Jim Lampley, the former HBO commentator, says David Benavidez will now be an underdog against WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol based on his performance last Saturday night against Oleksandr Gvozdyk in Las Vegas.

(Photo credit: Esther Lin/Premier Boxing Champions)

Benavidez’s Limited Options

Lampley feels that Benavidez’s options are limited after he struggled against the former WBC light heavyweight champion Gvozdyk (20-2, 16 KOs). He notes that Benavidez’s power wasn’t as effective at 175 as it had been at 168, and he faded in the second half of the contest.

Benavidez still emerged victorious, winning a 12-round unanimous decision by the scores of 116-112, 117-111, and 119-109.

Benavidez’s performance didn’t match the judges’ score, and few people believe he has any chance of beating Bivol or IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev.

Benavidez’s Chances Against Bivol and Beterbiev

Lampley said that he won’t even mention Beterbiev, meaning he doesn’t see Benavidez standing any chance of beating him. That’s how fans view it after watching how ineffective Benavidez looked against the 37-year-old Gvozdyk, a fighter Beterbiev knocked out five years ago and sent into retirement.

“I certainly think if Benavidez doesn’t get a fight against Canelo, he’s an underdog against Dmitry Bivol, and we’re not even going to talk about Beterbiev,” said analyst Jim Lampley to Sean Zittel, discussing David Benavidez’s chances against WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol after his less-than-spectacular performance in his debut at 175 against former WBC champion Oleksandr Gvozdyk last Saturday night.

Canelo Alvarez: A Potential Opportunity?

“David Benavidez’s options are somewhat limited based on what we saw. He’s got to hope that Canelo Alvarez will change his mind and decide to fight him. Maybe he’ll like what he saw from a 168-lb fighter who moved up to 175 and didn’t have as much pop as many people expected, including me.”

I don’t think Canelo is going to change his mind about wanting $200 million for a fight against Benavidez because he’s talked too much trash about him in the last few years.

Canelo won’t get any credit if he beats Benavidez now because fans saw how poor he looked against Gvozyk, and many of them now view him as a hype job who built his resume off of carefully picked opponents.

“I predicted a knockout for Benavidez, and in the early rounds, I thought that was what I was going to see [against Gvozdyk], and then he seemed to fade a little bit against a really good experienced veteran fighter with a lot to fight for,” said Lampley.

The former HBO play-by-play host Lampley should have known better than to pick Benavidez to knockout Gvozdyk because that would never happen.

Benavidez is a volume puncher, and there was no chance that he would get away with fighting that way against Gvozdyk, whose technical skills and power were good for him to set up shop standing in front of him, throwing nonstop punches the way he’d done at 168 against marginal opposition.

“Maybe the seven pounds made a difference in how heavy David’s punches were, and he had to weather the temporary storm and go away with a decision victory,” said Lampley.

“I think he slowed enough in the second half of the fight where Canelo will want to examine the money and see exactly how much it’s worth to him to go in and take whatever risk inherent in fighting David Benavidez.”

Benavidez started slowing after the fourth round last Saturday night and looked exhausted and weak. His power was never there from round one, but that wasn’t a surprise because Benavidez has never been a puncher at 168. His knockouts have mostly come from his volume punching, hitting his opponents with an accumulation of shots.

“Maybe after looking at him, he’ll think, ‘There’s no risk at all. I’m Canelo Alvarez. I have the most proven punch resistance in the sport. He’s not going to hurt me,’” said Lampley.

“I think there’s an opportunity here for Canelo to think exactly that based on what he saw. Is Canelo a bigger puncher than Oleksandr Gvozdyk? I think he is. There’s a lot of ways for Canelo to look at this and think, ‘I’m a favorite over David Benavidez,’” said Lampley.

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