David Benavidez is once again the WBC super middleweight titleholder, stopping a game but bloodied Anthony Dirrell in the ninth round of tonight’s Spence-Porter PPV co-feature in Los Angeles.
Benavidez (22-0, 19 KO) and Dirrell (33-2-1, 24 KO) were having a good, competitive, and rather tactical fight for the first four rounds, but things started to come undone for Dirrell in the fifth round, when he was cut on the right eyelid at the end of a hard Benavidez jab.
The cut was nasty, looking to be about the width of the full eyelid, and there wasn’t a lot the 34-year-old Dirrell’s corner could do, but he kept trying in there, repeatedly telling the doctor he could see and that he wanted to continue.
The end came at 1:39 of the ninth round, with the 22-year-old Benavidez unloading an assault on the veteran. Dirrell’s corner had the fight stopped there, giving Benavidez back a title he never had lost in the ring.
Both fighters were very respectful after the bout.
“This is probably the hardest fight I’ve ever been. My jab is a power shot, so I knew I was breaking him down. But man, the heart he’s got — that’s why they call him ‘The Dog,’” Benavidez said after the fight. “I want to thank Anthony Dirrell. He’s going to go down as one of the great fighters at 168.”
“Much respect to the champion, man. He fought his ass off and did what he was supposed to do to win the title,” Dirrell said. “I could’ve kept going, I’m a warrior. I didn’t go down. I was still ready to fight. I’m not gonna go down, I’m not gonna quit. I appreciate my coach calling the fight, but I could’ve kept going.”
For the fight, CompuBox saw Benavidez land 165 of 499 (33%) total punches, and 101 of 292 (35%) power shots. Dirrell landed 94 of 386 (24%) total punches and 41 of 140 (29%) power shots.