David Benavidez trounced David Lemieux in tonight’s Showtime main event, winning the interim WBC super middleweight title via third round TKO.
Benavidez (26-0, 23 KO) hurt Lemieux (43-5, 36 KO) badly late in the opening round, knocking him into the ropes for what could have been called a knockdown by referee Harvey Dock.
Dock then looked set to move in and stop the fight, but reportedly admitted after the fight that while he was doing just that when the bell sounded, he decided to let Lemieux go back to his corner.
It’s a decision in the moment and Dock is normally a good referee, but it’s a decision I’d question. Lemieux, to his great credit, fought on guts and instinct for another round and a half, including getting officially dropped early in the second, before the Canadian’s corner finally waved the towel at 1:31 of round three.
There’s not a ton to describe here. Benavidez was just too big, too strong, too young, and too good. If it were a matchup of gunslingers, which was the hype from the promotional side going in, then we had one quick on the draw and another who just wasn’t. Lemieux couldn’t dent Benavidez, and again, he did keep fighting and try. You have to respect his massive heart and determination, but he was way over-matched at this weight against this guy.
“He’s a special type of breed,” Benavidez said of Lemieux’s toughness. “He’s the only one who had the balls to take the fight with me.”
Asked about getting fights with someone like Caleb Plant or David Morrell Jr, Benavidez replied, “I’m waiting to be sent a contract. Them bitches know what’s up, I’m right here waiting for them. I’m not scared of nobody. I’m the youngest guy, three-time world champion.”
It is worth noting, again, that the “third” world title is an interim belt. Canelo Alvarez holds the WBC super middleweight title right now. Of course, the WBC could move Canelo to “franchise,” like they did when he was at 160, and elevate Benavidez, like they did for Jermall Charlo, because sanctioning bodies like to do nice favors.
“Benavidez is a hell of a fighter, congratulations,” Lemieux said before shaking Benavidez’s hand. “After the first round, I was OK. He got me with some good shots. I came back, but I gotta give him the respect. He’s a very good fighter. He’s got good hands, good movement.”
Benavidez vs Lemieux highlights
.@lemieuxboxing is looking to get back on top ⬆️ #BenavidezLemieux pic.twitter.com/DrXU5QnXnE— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 22, 2022
Time to show out for The Valley @Benavidez300 heads to the ring in front of his hometown fans. #BenavidezLemieux starts NOW on @Showtime. pic.twitter.com/XtojzNLH4V— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 22, 2022
SAVED BY THE BELL @Benavidez300 pours it on after stunning Lemieux at the end of the 1st round #BenavidezLemieux pic.twitter.com/siBtaCnyR2— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 22, 2022
.@Benavidez300 DROPS Lemieux into the ropes in RD 2 #BenavidezLemieux pic.twitter.com/02rBcFMhyx— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 22, 2022
Too big. Too strong. Too good. @Benavidez300 earned the TKO win after Lemieux's corner stopped the fight in round 3. #BenavidezLemieux pic.twitter.com/IRg9Nqmj48— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 22, 2022
Yoelvis Gomez UD-10 Jorge Cota
A lot to like in here for the 24-year-old Cuban Gomez (6-0, 5 KO), and a bit to doubt. It’s not a bad thing that he went 10 rounds with an awkward veteran, or doesn’t have to be; if he has the mind set to have it humble the old ego a bit, it could make him a lot better going forward.
Scores were 100-90 across the board. Bad Left Hook’s unofficial scores were 98-92 and 99-91.
Gomez came out here trying to wreck shop, but Cota (30-6, 27 KO) clearly intended to take him to the later rounds, see if he could get the younger man to gas out, and then maybe pounce. That never quite came into play. Gomez’s output dipped in the fifth and sixth rounds, but he then adjusted and just boxed better, and never really gave Cota, 34, the chance to implement the plan he did do a pretty good job of putting on the table.
Gomez said the right things post-fight, too, and he’s still someone to watch at 154 lbs for sure.
“We wanted to steal the show tonight, but all Mexicans are warriors, and Jorge Cota was a warrior and took me the 10 rounds,” Gomez said through an interpreter. “What I found out today is you have to be prepared to go the distance. If the knockout comes, then it comes, but I was prepared to go the 10 rounds.”
#GomezCota #BenavidezLemieux pic.twitter.com/zEQSVXMOd3— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 22, 2022
Wes Melton has a chin of steel #GomezCota #BenavidezLemieux pic.twitter.com/adeunKzOG4— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 22, 2022
.@lajoyagomez97 is putting it on Cota #GomezCota #BenavidezLemieux pic.twitter.com/BxrZQVrOHP— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 22, 2022
Luis Nunez UD-10 Jonathan Fierro
A really good featherweight fight between two young fighters who are still working their way up, with the 22-year-old Nunez just showing that vital bit more depth in his skill set and overall class, winning on unanimous scores of 96-94. Bad Left Hook’s two unofficial cards were 96-94 and 97-93, also for Nunez.
Nunez (17-0, 12 KO), a Dominican fighter in the Sampson Lewkowicz stable, has the deeper skills, had been on ShoBox a couple times and looked good, but he got a real test from the 18-year-old Fierro (13-1, 12 KO), and even though Fierro lost this fight and I agree he lost it, if I’m a promoter and that kid isn’t locked up in a contract, I’m signing him, getting a good team around him, and developing him, because he has a special level of presence and poise for a guy that young.
There is, of course, the chance that this loss and possibly some bad management — not saying he has bad management, just that it happens — could see him flame out and this even be the peak of his career. I’d hate to see that, because he’s got real talent, a good mind set, and while still pretty green and made some mistakes that Nunez took advantage of, there’s a lot to build on there.
But Nunez looked good, too. This was a nice opener, a good fight, well-scored by the judges, with two guys we could be seeing a lot more of going forward.
Well that's how you start a fight night— SHOWTIME Boxing (@ShowtimeBoxing) May 22, 2022
All-action first round between Nunez & Fierro #NunezFierro #BenavidezLemieux pic.twitter.com/L6wiZSAGYA