Benavidez Jr. Stops Paez Jr. in the 12th to Make his First Successful Title Defense

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Jose Benavidez Jr. 2Tonight’s main event between Jose Benavidez Jr. and Jorge Paez Jr. on the Top Rank promoted Metro PCS Friday Night Knockout on truTV, live from Benavidez’s home in Phoenix, Arizona at the US Airway Centre. Benavidez was making the first defense of his WBA interim junior welterweight title, the same title he snagged from Mauricio Herrera in a questionable win.

In fact, in an interview early on in the telecast, Crystina Poncher asked Benavidez about making an impression in this fight and his response was directly related to the way his performance was perceived in the Herrera fight and he wanted to make a statement against Paez to wash away the doubts that stem from his paper title winning effort.

Paez Jr. (38-6-2, 23KOs), on the other hand, was never the blue-chip prospect his opponent was coming up and even with a record that contains fights with some very experienced competition, this was never a fight he was supposed to have a chance in. That’s not to discredit Paez as much as it is a reflection on the kind of standout Jose was billed as early in his career. The kind of fighter that Benavidez was made to seem like would’ve taken out Paez tonight, and truthfully speaking he would’ve taken out Herrera, too.

Benavidez started out the fight by controlling the pace and dictating the offense, but he didn’t impress nearly as much as the Phoenix crowd would’ve had you believed as they cheered on every little punch landed.

Paez had some real success at the close of round two and managed to pin Benavidez’s back against the ropes and unleash some round stealing shots. Benavidez managed to find his way out with a swift move to his left, but he damage was definitely done, at least whatever damage could be mustered up from Paez’s hands.

The end of the second round seemed to spark a fire under Benavidez and he came out firing at the start of the third, catching Paez with a right hand to the body that had a delayed reaction but ultimately made Paez take a knee.

Paez was able to make it to his feet, but Benavidez aggressively pursued his opponent while trying to gauge how hurt he actually was and trying to sense the openings he could exploit. After the brief success Paez had in the 2nd, Benavidez had fully regained the momentum.

Benavidez wasn’t as aggressive or persistent in the next few rounds. He was doing just enough to win the round, but at times he allowed Paez to tee off with his back against the ropes. It was interesting to see Benavidez fight with his back to the ropes because it was the same kind of nonsense he did in the Herrera fight.

Paez was finding a way to close the distance, but Benavidez was helping his cause by staying on the ropes. Still, Benavidez was impressive when he decided to be offensive, even when countering off the ropes he was still landing the crisper, more effective shots.

The 6th round was when the action picked up dramatically as both Benavidez and Paez had their moments in a back-and-forth round. Benavidez was still offering himself up against the ropes, but what made Paez more impressive in this round was the way he successfully took more from those moments. He wasn’t just firing away at Benavidez’s body and head, instead he was picking his shots in rapid concession, and although he was throwing some punches with less intent than others, Paez was maintaining a great work rate while making it count.

Benavidez would not be outdone in the round and he fired back some devastating flurries of his own, especially coming off the ropes. It was a difficult round to score because of the amount of action, but it was easy to tell that Benavidez was the better athlete throwing the harder shots with better technique.

Benavidez was establishing himself as the better fighter, but he made his job harder than it probably had to be.

In the 12th, Benavidez made the most of his attack and caught Paez with a right then left that sent Paez to the canvas, Paez was not nearly as responsive as he should’ve been and that caused the ref to call a halt to the bout.

It wasn’t the complete package that we wanted to see from Benavidez, but he was impressive and even though he took the longest route possible he eventually got his opponent out of there.