It may not be the biggest weekend for boxing in terms of marquee matchups, but it’s certainly a busy one, with several notable fights and fighters in action.
The headline event of the set, of course, is David Benavidez (25-0, 22 KO) taking on David Lemieux (43-4, 36 KO) in Saturday’s Showtime main event. The two are fighting for the interim WBC super middleweight title, and that’s our biggest focus, but we’re also predicting what will happen in several more fights, with Joshua Buatsi vs Craig Richards and Chantelle Cameron vs Victoria Bustos in London; Kerman Lejarraga vs James Metcalf from Spain; and Meng Pascal taking on Jean Pascal in Florida.
Let’s get to the picks!
Scott Christ (23-14)
I just don’t see a way for Lemieux to win this. I mean, there is one (and only one) — he punches hard — but his power at 168 has not looked like what it was at 160, either, and at any rate, against his better opponents his power has never made the vital difference.
Benavidez is bigger, younger, more skilled, and far more suited to the weight than the Canadian. Lemieux says he’s “been the underdog and won” in the past, but that’s not actually true. This is Lemieux giving it what may be a final shot at top-level glory, or at least the last best chance, and it’s still a major uphill battle; the only fighter who was ever a bigger favorite against him was Gennadiy Golovkin. Lemieux has to land an absolute home run shot to win this fight. On the other side, I expect Benavidez to more break down and wear out Lemieux than score any sudden knockout blow, but he’ll get him out. Benavidez TKO-8
Wil Esco (27-10)
David Lemeiux has been one of the better action fighters throughout the course of his career, showcasing enough power to at one time make him a real player at middleweight, and just enough vulnerability that he could never quite get over the hump. I still like Lemieux’s no nonsense approach to boxing as it always makes for easy viewing no matter which way it goes, but in this instance I see things going against him. Lemieux is now past his best days and fighting above his ideal weight. I think Lemieux still may carry pretty good power at 168, but I think his skills and reflexes have eroded enough that a big and active super middleweight like David Benavidez will have his way.
I have a hard time seeing this fight going the distance considering the styles of both fighters, who will come right after one another, but I don’t think Lemeiux will be able to keep up with Benavidez’s punch output and will end up getting overwhelmed by an accumulation of punches by the middle of the fight. Lemieux isn’t exactly the kind of fighter who’s just content to go the distance, and I think he goes out on his shield here. Benavidez TKO-9
John Hansen (29-8)
It’s a credit to David Lemieux that I actually spent a little time considering this one. Lemieux is at a significant disadvantage in height, reach, and age. Benavidez has proven super middleweight power, while Lemieux hasn’t yet shown his fearsome middleweight KO artist reputation also applies at 168 pounds. Other than reputation, there’s not much to recommend Lemieux here beyond his greater pro experience and French-Canadian warrior spirit.
We saw Benavidez struggle with aggression and give up a lot of natural advantages in the first Gavril fight. But, we also saw him adjust and dominate in the rematch. Benavidez isn’t 20 years old anymore. He seems to be approaching his career with a new focus and professionalism.
If Benavidez fights dumb, sloppy, or reckless, Lemieux has the experience and the power to punish him. But, that doesn’t seem likely. Lemieux is tough enough to make it last, and capable enough that we should see some fun exchanges before the end comes. But, a dialed-in Benavidez should control this fight and bring it to an early conclusion.
As a little prediction bonus, let’s extrapolate from a two-datapoint David Lemieux opponent trend, surely the best and most meaningful kind of data analysis. Based on what happened for Golovkin and Saunders, our complex model suggests David Benavidez will get his chance to fight Canelo in 2-4 years time. Benavidez TKO-9, Canelo-Benavidez in 2025.
Patrick Stumberg (28-9)
I make a genuine effort to offer well-researched analysis instead of spitting out some reductive nonsense and calling it a day, but I really can’t think of a more cogent conclusion than “Lemieux is boned.” I can’t see him winning this even if Benavidez is kind enough to give him the exact sort of slugfest he wants. Benavidez is just flat-out too big, too powerful, and too durable for Lemieux to handle in a firefight.
And Benavidez doesn’t even have to slug it out. His reach advantage and ramrod jab are potent weapons at a distance, and while Lemieux does have some underrated technical chops, I can’t see him having much fun either boxing with Benavidez or trying to bully him into a phone booth. Benavidez jabs his nose inside-out and breaks down his body for a mercy stoppage. Benavidez TKO-8
Bad Left Hook will have live, round by round coverage for Benavidez vs Lemieux on Saturday, May 21, starting at 7 pm ET.
Kerman Lejarraga vs James Metcalf
Scott: Lejarraga TKO-6
Wil: Lejarraga UD-10
John: Lejarraga TKO-8
Patrick: Metcalf TKO-8
Bad Left Hook will have live, round by round coverage for Lejarraga vs Metcalf on Friday, May 20, starting at 2 pm ET.
Meng Fanlong vs Jean Pascal
Scott: Meng SD-12
Wil: Meng UD-12
John: Pascal MD-12
Patrick: Meng UD-12
Bad Left Hook will have live, round by round coverage for Meng vs Pascal on Friday, May 20, starting at 7 pm ET.
Chantelle Cameron vs Victoria Bustos
Scott: Cameron UD-10
Wil: Cameron UD-10
John: Cameron UD-10
Patrick: Cameron UD-10
Joshua Buatsi vs Craig Richards
Scott: Buatsi UD-12
Wil: Buatsi TKO-10
John: Buatsi TKO-11
Patrick: Buatsi TKO-9
Bad Left Hook will have live, round by round coverage for Buatsi vs Richards and Cameron vs Bustos on Saturday, May 21, starting at 2 pm ET.
Janibek Alimkhanuly vs Danny Dignum
Scott: Alimkhanuly TKO-7
Wil: Alimkhanuly TKO-8
John: Alimkhanuly TKO-6
Patrick: Alimkhanuly TKO-10
Listen to our Benavidez-Lemieux preview and ALL of this week’s action on the newest Prophets of Goom podcast!
If the embeddable player doesn’t show or work for you, we are on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, Amazon/Audible, Google, iHeart, Deezer, and several other apps! You can also directly download the MP3 here. There is NSFW language.