PHOTO: STEPHANIE TRAPP/ SHOWTIME
LAS VEGAS (Feb. 17, 2018) – Boxing’s youngest world champion, David Benavidez, left no questions in a rematch with Ronald Gavril, defending his WBC Super Middleweight World Championship with a dominating 12-round unanimous decision in Saturday’s co-feature on SHOWTIME.
The 21-year-old Benavidez and Gavril had fought to a close split-decision in one of 2017’s best fights that saw Benavidez drop to the canvas in the final minute of the 12th and final round. The Phoenix native had no trouble in the immediate rematch, utilizing a stiff jab and a steady diet of combo shots to win a near-shutout over the game Gavril.
Benavidez (20-0, 17 KOs) wore down Gavril with an intelligent body attack, pounding the midsection to open up power shots and jabs to the head. Benavidez had his best round in the fourth, connecting on a huge right uppercut that nearly floored Gavril – who appeared to be saved by the ropes – and then pounced with a series of damaging combo shots.
Benavidez appeared to hurt his right hand in the second half of the fight and stepped off the gas in the 10th, 11th and 12th. But Benavidez, who connected on 41 percent of his power shots, still landed the harder shots and utilized a stiff left jab to keep Gavril largely at bay.
“I knew he was going to come aggressive. He’s a one-trick opponent,” Benavidez said. “I knew I could jab and box him all day. When I saw the opening I took it. I didn’t knock him out though – he’s a tough son of a gun.
“Both my hands hurt but I have that warrior’s mentality so I kept pushing.
“I want to be the best in division. So whoever they put in front of me that’s what I want to do.”
Gavril (18-3, 14 KOs) didn’t make any excuses for dropping what was an action-packed affair that was scored 119-109 and 120-108 twice.
“He tried to box me on the outside,” Gavril said. “It was good fight. He was the better man tonight. What can I say? I want to go back in the gym and come back stronger.”
In the opening bout of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING, Yordenis Ugas scored the biggest win of his career, knocking out Ray Robinson in the seventh round of an IBF Welterweight Eliminator.
Ugas (21-3, 10 KOs) now holds the IBF’s No. 2 position to undefeated champion Errol Spence Jr.
Ugas, a former amateur standout who is now 6-0 since moving up to the 147-pound class, set the tone with a knockdown in the closing minute of the opening round. Robinson (24-3, 12 KOs) survived and was later deducted a point for hitting after the bell as the fourth round came to a close. The illegal punch floored an unexpected Ugas, who rebounded and continued to dominate the subsequent rounds.
In the opening minute of the seventh, the 31-year-old Ugas landed a massive right that floored Robinson, who beat the count but was clearly hurt. Ugas unleashed an onslaught with a series of combos, forcing referee Robert Byrd to step in to halt the contest at 1:05 with Robinson defenseless against the ropes.
Ugas landed 51 percent of his power shots and was comfortably ahead on all three judges at the time of the stoppage.
“I felt like I was the stronger fighter by far and he didn’t hurt me,” said Ugas. “He lost a point for hitting me after the bell sounded, and knocked me down, but even that didn’t hurt me. He was very awkward and his style threw off my timing.
“Luckily I was able to land body shots that I knew were hurting him. I was able to dictate the pace and we never in trouble.
“I want Errol Spence next. Everyone wants Errol.”