want to get these guys when they’re fresh,” said Bradley. “For instance, Crawford for instance fighting a guy like Ennis. If you don’t get Ennis sooner than later, then he becomes a problem, and he becomes better.”
It’s actually smart for Canelo to have waited on the Benavidez fight because the lower he waits, the more the chance that he’ll outgrow the 168-lb division and be forced to move up to 175.
“I can see the same thing happening here with Canelo Alvarez because I’m telling you,” said Bradley. “The winner that emerges from this [Benavidez vs. Andrade], is going to be that much better than they get a shot against Canelo Alvarez.
“I think Canelo Alvarez is descending. I think he’s on the back end of his career, and has a few fights left in his career. It could be bad news for him later on at the beginning of next year in 2024, because I’m telling you.
“Whoever wins this fight here is going to go into that fight with an extreme amount of confidence and could very well pull off a win against Canelo Alvarez next year,” said Bradley.
“I’ve been saying that. ‘Get this man early before his prime and potential.’ He’s not there yet,” said Algieri about Benavidez. “Tito Trinidad was the best at that. The David Reid fight, and the Fernando Vargas fight. Get them early, and he did.
“I agree 1000% in terms of Canelo & Benavidez. The longer this fight takes to make, the more I favor Benavidez,” said Algieri.
“Tim, you said when the winner of this fight fights Canelo. I don’t think it’s a win. I think it’s an if. I don’t think the winner of this fight gets guaranteed fight against Canelo,” said Malignaggi.
Canelo makes his own rules
“They’ll become the #1 mandatory, and the WBC is pushing it,” said Tim Bradley about the winner of the Benavidez vs. Andrade fight on Saturday becoming mandatory for Canelo Alvarez’s WBC belt.
“If they become the #1 mandatory and the WBC push it, and they do what they’re supposed to do, then the fight is going to have to happen,” said Bradley.
“Canelo has his own rules,” said Algieri.
Alvarez does make his own rules, and if the WBC forgets that point, he’ll vacate their belt and they’ll be stuck with a less popular fighter picking up the strap.
“Jermall Charlo was the #1 mandatory for Canelo at middleweight for two years. He never got the fight,” said Malignaggi.
“If the fans keep crying for it, we can keep pressure like us,” said Bradley.
“That’s what we’re here for, Tim,” said Malignaggi.
“That’s what I’m saying. If we can push that narrative and try to push to make it happen, then that’s what we’re going to do,” said Bradley. “We’re going to talk about the WBC.”