The undefeated two-time super middleweight champion and rising star captures the WBC interim strap with a third-round stoppage of Lemieux in front of hometown fans Saturday night on PBC on SHOWTIME.
David Benavidez entered the ring with a beaming, relaxed smile Saturday night at the Gila River Arena in Glendale, Arizona. The explosive 25-year-old super middleweight left the ring with a beaming, relaxed smile, after extinguishing valiant former world champ David Lemieux in three rounds for the WBC World Super Middleweight Interim Title atop a PBC event on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing.
The end came at 1:31 of the third, after Lemieux’s corner stopped it.
“I just want to thank everyone who came out tonight,” Benavidez said. “If it wasn't for my people from Arizona, then I wouldn't be here. It’s surreal to me. I'm going to give my heart in the ring for all of you every day.
Despite being in serious trouble from the waning seconds of the first round, Lemieux (43-5, 36 KOs) kept coming.
“Lemieux is a special type of breed,” Benavidez said. “This guy was swinging until the end. I had to be on my p's and q's. He's a tough champion, so my hat's off to him. He's the only one with the guts to face me.”
This sets up Benavidez (26-0, 23 KOs) for a possible title shot against WBC and undisputed super middleweight world champion Canelo Alvarez, or other top 168-pounders such as former IBF 168-pound world champ Caleb Plant, unbeaten two-division world champion Jermall Charlo or undefeated rising star David Morrell Jr.
“I'm waiting for all those top guys to send me the contract,” Benavidez said. “They know what's up. I’m right here waiting for them. I'll put myself up against everyone. I guarantee I'm knocking everyone out.
“I can get better everywhere. You can always learn. It only gets better from here. I'm just going to keep working. Facing tough guys like Lemieux just pushes me to keep moving to the next level.”
Lemieux came out and attacked early. He even nailed Benavidez against the ropes with a left hook within the first minute of the fight. Benavidez found his range with the jab moments later.
With 13 seconds left in the first, Benavidez caught Lemieux coming forward with a perfectly timed left hook to the chin. The Canadian veteran went sprawling backwards into a corner.
Lemieux was clearly in trouble as Benavidez battered him until the bell rang. Between rounds, Lemieux’s corner told him that if he took any more severe punishment, they would stop the fight.
The courageous Lemieux lasted another 18 seconds to start the second, when Benavidez nailed him with a left jab, sending him down, under the ropes and nearly out the ring. Referee Harvey Dock told Lemieux, “Show me something,” when he arose.
Lemieux showed great guts in going back at Benavidez again. His left eye was a bloody mess, as Benavidez hit him with every punch he threw and nearly each shot hurt.
The onslaught continued in the third. With 1:35 left in the frame, Benavidez crushed Lemieux with a left hook to the jaw, followed by a right on the top of the head. That’s when Lemieux’s corner saw enough and threw in the towel, mercifully ending it.
“I'm good, Benavidez is a hell of a fighter,” Lemieux said. “I congratulate him. After the first round I was okay, he had gotten me with some good shots. I tried to come back, but he's a very good fighter.”
Benavidez says he’s ready for all the smoke. After tonight’s performance, it’s hard to argue with him.
“Mike Tyson gave me the name ‘The Mexican Monster,’” said Benavidez. “I just feel like I'm the strongest 168 pounder. No one can mess with me.”
Yoelvis Gomez wins lopsided decision over Jorge Cota
Cuban southpaw Yoelvis Gomez went 10 rounds for the first time in his career and pitched a 100-90 shutout over 34-year-old southpaw Jorge Cota (30-6, 27 KOs) in an impressive step-up bout.
It was a sound test for Gomez (6-0, 5 KOs).
“I wanted to steal the show, but I know that all Mexican fighters are warriors, and Cota was a warrior tonight and was able to take me the distance,” Gomez said. “I found out today that you have to be ready to go for all 10 rounds. The knockout didn't come tonight, but I was conditioned and prepared to go the distance.
“On Monday, I’ll start up again with my trainer to see what I can do better in my next fight. Thank you to all the fans tonight, I love Arizona!”
Gomez, 24, had Cota cornered with 1:34 left in the first round, nailing Cota to the body and the head. In the last second of the first, Gomez landed a jolting left uppercut that snapped Cota’s head back.
With 2:07 left in the third, Gomez knocked Cota back into the ropes with a counter right hand to the jaw. Cota was in trouble and was thrown down by Gomez with slightly less than two minutes remaining in the third.
In the last minute of the third, Gomez crowded Cota against the ropes and was at times smiling. The round ended when Cota tried to get one last shot in and hit referee Wes Melton in the chest by accident.
Cota had his best round in the fifth. He had tapped Gomez a few times with body shots, while Gomez seemed to be slowing. Gomez closed an uneventful sixth with a left to the body and head.
With 2:48 left in the seventh, Gomez smacked a left jab right on Cota’s chin and he appeared to hurt Cota. It was a bounce back round for Gomez, who showed more energy in the seventh than in the previous two frames.
“The judges’ decision was what it was, it’s pointless to talk about it now,” Cota said. “Yoelvis is a strong fighter and he hit me hard on my left rib, I think he hurt me there. I’ll get some X-rays to see what the damage was.
“He kept up his consistency and his punching power throughout the entire fight. I was at 50% after the rib injury, but credit to him for having fought like he did.”
Luis Nunez wins a unanimous decision over Jonathan Fierro
This was a really interesting fight between two, undefeated young featherweights. Luis “The Twist” Nunez, 22, remained undefeated with unanimous 10-round decision over Jonathan Fierro.
All three judges were in agreement, 96-94.
Nunez (17-0, 12 KOs) countered well and caught 18-year-old southpaw Jonathan Fierro (13-1, 12 KOs) coming forward most of the fight.
“I feel great, and this was another positive step forward,” Nunez said. “I kept my distance, hit him when I had to and built up my equity round by round. What’s next? In ready for anybody. Bring them on.”
With 1:11 left in the first, Nunez backed up Fierro with a left as the teenager closed in. Fierro kept firing his left hand throughout the round. Referee Tony Zaino called time with 2:01 left in the second because of an accidental headbutt, which opened a cut on Nunez’s left eye and on the left side of Fierro’s head.
Nunez was backing up Fierro, who was not helping himself with his wide punching. The two really engaged in the fifth, with Fierro finally luring Nunez into his game, tagging him with counter lefts and right hooks.
As Fierro neared with 1:27 left in the sixth, Nunez plowed him with a right to the chin. With 2:41 remaining in the seventh, Nunez once more caught Fierro leaning in, blasting him with a right-left combo to the head. Twice in the eighth, the pair clashed heads without any damage to either fighter.
Nunez controlled the action over the last two stanzas winning a close but clear victory.
For a closer look at Benavidez vs Lemieux, check out our fight night page.