The two-time super middleweight champ remains undefeated with a sterling performance Saturday night on SHOWTIME.
There wasn’t any way for David Benavidez to hide it. His anguish came through the computer screen on the video conference. The 23-year-old chalked it up to a mirror moment, a lesson he won’t soon forget.
Though as Benavidez spoke immediately after losing his WBC world super middleweight title on the scales on Friday, there was an underlying sense that he was not about to relinquish his second-most valuable boxing trinket: The bedazzling ‘0’ on his record.
Benavidez was clearly upset after he came in at 170.8 pounds, close to three pounds over the 168-pound limit for Saturday night’s title defense against Roamer Alexis Angulo on the PBC on SHOWTIME Championship Boxing telecast from the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
Benavidez could have been rattled by being overweight for the first time in his career. He wasn't. His focus could have wandered. It didn't. Losing the ‘0’ on his record could have been the stunning exclamation point of a bad weekend.
Benavidez erased Friday from his head, then went about his business by stopping Angulo for the first time in his career, ending it in 10 rounds.
Entering the fight, Benavidez (23-0, 20 KOs) took his share of criticism, with many wondering if he had the proper dedication to boxing as someone of his stature should.
“It was a mistake on my part,” Benavidez said of missing weight. “A lot of people can say what they want. I’m in the gym every day. Just because this was my first time missing weight in eight years as a professional, it’s not like I missed weight hundreds of times.
“I’m extremely dedicated. I work as hard as anybody else. It’s the first time I missed weight. I got fined a lot of money. I lost the title. My job was to still win the fight. I still had a good fighter in front of me. I’ll have another opportunity at a belt sometime in the future.
“My main objective was to win the fight.”
In the second round, Benavidez built a template of how the fight would go. He chopped at Angulo’s body with both hands and came back upstairs with right uppercuts and combinations that had Angulo (26-2, 22 KOs) covering up. He mixed the right to the body and the head. He used the jab to set up power punches from different angles.
Each round was a repeat of the previous round. Benavidez turned on a strong barrage in the final seconds of the seventh. By then, the former two-time titlist was well in command. In the last minute of the 10th, Benavidez punished Angulo against the ropes. It forced referee John Callas to lean in and take a close look.
Angulo’s corner wound up doing their fighter a favor by stopping it between the 10th and 11th.
ShoStats revealed Benavidez landed 219/391 power shots, for an amazing 56%. Angulo managed to connect on 51/400 (13%) total punches.
“I felt good,” Benavidez said. “I’m so disappointed and embarrassed at myself. Everything everybody said about me is true. I should be a professional and come in at weight. I have to go back to the drawing board.
“The diet has to be way stricter than it already is. Hopefully, I’ll get another chance fighting for the WBC title again. I want to get all of these fights before I go up (in weight). I have to be more dedicated than I was. If I have a discipline problem, it would have showed in the ring.”
Rolando Romero wins a unanimous, though controversial, decision over Jackson Marinez
Jackson Marinez could not believe his ears. Nor, it seems, could the handful of others that were in the Mohegan Sun Arena fight sphere.
Round after round, Marinez landed his share of clean punches, while Rolando Romero on occasion would land a heavy shot. Where Romero had the edge early, Marinez came on late—possibly too late.
Heavy shots beat volume, according to judges Glenn Feldman (116-112), Frank Lombardi (118-110) and Don Trella (115-113) who all favored Romero by a unanimous decision, giving him the “interim” WBA world lightweight title. The judges agreed on five of the 12 rounds.
It was a difficult fight to judge, though Lombardi somehow gave Romero 10 rounds and Feldman gave him eight.
It’s the first time Romero (12-0, 10 KOs) went 12 rounds.
“He didn’t do anything,” Romero said in reference to Marinez. “He threw more jabs than me. That’s about it. I landed the harder shots, the better shots. I was the aggressor. That’s how pro boxing is.
“He was a little slicker than I thought. He was very defensive. He didn’t really want to engage. It’s hard to fight someone who doesn’t want to engage at all. I thought I won the fight, regardless of everything. I’m the world champ now. I hurt him multiple times. He didn’t do anything special.”
Marinez landed 103/629 total punches, which was 17 more than Romero (86/509). Marinez also landed more power punches (72/401 to Romero’s 61/251 and jabs (31/228 to Romero’s 25/258).
“All (Marinez) did was land jabs,” Romero said. “You can’t win a fight just by landing jabs.”
Possibly sensing he might have been behind, Marinez began engaging Romero more in the eighth, making him miss while peppering him with jabs and counters. The fighters banged heads in the ninth, producing a cut on the corner of Romero’s left eye.
Still, it was Marinez (19-1, 7 KOs) going home with his first loss.
“That was pure robbery,” Marinez said. “I won the fight. I out-jabbed, out-boxed him. You could tell he didn’t think he won the fight right afterwards. It’s a robbery.”
Otto Wallin powers past Travis Kauffman
In the opening fight of the televised triple-header, they were fighting for their boxing survival.
Wallin, a 29-year-old southpaw from Sweden, owned all of the physical advantages. He is 6-foot-5, to Kauffman’s 6-1. He came in slightly heavier that Kauffman, at 241¾ to Kauffman’s 234¼, and held a distinct reach edge at 76½ inches to Kauffman’s 74-inch range.
On this night, he was also the more skilled.
Wallin’s assets were on display in a dominating performance over a tough opponent that was eventually stopped at 2:32 of the fifth round when Kauffman could not continue due to a left shoulder injury.
“I was breaking him down,” Wallin said. “I had a lot left. Too bad he hurt his shoulder in the end. But I was breaking him and hitting him with good clean shots.
“Next, I wanna go back to New York and relax a little bit. I’ve been training for a long time now. So, I want to relax a little bit and hopefully I can fight by the end of the year.”
At the outset, Kauffman was the aggressor. He switched up to southpaw himself in the opening round, while Wallin patiently found his distance. In the third, Wallin committed to a body attack.
By then, it was apparent Wallin (21-1, 14 KOs, 1 no-contest) had found his rhythm. He landed uppercuts inside and his body shots were causing Kauffman to lower his hands.
In the fifth, Wallin’s jabs had a telling on Kauffman’s face, which began to build a reddish hue. Kauffman stopped using his left hand midway through the fifth. Seeing that, referee Michael Ortega very wisely stepped in and ended it at 2:32.
Kauffman (32-3, 23 KOs, 1 no-contest) apparently injured his left shoulder when he landed an awkward punch on Wallin’s right shoulder with 1:27 left in the fifth. Kauffman was visibly hurting after the punch and cowered away with his left arm dangling.
“I tore my left labrum getting ready for the [Luis] Ortiz fight,” Kauffman said. “Like a dummy I waited like five months to have surgery on it after the Ortiz fight. So, I started feeling better and was going to do a tune-up fight in March, but then COVID happened.
“This opportunity came up and I didn’t want to pass it up and I felt good. In the first round I hurt it. I felt it, but then it went away and I thought maybe it’s just my mind and it went away. Then in the fifth round I heard it and that was it. It was torn again.
“I’m done. I’m retiring. I have kids. I’ve been doing this a long time.”
For a closer look at Benavidez vs Angulo, check out our fight night page.