David Benavidez came into tonight’s showdown with late replacement Kyrone Davis after a day filled with surprise upsets. But, with a potential Canelo Alvarez fight on the horizon in 2022, Benavidez (25-0, 22 KO) took care of business in front of a hometown Phoenix crowd, unleashing power punches at will on a courageous and resilient Davis until the corner stepped in and stopped things in the 7th round.
Davis (16-3-1, 6 KO) got off to a crisp start, managing distance well and circling away from Benavidez’s power. I scored the first two rounds for Davis, but things started to turn in the third and fourth rounds as Benavidez began to manage space and force more exchanges on his terms.
Davis’s corner started threatening to stop the fight after the 5th round, then seemed to actually call it off after the 6th, saying “that’s it,” but then changing their minds and sending Davis out to start the 7th.
Davis stood tough, never hit the canvas, but couldn’t get anything going in the face of sustained power punches from Benavidez. 48 seconds into the round, Davis’s 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: A showdown with Canelo Alvarez. Benavidez also mentioned Jermall Charlo as a possible alternative, but downplayed the possibility over a perceived reluctance on Charlo’s part. Benavidez seemed skeptical that Charlo would face him, “because he’s a big pussy, that’s why.”
Davis said he was disappointed by the corner stoppage, but grateful for and respectful of his trainer’s decision to protect him from his own heart and tenacity. Davis exits with a loss, but likely returns to 160 lbs. with another impressive and courageous effort similar to his February draw against Anthony Dirrell.
Jose Benavidez Jr D-10 Francisco Emanuel Torres
Things didn’t go quite as well for the other Benavidez brother, as Jose Benavidez Jr (27-1-1, 18 KO) could only manage a debatable draw against Francisco Torres.
Torres (17-3-1, 5 KO) never showed the sort of power or aggression to put Benavidez in danger, but he used movement and active hands to pick up rounds. Benavidez didn’t do himself any favors, frequently stalking Torres around the ring with his hands at his side, throwing wild power shots that didn’t land, and seldom following up with any combinations even when Torres was cornered.
It was an odd approach, and Benavidez taunted and posed his way though a fight that always felt like it was within his grasp, but where he never actually fully took hold.
Benavidez’s unsuccessful attempts at landing a one-shot stopping punch started getting boos midway through the fight. Based on what we could hear from the broadcast audio, the crowd seemed to favor Torres after the decision was announced as well.
Bad Left Hook had it even at 95-95, as did two of the three official judges. The third judge scored it 96-94 in favor of Benavidez, who felt afterwards that he deserved more than a draw.