Benavidez: ‘I want [Jermall] Charlo, Canelo Alvarez, Caleb Plant, all of them’

On Saturday night, we may have seen the best fighter at 168 pounds. Former two-time world champion David Benavidez kept his perfect ring record intact with an 11th-round technical knockout victory against veteran Ronald Ellis in their WBC Super Middleweight Title Eliminator from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn.(Showtime)

“I rate my performance pretty good, but I know I could have done better,” said Benavidez. “Ronald Ellis is a tough competitor. I just hope the fans like what they saw. I threw a lot of combinations, punches in bunches. There were a lot of times I thought Ellis was going to quit, but he didn’t. Hats off to him; he’s a tough guy. It was a little later than I wanted, but a stoppage is still a stoppage. I hope the fans got a good show tonight.”

Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs) displayed great hand speed, accuracy, and power as he dominated Ellis (18-2-2, 12 KOs) over 11 rounds before referee Johnny Callas finally waved off the fight at 2:03 of the penultimate round. The 24-year-old star held a significant lead on all three scorecards (99-91, 98-92 x2) at the time of the stoppage.

Benavidez, who lost his WBC super-middleweight title after missing weight in his win against Alexis Angulo back in August, wants the big guys at 168, including unified 168-pound champion Canelo Alvarez, IBF super-middleweight champion Caleb Plant, and even WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo.

“I want all the big guys,” Benavidez said. “Speaking for the fans too, they would love to see me against all the big guys because, as you can see, I love throwing punches. I love stopping people, so me versus any big name would be an amazing fight. I want [Jermall] Charlo, Canelo Alvarez, Caleb Plant, all of them.”

Look, the reality is that Benavidez is an uncrowned champion at 168. Canelo’s ultimate goal is to be an undisputed champion at 168. He does not need Benavidez for that. Plant probably wants the opportunity to fight the biggest name in the sport in Canelo, so he might wait to see what happens with Alvarez-Saunders in May, which makes what happens next with Benavidez very interesting.

Benavidez on fight with Ellis: ‘This is the strongest I have ever felt’

Two-time world champion David Benavídez faces dangerous veteran Ronald Ellis in a 12-round WBC super-middleweight title eliminator Saturday, March 13 live on SHOWTIME at 9 p.m. ET/6 p.m. PT from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. in a Premier Boxing Champions event.

The SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast also features two under-25 lightweight contenders Isaac Cruz and Matías Romero in a 12-round co-main event bout. A 10-round super welterweight affair between Terrell Gausha and Jamontay Clark will open the telecast on SHOWTIME..

David Benavídez (23-0, 20 KOs), a boxing prodigy from Phoenix, Arizona, returns to the ring following a stoppage victory over Alexis Angulo at the “Fight Sphere” at Mohegan Sun last August. Benavídez turned pro at 16 and captured his first world title at age 20, becoming the youngest 168-pound world champion in history. An undefeated two-time super middleweight champion, Benavídez looks to earn another title opportunity at super middleweight. He was stripped of his WBC crown due to missing weight against Angulo. With nine of his 20 knockouts coming in the first round, the 24-year-old possesses one of the most devastating arsenals in all of boxing. It was on full display when he captured the super middleweight title for the second time via ninth-round TKO over fellow two-time champion Anthony Dirrell.

“I’ve had an amazing camp in Big Bear and this is the strongest I have ever felt so I’m looking to get an early stoppage against Ellis,” said Benavidez. “I’m glad this is a title eliminator and it’s going to be another step to being a world champion once again.”

The 31-year-old Ellis (18-1-2, 12 KOs) has been calling for the biggest fights at 160 and 168 pounds, and he has landed the toughest challenge of his professional career against Benavidez. Ellis, a native of Lynn, Mass., is fresh off a win over three-time world title challenger Matt Korobov who was forced to retire due to an injury during their December fight on SHOWTIME. Ellis has exhibited his slick boxing ability in recent outings but also possesses ferocious power, as evidenced by eight first round knockout victories in his career.

“It’s a fight but not just any fight,” said Ellis. “This is the type of fight I have trained for and wanted since I turned pro. He’s going to bring his best on March 13 and that will bring out the best in me.”

Cruz (20-1-1, 15 KOs) returns to the ring following the most impressive performance of his career – an emphatic first-round knockout against former world title challenger Diego Magdaleno in October. Fighting out of his hometown of Mexico City, the 22-year-old is quickly climbing the ladder in the lightweight division in pursuit of a world title. Cruz turned pro in 2015 at the age of 16 and suffered his lone defeat a year later, but his aggressive ring generalship has kept him unbeaten over the past five years.

“I’m very excited to be fighting on SHOWTIME on March 13,” said Cruz. “The lightweight division is the hottest in boxing right now. This fight puts me one step closer to my dream of winning a world title for my Dad, Isaac Cruz, Sr. and my country, Mexico.”

Romero (24-0, 8 KOs) will put his perfect record on the line as he attempts to rise from prospect to contender with a win over Cruz. In his most recent fight this past November, Romero of Cordoba, Argentina defeated Javier José Clavero via unanimous decision in a fight at 130 pounds. The 24-year-old Romero’s most recent knockout came in March 2020 over Gabriel Gustavo Ovejero when he scored a fifth-round TKO in his last fight at lightweight. This fight will mark Romero’s U.S. debut and first appearance on SHOWTIME and Premier Boxing Champions.

“I’ve come so far from Argentina to bring myself one step closer to reaching my goal of being a world champion,” said Romero. “I know that Isaac Cruz is a big puncher but he’s never fought anyone with my speed and heart.”

A decorated amateur who represented the United States at the 2012 London Games, Gausha (21-2-1, 10 KOs) continues his quest to win a world title. Following a sensational first round knockout against Joey Hernández in 2018, Gausha fought former world champion Austin Trout to a split draw and lost a decision against world title challenger Erickson Lubin in back-to-back bouts. Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, the 33-year-old now lives and trains out of Encino, Calif., under the tutelage of accomplished trainer Manny Robles.

“I’m just blessed to be able to do what I love to do,” said Gausha. “I’m excited to be back on PBC and SHOWTIME thanks to Al Haymon. On March 13, I’m ready to go out there and show everybody what Terrell Gausha is made of and put on a show.”

Clark (15-1-1, 7 KOs) comes into this fight off a unanimous decision victory against Anthony Lenk last February. Fighting out of his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, the 26-year-old has only lost one professional fight, which came against former unified super welterweight champion Jeison Rosario in 2018. This will mark the southpaw’s first fight during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It’s been a while since I was in the ring and I’m just excited to be back taking on someone like Terrell Gausha, who will bring a good challenge and let me display all of my talents,” Clark said. “This is the first step in getting back to regular action and I’m not going to waste this opportunity. I’m going on a big run after I beat Gausha. As McFadden and Whitehead said, ‘Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now.’”