David Benavidez didn’t get the fight he wanted most. But he got a big one. And he could face a stiff challenge.
The former two-time 168-pound titleholder – who has been pursuing Canelo Alvarez – will take on tricky, much-avoided southpaw Demetrius Andrade instead on pay-per-view Nov. 25 from Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.
“This is definitely the biggest fight of my career,” Benavidez said at the kickoff news conference Thursday in Los Angeles. “I give Demetrius a lot of props. He’s a great fighter and a lot of people have been ducking him for a long time.
“Nobody wanted to give him the opportunity but now we came together and we have the opportunity to make a great fight happen. These are the fights I want. I want to make my own lane and face the best. Andrade is one of the best in this weight class.
“I know this isn’t going to be an easy fight but at the end of the day, it’s going to bring the best out of me. I’m a monster for a reason.”
Benavidez (27-0, 23 KOs) was asked to compare Andrade to Caleb Plant, a talented technician whom Benavidez easily outpointed in March.
The 26-year-old from Phoenix responded by saying that Andrade, a former 154- and 160-pound titleholder with an awkward style, presents a completely difference challenge from Plant.
“Everything about Demetrius Andrade is different than Caleb Plant,” he said. “His fighting style. He’s a lefty. His combination selection is different. It’s up to me to do the homework and see what I can learn from him off his previous fights and then put in the game plan.
“He’s a world class fighter and he’s not going to give me an easy fight at all. He’s hungry for the fight so that’s going to make for a great fight and the fans are going to be the ones who win.”
What about Alvarez?
A meeting with the Mexican star, who defeated Jermell Charlo by a one-sided decision on Sept. 30, could still happen but Benavidez must be successful on Nov. 25.
“I’m not worried about Canelo Alvarez. I’m worried about Demetrius Andrade,” he said. “I definitely believe the winner of this fight is the best super middleweight in the world. … He’s a very technical fighter. He’s a champion in two different weight classes.
“When you get a fighter like this, it’s 50-50. He’s a threat to anybody. A lot of people wouldn’t take the fight with him because they know he’s a problem. But for me, I want to be the best. I’m taking this challenge because I want to shut everybody’s mouth up.
“When great fighters get put in front of me, the best comes out of me and I become a great fighter myself.”
Meanwhile, Andrade (32-0, 19 KOs) also believes this fight pits the best 168-pounders against one another.
“There’s nothing about this guy that you can criticize,” the 35-year-old from Rhode Island said of his opponent. “Therefore, we have ourselves a great fight. Our styles are going to clash really well and I think we’re going to put on a show. May the best man win.
“This is the Super Bowl of the 168-pound division. This is the biggest fight that can be made. The two most avoided fighters. Yes, I haven’t fought the best because the best doesn’t want to fight me. He can have that same claim. But the time is now. This is the fight.”