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David Benavidez Handles Alexis Angulo on Showtime, Getting Past Weigh-In Woes

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The weigh in sucked, hard, for David Benavidez. But he can look back on missing 168 by almost three pounds, IF he gets it, truly understands now that he has to cover every damn base if he wants to be remembered as the sort of fighter he tells us he can be.

Benavidez (now 23-0) looked in command in the ring, and got the W over Alexis Angulo on Saturday night at Mohegan Sun in CT. Making weight didn’t go smoothly but in the ring, the Arizona native looked like a boss. After a rough tenth, the Angulo corner decided they’d not be sending their man out for another round.

Now, Angulo, age 36, didn’t enter with most anyone liking his chances to spring the upset.

And Benavidez showed a snappy jab, and his typical aggression level, but I will say, if they booked Benavidez vs Caleb Plant today, Plant would be favored by more fans.

The wording changed, from Friday to Saturday, and that shows wisdom. Benavidez didn’t blame the lack of sauna on Saturday.

Yeah, the outing was good, but Benavidez has room to improve, with his prep, and yes, his in ring package as well.

Trainer/father Jose Benavidez Sr liked what he saw, and called for more of the same after most rounds. Gimme that jab, son, and the kid complied versus Angulo, a native of Colombia whose best win came in his last outing, over Anthony Sims Jr.

David in the lead-in said he wanted to get a bout against IBF champ at 168 Plant. Plant busted his chops after the weigh in fiasco and also lobbed a shot after he beat Angulo (now 26-2).

Benavidez, a pro since he was 16, spoke after: “I felt good, man. I rate myself a solid eight. I could have done some stuff better, but overall it was a great performance. I didn’t want to go too fast, leave myself exposed for some big shots. He’s a heavy puncher. But like I said, I like to do the stuff that nobody has ever done. Nobody has ever stopped him and I’m pretty sure nobody is ever going to make him look like that again. I demolished him from round one to round 11. But hats off to him and his team. Tough guy and they’re all gentleman, all-around.

“Like I said, I was going 15 rounds in camp. Everything was going perfect. I was so disappointed and embarrassed at myself. Everything everyone said about me is true. I should be a professional and come in on weight. But this time I couldn’t do it. It’s my first time not making weight in eight years of me being professional,” he explained.

And what’s next? “I’ve got to go back to the drawing board. The diet has to be way stricter than it is, I’m a big guy. Hopefully I get another chance to fight for the WBC title again. I’m not going to ask for another shot right away. If they want to give it to me, good. If not, I don’t mind going to the back of the line and starting my way back up from the bottom.

He reiterated that he knew he wanted to be smarter in training. “I want to get all these fights before I go up. I have to be even more dedicated than I already was. I felt like with training, as long as I didn’t miss any training session, running sessions, strength and conditioning, that I would be good. But the diet has to be way stricter. It was already good but something got messed up and, I don’t know, I couldn’t get those last pounds off.”

Pic by Amanda Westcott.

And, Brian Custer asked him, what about people saying he lacks discipline? “You know, if they thought I had a discipline problem, it would have shown in the ring. Did I look tired, fatigued? Just because I missed weight one time doesn’t mean I’m not disciplined. But they’re entitled to say whatever they want because it’s true. I didn’t make weight. It’s up to me to go back to the drawing board and come back better next time.

“I really have to talk to my promoter to see what’s next. I don’t mind fighting anybody. I’ll fight anybody to get back to the spot I was. You could see by this performance tonight, I could put on a great performance against anybody. And people will pay to see that. So I have to talk to my promoters and I’m probably going to go right back into training camp to make sure I don’t miss weight.

“My baby boy comes in two weeks so I can’t wait to go be with my girlfriend and talk to my boy in my girlfriend’s stomach. In two weeks I’m going to be a father.”

See video highlights from the three fights presented on Showtime.

WALLIN LOOKS SHARP IN BATTLE OF TWO MEN WHO FACED COVID

It felt like maybe the emotional tide could be working to help push Travis Kauffman to a win over Otto Wallin in the Showtime opener at Mohegan Sun in CT, on the undercard of a collection topped by a David Benavidez vs Alexis Angulo scrap.

The heavyweight Kauffman lost his trainer, Naazim Richardson, who’d helmed the PA boxer for 5 years, and you wondered if that wouldn’t propel the 34 year old Kauffman to turn in a career best type of showing, in honor of Brother Naazim. He dedicated this fight to George Floyd, and Breona Taylor, and others who’d had their lives taken unjustly, and he wore an anti police brutality tee to the ring, a bold move in a sport populated with plenty of law and order types.

Kauffman had put extra pressure on himself, sharing that he’d retire if he lost, so the bar was set at a certain height. But it Wallin, the Swede who opened some in hanging with Tyson Fury when they clashed in 2019, who cleared the bar, with no problem.

In round five, the ref looked to be better safe than sorry. He saw that Kauffman was working with one arm, and so he pulled the plug at 2:32 of the fifth. Travis didn’t protest the TKO. “Pulled it,” he told a ring doc of his shoulder after the referee signaled the end.

Wallin’s jab set a nice table and combos and mobility proved troubling for Kauffman.

The 29 year old lefty Wallin (now 21-1; 241 pounds), trained by Joey Gamache and managed by Zach Levin, got out to a fine start in the first, as he pumped the jab. We knew that Kauffman had dealt with shoulder surgery, in Dec. 2018 he had a hurt shoulder going into his fight with Luis Ortiz and had surgery after, in May 2019. He was out all 2019, and now, working off rust, we wondered if he’d look like an “old” 34? He is due to turn 35 on Aug. 12 and we knew he had to fight off a case of COVID a few months back. He was able to slide down to Houston to train, however.

Otto too had fought off COVID, in March, but word is he adapted pretty well to training, while living in NYC. He didn’t bloat up, and was able to get decent sparring, so we heard. At 234 1/2, he’d been heavier, but his mid-section looked available to Wallin. Travis switched to lefty, looking to throw the Swede, nicknamed “All In,” off.

In the second, we saw Otto setting down on shots, wanting to put out word that he’d not be available to grind down. It was lefty versus lefty, and then Travis started trying to push Wallin back. Mauro Ranallo noted that Travis has battled depression and that depression would be upticking, with coronavirus’ presence. The ref, Mike Ortega, warned Wallin to stay off the foes’ neck, and said he’d take a point next time. That was a quick warning.

In round three, we saw Wallin keep a smart distance, move enough to keep Kauffman a step behind, and pile up points. Travis did some decent body work, with both hands, but Otto started piling up combos. His hands looked fluid, and Al Bernstein by now noted that he was “taking Travis Kauffman apart.” Otto folded in an uppercut late, and landed 31 shots in the round. On replay, you saw Otto’s savvy body work. His jab set that table. Father/trainer Marshall Kauffman told his son to “put the pressure on him” after the round, and admitted that Otto snagged the third.

In round four, Otto proved to be busier, and he worked low, then high, his gameplan looked on message. The Otto jab looked bothersome, and the announcers remarked before the round that Travis was gulping for air. Otto worked well backing up, and we heard that he even trained during peak COVID time in Central Park.

Gamache (55-4 as a pro) told Otto to keep moving his feet before the fifth started. He complied, and he moved those hands, too. Then, trouble for Travis. He threw a wide left, as a lefty, and turned around, and winced, and then remembered to defend himself. His left hung by his side, and Ortega didn’t let him try to work one handed for that long. Otto whacked him with a right hook, and in came Ortega.

Kauffman debuted in 2006, and we wonder if this is it for him. His frecord stands at 34-4, and he’s lost three of his last four, to Amir Mansour, Ortiz and now the Swede.

Father Marshall told NYFights post-fight that Travis, off for 19 months, hurt the shoulder in round one. The shoulder he said was sore in camp, he reported.

And, will he fight again, or call it a career? “He will be back,” his father told me.

Bernstein gave Otto a thumb up for his effort, and lauded Travis’ grit. Ranallo liked Ortega’s willingness to end the matter.

OH GOLLY MARINEZ READY FOR ROMERO

Lightweight Rolando Romero came in to his bout with Jackson Marinez promising the world. Instead, he got a decision win that many folks take issue with.

You guys are going to dig a massive KO, he said pre-fight. That didn’t happen, because Marinez fought way better than his preceding rep indicated he could or would. After twelve rounds, he had his hand raised, as the judges’ scores were read off. 115-113 from Don Trella, said Jimmy Lennon. 116-112 from Glenn Feldman. And 118-110, from Frank Lombardi.

The Lombardi card, straight up, is a bad card. The other ones you can more so make a case for. Romero by an eight point margin is not in the ballpark, Frank.

Steve Farhood saw it 117-111, for Marinez.

“I had Marinez winning this fight,” said Mares, and Bernstein took issue with that Lombardi card.

Marinez was without trainer Robert Garcia, who had COVID a little while ago, and wanted to be safer than sorrier, so he stayed home.

“You guys say I had a bad performance,” the 24 year old Romero (now 12-0) said after. “I don’t think I had a bad performance. I thought I won the fight. Regardless of everything, I’m the world champ now. I’m happy.” Yes, the WBA “interim” lightweight title was for the taking.

The “loser” came in unheralded, partially probably because he’d fought all but one scrap in his home region. Romero had done a stellar job on social media, hyping himself and the bout, it will be intresting to see if he dials back on the hubris after he ponders the way he won.

In the first three, we saw that Marinez wasn’t in over his head. He was light on his feet, and moved his head and torso, looking slippery, and then he’d show fast hands.

Watchers saw almost right away that Romero wouldn’t be rolling over Marinez, who looked confident in his skin from the get go.

Romero looked to land a bomb, but the sweet feet of Marinez made him hard to hit. Al Bernstein said in round three that Marinez was looking to be the stiffest test for Romero to this point.

Abner Mares loved Marinez’ jab, he said in the fourth. In the fifth, we heard from Mauro Ranallo that Romero’s dad came from Cuba, on a perilous trek to America. But dad’s hard road to get here didn’t factor in, because Marinez was proving to be hard to handle.

Mares said in round seven that he thought maybe Romero should have stepped up slower, not skip to a twelve rounder before taking a ten. A pro since 2016, he’d not be further than the sixth to this point.

In round nine, we were told Marinez had over 300 amateur bouts. How worried was Rollies’ corner? They needn’t have worried, the judges were liking his work. A cut appeared, off a chopping right, on Romero’s left eye.

Marinez looked quite fresh in the 11th. Steve Farhood was impressed, he had Marinez up four after 10. There was the jab, he had bounce in his step, Marinez looked to be on the course to getting a sweet upset win. To the cards we’d go. Cue the protest cries…

“He came out a little bit tougher and slicker than what I thought,” Romero said after, of the Domincan pugilist. “But all he did was move around the entire fight. He didn’t even try to engage so it’s hard to knock out someone who doesn’t want to get knocked out or doesn’t try to engage. I hurt him multiple times, with body shots, with a few hooks. There was one moment I hurt him with a right hand and he pulled my head down. It was hard to finish him off because I hurt him a lot at the end of the rounds.

OK, how about a rematch? “Yeah [I would give him a rematch]. He didn’t do anything special.”

And what is he looking forward to, in the near future? “The other champions are still not going to fight me,” Romero said. “I hope they get in the ring with me. Once my eye heals back up from the headbutt, I’m going to be back in the ring.”

Jackson Maríñez: “That was pure robbery. I won the fight. I out-jabbed, out-boxed him. You could tell he didn’t think he won the fight right afterwards. It’s a robbery.”

Here is the release Showtime sent out after the bouts:

UNCASVILLE, Conn. – August 16, 2020 – David Benavidez kept his unbeaten record intact after 23 fights with a dominating performance against Alexis Angulo in the main event of an exciting night of boxing live on SHOWTIME Saturday night from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn., presented by Premier Boxing Champions.
(For highlights, click HERE)

In the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING® tripleheader card, the 23-year-old Benavídez (23-0, 20 KOs) – who lost his WBC world title belt on the scale on Friday – scored a stoppage victory against the former world title challenger Angulo (26-2, 22 KOs), whose corner threw in the towel after the 10th round.

“I rate myself a solid eight,” Benavidez said. “I could have done some stuff better, but overall it was a great performance. I didn’t want to go too fast and leave myself exposed for some big shots. He’s a heavy puncher. But like I said, I like to do the stuff that nobody has ever done. Nobody has ever stopped him and I’m pretty sure nobody is ever going to make him look like that again. I demolished him from round one to round 10.”

A seven-year pro at the age of 23, Benavidez landed 56 percent of his power punches in the fight and averaged 29 of 70 punches thrown per round. Benavidez closed the show by landing a career high 54 punches in round 10.

Colombia’s Angulo, now fighting out of Miami, Fla., entered his second world title opportunity riding a three-fight winning streak, but was unable to come counter anything Benavidez threw at him.

Benavidez said he was disappointed and embarrassed by not making the 168-pound weight limit on Friday. “Everything everyone said about me is true,” Benavidez said. “I should be a professional and come in on weight, but this time I couldn’t do it. It’s my first time not making weight in eight years of being a professional.”

“I really have to talk to my promoter to see what’s next,” Benavidez added. “I’ll fight anybody to get back to the spot I was. You could see by this performance tonight, I could put on a great performance against anybody and people will pay to see that. I’m probably going to go right back into training camp to make sure I don’t miss weight.”

In the co-main event, rising lightweight Rolando “Rolly” Romero (12-0, 10 KOs) scored a controversial unanimous decision over previously fellow unbeaten Jackson Maríñez (19-1, 7 KOs) to capture the interim WBA Lightweight Title. The scores were 115-113, 116-112 and 118-110, all in favor of Romero

The story of the fight was Maríñez’s reliable jabs as the Dominican fighter won the battle in that department (14 percent compared to Romero’s 10 percent). It was Romero, however, who held the advantage on power punches connecting on 24 percent (31 of 228) compared to 18 percent for Maríñez (72 of 401).

“I don’t think I had a bad performance,” said Romero, who confidently predicted a brutal knockout would end the bout in his pre-fight comments. “I thought I won the fight. Regardless of everything, I’m the world champ now. I’m happy.”

Romero suffered a slight cut above his left eye in the ninth round on a head butt, but it didn’t seem to affect his performance in the championship rounds. “He came out a little bit tougher and slicker than what I thought,” Romero said. “But all he did was move around the entire fight. He didn’t even try to engage. It’s hard to knock out someone who doesn’t try to engage. I hurt him multiple times with body shots and a few hooks. There was one moment I hurt him with a right hand and he pulled my head down. It was just hard to finish him off.

“Yeah [I would give him a rematch]. He didn’t do anything special.”

The 29-year-old Maríñez, who holds the WBA’s No. 6 ranking, is trained by Robert Garcia, who was not present in the Maríñez’s corner electing not to travel cross country from his Southern California home.

“That was pure robbery,” Maríñez said. “I won the fight. I out-jabbed, out-boxed him. You could tell he didn’t think he won the fight right afterwards. It’s a robbery.”

In the opening bout of the telecast, heavyweight contender Otto Wallin recorded a TKO at 2:32 of the fifth round against Travis Kauffman, who re-tore his left labrum at the start of the fifth round and was unable to lift his arm. Referee Michael Ortega signaled the end of the fight and afterwards Kauffman announced he was retiring from boxing, just days ahead of his 35th birthday.
(For highlights, click HERE)

The 29-year-old Wallin (21-1, 14 KOs) who had a four-inch height advantage over Kauffman, said he felt for the injured Kauffman, but was dominating the fight. “I was breaking him down. I had a lot left,” Wallin said. “Too bad he hurt his shoulder in the end, but I was breaking him and hitting him with good clean shots.”

Wallin looked sharp in his return to the ring for the first time since he nearly defeated Tyson Fury in September 2019. He landed 12 jabs per round and 54 percent of his power shots throughout the fight. Currently living in New York City and originally Representing his native Sundsvall, Sweden, Wallin had former champion Joey Gamache in his corner for the bout.

Both fighters have recovered from injury in the recent past, as well as the COVID-19 virus. “I didn’t feel anything from COVID,” Wallin said. “I had great training. I was sick in March, but COVID didn’t hit me very hard. I was lucky. I’m sorry for everyone who lost their lives due to COVID.

“I want to go back to New York next and relax a little bit. I’ve been training for a long time now, almost a year. So I want to relax a little bit and hopefully I can fight again by the end of the year.”

The 34-year-old Kauffman (32-4, 23 KOs) from Reading, Pa., was fighting for the first time in five years and seven fights without his trainer Naazim Richardson, who died unexpectedly last month. After the fight, Kauffman said he was retiring from boxing.

“I tore my left labrum getting ready for the [Luis] Ortiz fight,” Kauffman said. “Like a dummy, I waited five months to have surgery on it after the Ortiz fight [December of 2018]. I started feeling better and was going to do a tune-up fight in March, but then COVID happened. This opportunity came up and I didn’t want to pass it up and I felt good. In the first round I hurt it. I felt it, but then it went away and I thought maybe it’s just my mind and it went away. Then in the fifth round I heard it and that was it. It was torn again.

“I’m done. I’m retiring. I have kids. I’ve been doing this a long time,” Kauffman said.

During the SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast, there were several important updates to the upcoming September 26 SHOWTIME PPV twin bill featuring the world champion Charlo twins, which will start live at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT. Five of the six bouts of the unique doubleheader all for one price will be contested with a World Championship belt at stake.

The first card is headlined by Jermall Charlo defending his WBC Middleweight title as he will face No. 1-ranked contender Sergiy Derevyanchenko. All-action Brandon Figueroa will defend his WBA Super Bantamweight title against Damien Vasquez. WBO Bantamweight titlist John Riel Casimero will defend his 122-pound belt against an opponent to be named.

After an intermission, the pay-per-view will feature three more fights with a 154-pound unification serving as the main event as WBC champion Jermell Charlo takes on WBA and IBF titlist Jeison Rosario. Luis Nery faces Aaron Alameda for the vacant WBC Super Bantamweight title and former unified world champion Danny Roman takes on Juan Carlos Payano in a Super Bantamweight special attraction.

Saturday’s SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast, the second of a nine-event television lineup taking place over the next five months, will replay on Monday at 10 p.m. ET/PT on SHOWTIME EXTREME.

An industry leading production team and announce crew delivered all the sights, sounds and drama from Mohegan Sun Arena. Veteran broadcaster Brian Custer hosted the telecast, versatile combat sports voice Mauro Ranallo called the action ringside alongside Hall of Fame analyst Al Bernstein and three-division world champion and Olympian Abner Mares providing expert analysis. Two Hall of Famers rounded out the SHOWTIME telecast team – unofficial ringside scorer Steve Farhood and world-renowned ring announcer Jimmy Lennon Jr. The Executive Producer was David Dinkins, Jr. and the Director was Bob Dunphy.

The telecast was available in Spanish via Secondary Audio Programing (SAP) with Alejandro Luna and former world champion Raul Marquez calling the action.

Saturday’s fights are presented by Premier Boxing Champions and promoted by TGB Promotions and Mayweather Promotions. The main event is promoted in association with Sampson Boxing and the Wallin-Kauffman bout is promoted in association with Salita Promotions and Kings Promotions.

*  *  *
Speed Bag: Showtime comes back to Mohegan Sun on Sept. 19, said Brian Custer. Erickson Lubin meets Terrell Gausha, and Lubin will be a 70-30 favorite or so. A title shot will come to the winner, we were told in a voiceover’d vignette. We saw Lubin working out, with trainer Kevin Cunningham, and then footage of Lubin’s loss to Jermell Charlo, back in 2017.

Editor/publisher Michael Woods became addicted to boxing in 1990, when Buster Douglas shocked the world with his demolition of the fearsome Mike Tyson. The Brooklyn-based journalist Woods has covered the sport since then, for ESPN The Magazine, ESPN.com, ESPN New York, RING, and he was editor of TheSweetScience.com from 2007-2015. Woods is also an accomplished blow by blow and color man, having done work for Top Rank, DiBella Entertainment, EPIX, and numerous other organizations.

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