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Benavidez vs Ellis preview, predictions, who wins the fight?

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David Benavidez returns to the ring Saturday on Showtime against Ronald Ellis.

Saturday night on Showtime (9 pm ET), former two-time super middleweight titlist David Benavidez returns in the main event to face Ronald Ellis in a 12-round bout.

Benavidez is looking to stay in the Canelo race at 168 — even if it takes another year or so to actually get that fight — while Ellis has a chance to make a big mark with what would be a big upset.

Who wins?

Scott Christ (10-4-1)

I kinda dread picking fights like this because the outcomes are predictable nine times out of 10 (at least) and the way I describe it in picking a winner makes it seem like I think the underdog fighter sucks. They usually don’t suck, but as we have heard 25,000 times now, there are levels to this.

Ronald Ellis is a pretty good fighter, a solid guy up to a certain level. David Benavidez is beyond that level. Benavidez has already beaten this level of opponent repeatedly, and unless he’s in just awful shape or has by far the worst night of his career, he’ll do it again. Benavidez TKO-8

Wil Esco (10-4-1)

David Benavidez has been doing a lot of talking about all the top super middleweights he wants to face in the near future, so he damn well better be good enough to take care of Ronald Ellis. And I mean that as no disrespect to Ellis, but he’s obviously not considered an elite talent at the weight. Benavidez’s biggest struggles have been of the self-inflicted variety thus far, but so long as he keeps focused he does have the size and talent to give any super middleweight at least some trouble. I’m expecting that Benavidez wants to make a statement in this outing as he looks towards bigger and better things, and I think he’ll eventually wear Ellis down to force a stoppage. Benavidez TKO-7

Patrick L. Stumberg (10-4-1)

David Benavidez is one of the top five super middleweights on the planet, a hulking, relentless stalker with downright unfair speed and power. Ronald Ellis is...not. He’s a perfectly decent fighter, technically sound and capable of holding his own against a vast swath of sub-elite fighters, but I’m not seeing anything in his arsenal to stop Benavidez from walking him down and making mincemeat of him in the pocket. Even if he had the skills to win an outfight against the much bigger “Bandera Roja”, the Aleem fight showed his inability to consistently keep the fight at range.

Benavidez is too big, too powerful, too durable, and too fast with his hands for anyone in the division besides the current trio of champions. His pressure slowly suffocates Ellis until he’s fodder for Benavidez’s autocannon combinations. Benavidez TKO-7

Lewis Watson (10-4-1)

Benavidez sticking around at 168 is interesting yet understandable. The former titlist is presumably hanging around the weight in anticipation of landing a Canelo fight further down the line, and this contest against Ellis probably won’t teach us anything we don’t already know.

He’s obviously big for the weight and is a heavy puncher in the land of the super-middleweights and a fit and focused Benavidez could well ask Canelo questions he’s not yet had to answer in the division. Yeah, I know this isn’t a Benavidez-Canelo pick, but it feels pertinent.

The former champion was just 2lbs off the weight just under a week ago so I can’t envisage any further blunders. Ellis hasn’t got the power to gain caution or the respect of Benavidez here, and a highlight reel KO is just around the corner. Benavidez KO-7

And the staff winner is...

Errol Spence Jr. v Shawn Porter Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images

David Benavidez (4-0)!