David Benavidez survived a stiff test and a 12th round knockdown tonight against Ronald Gavril, claiming the vacant WBC super middleweight title with a split decision victory.
Benavidez (19-0, 17 KO) won on scores of 116-111, 117-111, and 111-116. BLH scored the fight 114-113 for Gavril (18-2, 14 KO), swinging the score in his favor on the 12th round knockdown.
It was an intensely competitive fight, with the 20-year-old Benavidez starting fast but meeting some resistance from Gavril, 31, who pushed Benavidez harder than he’s been pushed in his career to date. Benavidez showed a lot by recovering late, with a big 11th round, and perhaps would have won the 12th had it not been for the knockdown, too.
Ultimately, the knockdown didn’t matter on any judge’s card.
“I feel I won the fight. I dominated the fight. I can’t say nothing. It’s the judges,” Gavril said. “The only thing I can do is a rematch.”
“I started off to see if I could knock him out. I didn’t get reckless, but then I wanted to work a little more on defense in my first 12-round fight,” Benavidez said. “I hurt him in the last four rounds. But that came around to bite me in the ass. I got a reckless, I got knocked down. The dude was a tough fighter.”
Benavidez is now the youngest world champion in boxing.
J’Leon Love and Abie Han fought to a technical majority draw, plenty controversial for many reasons. First off, Love (23-1-1, 13 KO) got one card, 79-73, which is completely absurd. To give Love, 29, seven of the eight rounds (well, seven and a third rounds) in this fight is indefensible, complete home cooking from judge Richard Ocasio.
The other two cards were 76-76. BLH scored the fight 78-75, with a 10-10 round in the eighth because nothing much happened before a bad clash of heads that cut both fighters and may have concussed Han (26-3-1, 16 KO), who left the ring sitting upright on a stretcher before the decision was announced, to seek immediate medical care.
Prospect Caleb Plant improved to 16-0 (10 KO) with a shutout decision win over Andrew Hernandez (19-7-1, 9 KO), taking scores of 100-90 across the board, which is also how BLH had it.
Plant, 25, was sharp here, but the fight went about as anticipated, given the fact that Hernandez, 31, came in on eight days’ notice and as the naturally smaller man, to boot. Hernandez gave this the best he had, but Plant had a full training camp and was going to beat him even if Hernandez was fully prepared, in all honesty.