David Benavidez has his next opponent set, but it probably isn’t who most people hope it is.
Benavidez and Jose Uzcategui are close to finalizing a deal for a super middleweight bout in January, ESPN reported.
The two were supposed to fight in November 2021, but Uzcategui tested positive for performance-enhancing drug rEPO, or recombinant erythropoietin, a synthetic version of EPO. To keep the momentum, Benavidez still went ahead with a fight against Kyrone Davis.
He scored a seventh-round knockout.
Benavidez then went on to fight former middleweight champion David Lemieux. Benavidez stopped him in the third round by TKO in May.
But these aren’t the fights that the 25-year-old wants.
Benavidez is already the mandatory challenger for undisputed champion Canelo Alvarez’s WBC belt, but that fight has yet to be ordered.
He’s also called out a fight with fellow PBC boxers Caleb Plant and Jermall Charlo, but neither of those have come to fruition yet.
He’s feared for good reason.
Benavidez is a two-time super middleweight titleholder, but lost his belt due to a positive cocaine test. He won it back with a ninth-round knockout of Anthony Dirrell in 2019, but was stripped of it once more the following year when he failed to make weight.
Uzecategui hasn’t fought many notable names in the division since 2019. He lost his title to Caleb Plant via decision that year.
The year before that, he had come off of his career-best victory against Andre Dirrell in 2018. He won by TKO.
Benavidez has said that he’s tired of being avoided and will move up in weight if he doesn’t get the fights that he wants.