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Benavidez, Morrell agree to fight
Showdown matches top super middleweights not named Canelo
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Soon after David Morrell impressively disposed of Yamaguchi Falcao to retain the WBA “regular” super middleweight belt April 22 on the Gervonta Davis-Ryan Garcia Showtime PPV undercard, he continued to call out David Benavidez, the WBC’s interim titlist.
“I’ll say it again: I want to fight the best, and David Benavidez is one of the best in the division,” Morrell said a few days after the fight. “Millions of fans got to see what I’m all about and I believe I have the skills to beat him. I know he is a warrior that never backs down from a fight, so I’m expecting him to take the challenge. This is a fight I know that fans want to see. The winner can be next in line to fight Canelo. I’m the real monster and I'm ready to prove it in the ring.”
It appears that Morrell will get exactly what he wants and that, indeed, Benavidez isn’t backing down.
The sides have reached a deal in principle for the fight, which would headline a Premier Boxing Champions card on Showtime PPV on a date to be determined in October, or possibly November, Benavidez promoter Sampson Lewkowicz told Fight Freaks Unite.
“We have an agreement. This is the plan,” Lewkowicz said. “We are with the same network. It’s easy to get an agreement. I strongly believe it will be more competitive than it would be with (undisputed champion) Canelo Alvarez. I believe Canelo wouldn’t go past six rounds with Benavidez and with Morrell it’s a coin flip. It’s a great fight. I believe the most important thing is this is a great fight for the public.”
Leon Margules of Warriors Boxing, Morrell’s co-promoter, told Fight Freaks Unite their plan also is for Morrell to next face Benavidez.
“It’s a fight we want,” Margules said.
Benavidez (27-0, 23 KOs), 26, of Phoenix, is coming off his biggest career victory on March 25 in a Showtime PPV headliner at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, where he retained his interim 168-pound belt for the first time via unanimous decision in an entertaining fight against former IBF titlist Caleb Plant.
A month later, Morrell (9-0, 8 KOs), 25, a Cuban southpaw fighting out of Minneapolis, barely broke a sweat in a blowing away late replacement Falcao in the first round to retain his secondary belt for the fifth time.
In the ring immediately after the fight, Morrell began his call out of Benavidez, who was ringside.
“David Benavidez is next. Where is he? I want to fight Benavidez, man. He’s next, 100 percent,” Morrell said. “I don’t want any other guys at 168 pounds. Just Benavidez. I respect Benavidez and his team, but inside the ring, I don’t respect nothing.”
The deal for Benavidez-Morrell came about because of the failure of Benavidez to lure Alvarez into the ring despite Lewkowicz saying he made an offer of at least $50 million for Alvarez, boxing’s biggest star, to face Benavidez in September.
Three weeks after Alvarez retained the undisputed 168-pound title by lopsided decision over John Ryder on May 6 in Alvarez’s Guadalajara, Mexico, homecoming fight Lewkowicz said he sent the offer to Alvarez manager/trainer Eddy Reynoso through various means but that Reynoso never responded.
“We cannot make a deal with Eddy Reynoso because his WhatsApp, email and text message don’t work,” Lewkowicz said sarcastically.
He said he and Reynoso had previously met in person to discuss Alvarez-Benavidez and that soon after he sent an offer. Reynoso claimed it was not received, after which Lewkowicz issued a public letter to him.
“Since you have chosen to conduct our negotiations for David Benavidez to face Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez in public, I’m forced to correct a few mistakes you made in claiming you haven’t received any offers,” Lewkowicz said in the letter. “On Monday May 29 at 4:45 pm, I emailed you what I’m sure would be one of the most lucrative offers of Canelo Alvarez’s career to face Benavidez.
“Please know that you do indeed have an offer to face Benavidez, a sizeable one, and I must tell you that I’m offended by your claim that I’m ‘fantasizing’ about making this fight happen.
“If you are also unable to find this open letter and no one tells you about it, would anyone who knows him please let Eddy know that I will send this same offer any time for him to communicate to Canelo Alvarez. All he needs to do is provide a working email address, apparently.”
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