Among the many things taken away by the coronavirus pandemic were plans of a long overdue hometown headliner for David Benavidez.
It had been nearly five years since his last fight in Phoenix, Arizona when the unbeaten super middleweight titlist got the call that he was next in line on the Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) circuit to head home for his next fight. The moment was to come in the form of a voluntary title defense versus Miami’s Roamer Angulo (26-1, 22KOs), to have topped an April 18 tripleheader live from the Arizona Federal Theatre.
The bout was formally announced on March 9, exactly one week before such plans would get shut down as the initial wave of the ongoing global health crisis ran rampant on the boxing schedule. The matchup has since been repurposed as part of Showtime’s recent block announcement of eight major fight dates for the next five months, as he will face Angulo on August 15, live from a crowdless Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut.
“I was supposed to fight on April (18). It was about four weeks before then, they made the decision to cancel the whole card due to the pandemic,” Benavidez recalled during a virtual press conference to otherwise discuss his upcoming title defense versus Angulo. “I really wanted to go back. I always told myself that when I went back to (fight in) Phoenix, it would be as a world champion. That really meant a lot to me.
“Unfortunately, it didn’t happen. But it was for the best. I wouldn’t have felt right if it happened and someone got infected.”
At the very least, Benavidez still gets to return to the ring for the first time since regaining his super middleweight title. The undefeated 23-year old did so in a 9th round stoppage of Anthony Dirrell in the chief support of a Fox Sports Pay-Per-View event last September in Los Angeles.
Next up will come his own headlining act. His own expectation, obviously, is to emerge victorious. With any luck, the world will be in a safer place by the time his next fight rolls around and that he can finally come home.
“I feel like the time will come soon enough,” believes Benavidez, who has fought three times in Phoenix, the last occasion coming in a 2nd round knockout of Ricardo Campillo in May 2015. “Everything needs to cool down a little more. But I’m 23 years old. I got the all the time in the world.
“We just have to let this pandemic calm down and I’ll be back.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox