For all the negative talk that goes into competing dates between promoters/networks and having to choose which card to watch live, I felt like this past weekend was a gift for boxing fans. Perhaps this is the bias viewpoint of a Central Time resident, but getting to watch a fight card and then starting up the DVR for another is just a great Saturday in my book.
This past Saturday’s abundance of fights was great, but the date was tarnished with inadequate judging – it’s always something. As upset as many were over the draw between Timothy Bradley and Diego Chaves, it was the Jose Benavidez’s unanimous decision victory over Mauricio Herrera, swiping an interim WBA junior welterweight title in the process, which seemed to bother people more than anything.
They were both controversial outcomes, but Benavidez’s win was more upsetting for a plethora of reasons. A few obvious ones stick out, like the fact that it was a title fight (interim, anyway), and how it was a unanimous decision is beyond me, but more to the point that the judges’ scores were so similar that it stands to reason that they think they saw something obvious.
Herrera being a hard-luck loser isn’t Benavidez’s fault, but it is another reason people were upset and the idea that Herrera deserved to beat Danny Garcia when they fought earlier this year seemed to linger and was only intensified after the Benavidez decision.
Most of all, fans were upset for the same reasons that generally upset them to begin with, and those same reasons that are attached to the unfair advantage given to a fighter that has more money behind him than the other. Benavidez Jr. was the money fighter heading into the fight. He’d previously been given the royal treatment and was touted as a blue-chip prospect, so of course the fight was tilted in his favor to start with, presumably up by three rounds before the opening bell sounded.
Benavidez is in an awkward position, he was officially awarded the fight, but his actions and statements from this point on will be scrutinized by fans and if he isn’t careful he could find himself in Bradley territory, coincidently enough he was the co-feature of his card.
When Bradley came off his highly disputed win over Manny Pacquiao he made certain statements that rubbed many the wrong way, but fans often find it hard to comprehend the position of a fighter in that position.
Just like Bradley, Benavidez Jr. can’t be expected to disagree with the outcome. Is he supposed to argue the decision in favor of Herrera? Is he supposed to bash the judges that scored the fight for him, possibly ruining his reputation with them and marring close decisions on future scorecards? The answer is an irrefutable no.
However, Benavidez Jr. seems to be handling himself well, so far. In an interview with iFL TV, Benavidez Jr. appears to be confident in his win, but makes no mistake in discrediting Herrera. In fact, Benavidez Jr. admits that Herrera was as tough as advertised while maintaining the notion that he won.
“I feel great, we had a tremendous training camp and I feel great that I won the fight and I’m the new champion,” Benavidez told iFL TV.
“I was a big underdog in the fight and Herrera was talking a lot of trash, but we ended the night and my face is clean compared to his. His face is all bruised up and swollen, I really have nothing [noticeable on my face].”
Benavidez Jr. made some mistakes in the fight, the kind a young fighter makes when matched with a savvy veteran. The good thing is some of those mistakes can be corrected after more experience against a variety of opponents.
His accounts of the fight seem to support the notion that he is still the better fighter even if he did not perform to the level he is capable.
“[Herrera] fights different every fight, most of the time he’s a brawler but sometimes he boxes, so you can’t really expect what he’s going to do. Herrera comes to fight and he has a big heart.
“I thought I did enough to win the fight. I had to adjust to him. I take nothing from him, but the best man won.”
One way to ensure his satisfaction, and the satisfaction of fans, is to give Herrera a rematch. This will guarantee him fans’ respect, and it will allow him to right his wrongs and showcase his true skillset.
The good news is that Benavidez seems open to a rematch, but he has to remember that while hindsight is a valuable tool for a young fighter, it is also very annoying.
“I’ll give him a rematch and I’ll beat him worse.”