If his career had been completely smooth, David Benavidez would have made a fifth successful defence of the WBC Super Middleweight title on Saturday night.
Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs) instead remained on course to become a three-time world champion with an 11th round stoppage of the resilient Ronald Ellis at the Mohegan Sun Casino, Connecticut.
The undefeated 24-year-old held the WBC belt on two occasions, but has been stripped twice of his crown, most recently for missing weight in his August outing against Roamer Alexis Angulo, but there were no such problems this time around, as the Arizona man comfortably made the 168lbs limit and with some weight to spare.
Benavidez, an offensive, rapid power-puncher made it 21 knockouts from 24 bouts with a dominant display over previous Canelo Alvarez sparring partner, Ellis.
‘El Bandera Roja’ called for the likes of the WBA ‘Super’ and WBC champion, who faces WBO holder, Billy Joe Saunders on May 8 and long-standing rival, Caleb Plant, the IBF titlist, however both seem unlikely at least for now, with Plant likely to wait until an expected September meeting with Alvarez, should he overcome Saunders.
With the champions tied up for the moment, there are a number of other options at Benavidez’s disposal if he is prepared to risk his #1 ranking with the WBC:
Benavidez dropped Jermall Charlo’s name in his post-fight interview with SHOWTIME, along with Canelo and Plant and the Texan appears to be his number one priority.
Charlo, (31-0, 22 KOs) the WBC Middleweight champion has long been on his radar and has also expressed his interest for a future clash.
The undefeated two-weight world champion made a fourth successive defence of his title with an impressive unanimous decision win over Sergey Derevyanchenko back in November and ‘Hitman’ will desire another big-name fight.
With WBO champion, Demetrius Andrade occupied with Liam Williams on April 17 and should he not secure a unification with either IBF king, Gennady Golovkin or WBA holder Ryota Murata, then a lucrative showdown with Benavidez, potentially at a catchweight would make sense, especially with the interest for the fight already in motion.
With the pair both with Premier Boxing Champions and campaigning on the same networks, it appears a clash would be relatively straightforward to make between two aggressive and highly-acclaimed fighters.
Two-time Middleweight world champion, Daniel Jacobs is in search of a world title shot at 168lbs and would be another intriguing fight.
Jacobs (37-3, 30 KOs) the former IBF and WBA holder at 160lbs, has registered two victories since moving up in weight stopping Julio Cesar Chavez Jr before securing a split decision over Gabriel Rosado in a fight which failed to catch fire in November.
‘Miracle Man’, an extremely versatile operator has a sizeable profile especially in his native Brooklyn area and is ranked at #3 with the WBC and #4 with the WBA, where Benavidez holds a #2 rating.
Benavidez would likely enter as favourite on current form and with youth on his side, however Jacobs has operated at a far higher level and has a wealth of experience, having boxed the likes of Canelo and Gennady Golovkin.
A meeting between these two appears easier to make than previously, with Jacobs now a free agent, following the expiration of his contract with Matchroom Boxing.
Benavidez stated post-fight that he would be open to revisiting a clash with Anthony Dirrell.
Benavidez stopped his compatriot after nine entertaining rounds to claim the WBC crown for a second time at Staples Center in 2019.
Former world champion, Dirrell (33-2-2, 24 KOs) fought to a split decision draw against Kryone Davis last month in his first fight since that defeat and at 36-years-old is in the twilight years of his career.
Whilst the fight would be seemingly feasible to make with both tied to PBC, it’s questionable whether there is enough substantial interest in a rematch, following a comprehensive stoppage win in the first meeting.
Benavidez promised to stop the Michigan native in quicker fashion if they square off again and ‘The Dog’ could be a suitable opponent, whilst he’s awaiting another shot at world title glory.
It remains unclear what the next move is for Dirrell, however another stint at a world title be possible if he overcame Benavidez, in a bout he would start as an underdog.
Comment below who you’d like to see Benavidez face next: