The Mohegan Sun Casino in Uncasville, Connecticut is the venue this Saturday night in the USA, as a former world champion makes his first appearance of 2021.
Top of the bill is David Benavidez (23-0, KO20), who would still be WBC Super Middleweight champion had he not lost his belt on the scales in his last outing in August 2020.
The 24-year-old is back in action at the same weight this weekend, in a gentle 12 round attraction against Ronald Ellis (18-1-2, KO12).
The bigger aim for Arizona’s Benavidez is the big fish of the division, but with current WBC and WBA (Super) champion, Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez otherwise engaged with Billy Joe Saunders, and IBF champion, Caleb Plant, seemingly plotting his own course towards the Mexican, Benavidez will have to bide his time for the superfights that he craves.
A meeting with WBC Middleweight champion, Jermall Charlo has also been mooted, with Charlo having to move up to make that happen.
Benavidez claimed the vacant WBC belt in September 2017, but had to get off the deck in the final round to take a split decision win against Ronald Gavril.
A rematch was a natural, and David made no mistake this time, winning every round on two cards, and eleven on a third to take a wide points win.
A second round knockout of J’Leon Love kicked off 2019, and then stopped Anthony Dirrell in nine in September of the same year.
2020 saw one outing, and it was a costly one, as he weighed in nearly three pounds overweight, which forced him to give up his title. He retired Roamer Alexis Angulo in ten one sided rounds as the fight went ahead as scheduled.
Benavidez will want to look good this weekend, and deal with Ellis in style.
Massachusetts-based Ellis is nothing out of the ordinary, but is coming off two good wins following a February 2019 majority points loss to DeAndre Ware.
December 2019 saw Ellis take a majority win against Immanuwel Aleem, and he was last out in December 2020 beating Matvey Korobov after the Russian was forced to retire after four rounds with an ankle injury.
Prediction: Benavidez will be in no mood to be complacent, and will want a statement win to put the Super Middleweight division on notice. Ellis looks tailor made for him, and I expect David to put on a show and stop Ellis before halfway.
The other twelve rounder on the looks a decent one. Unbeaten Argentine, Jose Matias Romero (24-0, KO8) faces off with Mexico’s Isaac Cruz Gonzalez (20-1-1, KO15).
Gonzalez is coming off an impressive one round wipe out of Diego Magdaleno in October 2020, but, Romero is a durable type, having been a ten round distance six times, and he went twelve for the first time last time out, taking a unanimous win against Javier Jose Clavero in his homeland.
Gonzalez is a big puncher, but may be forced to go the distance with Romero here. I lean towards Gonzalez on the cards.
A ten rounder at Welterweight sees Jamontay Clark (15-1-1, KO7) and Terrell Gausha (21-2-1, KO10) clash. Both are in patchy form, with Clark 2-1-1 in his last four contests, and Gausha 1-2-1 in his last four, so it’s an intriguing crossroads clash. Gausha has slightly more experienced and should take a close points win.
At Super Bantamweight, Michael Angeletti (1-0, KO1) should also need the cards over four rounds to deal with Fernando Ibarra De Anda (2-5, KO0), who has only been stopped once, by Robeisy Ramirez.