By Dan Ambrose: WBA ‘regular’ super middleweight champion David Morrell Jr. is targeting David Benavidez for a fight after taking care of David Lemieux this Saturday night in their headliner on Showtime.
(Photo Credit: Sean Michael Ham PBC)
The unbeaten talented Cuban southpaw Morrell (6-0, 5 KOs) finds himself in the same position in being seemingly avoided by Canelo Alvarez, Caleb Plant, and the other top guys in the division.
Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) revealed this week that he’s open to fighting the 24-year-old former Cuban National champion Morrell Jr if he can’t get a fight against Canelo, Jermall Charlo, or Plant.
Given that it’s improbable Benavidez will be getting an opportunity to battle any of those three popular guys this year, Morrell might be his best shot for a worthwhile fight this year.
Also, it would give the 25-year-old Benavidez a chance to pick up a world title, albeit the less prestigious secondary WBA 168-lb strap. Canelo has the more valued WBA ‘Super World’ 168lb belt, but he’s sitting on it without defending it.
Benavidez and former IBF middleweight champion Lemieux (43-4, 36 KOs) will be meeting this Saturday, May 21st, on Showtime in a 12-round fight at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona.
The fight will be contested at 168 for the interim WBC super-middleweight strap. Canelo has the main WBC title, but he’s sitting on it without defending the belt.
It’s unclear whether the World Boxing Council will strip Canelo of his WBC 168-lb title if he takes the rematch with WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol at 175.
It’s one thing for the WBC to allow a champion to move up in weight for one fight without stripping them, but it’s a bit much for the belt holder to battle two times in one year at the higher division.
“I am watching Benavidez vs. Lemieux carefully this weekend on Showtime,” said Morrell. “I want the winner. I feel I am the best fighter in the division, and it is clear that no one wants to fight me.
“So, I have to call people out because I am so heavily avoided. I’m putting a target on Benavidez’s back; I’m aiming to take him out.”
The only way Morrell will get a shot at Benavidez is if he wins on Saturday and if he comes up empty with his hopes for a fight against the big three: Canelo, Jermall, and Plant.
In looking at those three reluctant fighters, it’s fair to say that there’s an excellent chance we could see Benavidez and Morrell mixing it up next.
Morrell will need to win his next fight against little-known #11 WBA Kalvin Henderson (15-1-1, 11 KOs) on June 4th at the Armory in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Morrell vs. Henderson is the co-feature bout on the Stephen Fulton vs. Daniel Roman card.
WBC/WBO super bantamweight Fulton will be defending against Roman.
“I’m going to knock him out cold and establish myself as the next superstar in boxing,” said Morrell Jr about Benavidez.