Saturday night's stacked SHOWTIME Pay-Per-View didn't disappoint -- and paved the way for what may be another historic year in 2024.
Yes, it was a memorable Saturday evening of boxing at Mandalay Bay’s Michelob Ultra Arena in Las Vegas.
Here are some next-day thoughts on each of the featured fights and some bonus takes.
David Benavidez KO 6 Demetrius Andrade
Sometimes in the career of an unbeaten, dominating fighter you wonder whether anyone can take him or her down. David Benavidez is at that point right now.
“El Munstruo” needed a couple rounds to find his bearings against a capable and awkward opponent in undefeated two-division world champion Demetrius Andrade in a Premier Boxing Champions main event on SHOWTIME pay-per-view. However, once he did, his destructive power was on full, breathtaking display.
The beginning of the end was a right hand to the head that put Andrade down and hurt him in the final seconds of round four. What followed was as brutal as it gets. Benavidez landed an unfathomable 74 power shots over the next few rounds, according to CompuBox.
Andrade’s corner wisely stopped the bout after the sixth round to save their battered fighter from a worse fate, giving Benavidez a successful defense of his Interim WBC Super Middleweight World Title.
The loser said afterward that Benavidez’s size, more than his ability was responsible for the result. Not true. Yes, Benavidez was the naturally bigger man but Andrade made a natural progression to 168.
And Benavidez is no mere brawler who relies on his brawn to win fights. His ability to cut off the ring, land punches as accurately as anyone in the sport and avoid taking unnecessary punishment himself requires a high level of skill.
Indeed, his size and ability to use it to his advantage is overwhelming. That’s why you might wonder whether anyone can beat him.
Of course, one man who might be able to turn the trick is Undisputed Super Middleweight World Champion Canelo Alvarez, who Benavidez called out once again after his victory. Is there anyone out there who doesn’t think it’s time for that fight happen?
“Give me the fight everyone wants to see,” Benavidez bellowed in the ring after his victory.
What do you say, Canelo?
Jermall Charlo UD 10 Jose Benavidez Jr.
Rust? What rust?
Charlo, returning from a 2½-year layoff to recover from injuries and focus on his mental health, looked as if he’d never been away in his unanimous decision victory over a determined, but overmatched Benavidez (28-3-1, 19 KOs).
Charlo (33-0, 22 KOs) reminded us of what we’ve been missing, a superb jab, quick, clean combinations and the ring generalship of one of the best in the sport. The only reason the WBC Middleweight World Champion didn’t score a knockout was Benavidez’s inhuman ability to absorb punishing blows.
Now Charlo can look forward to bigger and better things. He remains in the pool of potential opponents for Canelo Alvarez and there a number of good potential tests at 160, including his fellow beltholders, and at 168.
He’ll be difficult to beat no matter who the opponent is if he looks anything like he did on Saturday. Charlo is back.
Subriel Matias KO 6 Shohjahon Ergashev
Matias is beginning to look like his idol and countryman, Felix Trinidad, which is the ultimate compliment for any Puerto Rican fighter.
Trinidad didn’t just defeat opponents; he dismantled them. That’s what Matias (20-1, 20 KOs) did to Ergashev, surviving an early onslaught, shifting gears and then delivering a merciless beating that allowed him to retain his IBF 140-pound World Title and undoubtedly made “Tito” proud.
Ergashev (23-1, 20 KOs) said he retired on his stool because of a leg injury, which might’ve been legitimate. However, a hurricane in the form his imposing foe also had to play a role.
We can’t be certain of how Matias will perform against a next-level opponent, such as Gervonta Davis, Gary Antuanne Russell, Rolando Romero, Teofimo Lopez, Regis Prograis and others but he certainly has earned the right show what he can do against one of them.
Lamont Roach UD 12 Hector Luis Garcia
The second time was the charm for Roach.
The 28-year-old from Washington, D.C., fell short against then-titleholder Jamel Herring in 2019 but didn’t squander his second opportunity to fight for a major belt, defeating WBA 130-pound world champ Hector Garcia by a split decision to win his first title.
Neither man was particularly active but it was Roach (24-1-1, 9 KOs) who pushed the action and landed the cleaner punches, including one that put Garcia (16-2, 10 KOs) down in the 12th round.
The scores were 116-111, 114-113 and 113-114.
You get the feeling that Roach’s breakthrough victory is just the beginning for him. The former amateur star is athletic, well-schooled and a hard worker. He also is fearless. He called out the best in the division afterward, including fellow titleholders O’Shaquie Foster and Emanuel Navarrete.
Don’t be surprised if the new champion gives that-level opponent trouble.
Michel Rivera (25-1, 14 KOs) bounced back nicely from his first career loss, defeating capable veteran Sergey Lipinets (17-3-1, 13 KOs) by a unanimous decision in a 10-round 140-pound bout. The victory, the biggest of the Dominican’s career, makes him a legitimate contender in his new weight class. Rivera lost a decision to Frank Martin last December.
Rising 154-pound contender Vito Mielnicki Jr. (16-1, 11 KOs) made arguably the strongest statement of his young career, putting Mexican Alexis Salazar (25-6, 10 KOs) down three times and stopping him 2:27 into their scheduled 10-round bout. Mielnicki, only 21, is only going to get better.
Shout out to Floyd Mayweather protégé Curmel Moton. Moton, in his second pro bout improved to 2-0 (2 KOs), dropping Hunter Turbyfill twice in the first round and scoring a first-round knockout off a straight right to the solar plexus. Moton is one to watch.
For a closer look at Benavidez vs Andrade, check out our fight night page.