WATCH: David Benavidez Knocked Down by Ronald Gavril

Published 11/12/2021, 10:37 AM EST

When we look at boxing’s super-middleweight division, it is hard to think of anyone who could come close to replacing the undisputed champ, Canelo Alvarez. However, boxing fans know that there is one who could potentially be the p4p king’s biggest problem to date – David Benavidez.


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At just 24-years of age, ‘El Bandera Roja’ David Benavidez is already one of the biggest up and coming stars in boxing. Even though he’s still very young, he began competing professionally at 16 and has managed to create a dent in the sport by finishing opponents left and right.


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Today, he remains undefeated and has been a two-time WBC super-middleweight champion. However, even though he’s never been defeated, he is no longer a champion; his title has been retracted twice due to a failed VADA test and for missing weight against Roamer Alexis Angulo in 2020.

The road to the WBC 168 lbs throne was one with multiple speed bumps along the way. Benavidez challenged Ronald Gavril (18-1-0) for a vacant WBC title in 2017.

His opponent presented a much tougher challenge than he had anticipated. Even though he won, the first title fight came incredibly close to turning in favor of Gavril.

Both fighters showed great striking agility and Benavidez even faced his first-ever knockdown. By the end of the 12 rounds, it ultimately came down to a split decision.

Here’s a deeper look at the two part-rivalry between Ronald Gavril and David Benavidez –

Ronald Gavril vs David Benavidez was a brilliant matchup

What David Benavidez and Ronald Gavril did in September 2017 just showed everyone the true power of fair matchmaking.

20-year-old Benavidez stepped up to the challenge as an undefeated 168 lbs prospect with 18 straight wins (17 KOs). On the other hand, 31-year-old Ronald Gavril came in with 18 wins and a single loss.

Also, while Gavril had a 2-inch height advantage, Benavidez had a 2-inch reach advantage.

So, right from the get-go, this made for a brilliant rivalry.

Gavril almost ended Benavidez’s winning streak in 2017

Per usual, Benavidez brought in the complete package – the high guard, unnatural speed, aggression, and powerful combinations. However, he never expected Gavril to hit back. The Romanian fighter showed great head movement, defense, doubled down on incredibly sharp hooks to the body, and overall aggression.

Gavril’s body shots were smartly executed and it started to have an effect on Benavidez as the rounds progressed. He seemed drained and was breathing with an open mouth; however, he still did not back down and maintained his striking pace throughout.

By the end of round 11, this fight started to look a lot like a ‘fight of the year’ top contender. And, Floyd Mayweather, who was in attendance, picked up on this. As Gavril came back to his corner after the 11th bell, Floyd Mayweather caught his attention.

An opportunity like this comes once in a lifetime. Take advantage of it,” Mayweather screamed out at Gavril.

Floyd’s words had a significant effect on the Romanian fighter; with 55 seconds left in the final championship round, Gavril sat Benavidez down on the canvas with a sharp left hook. Highlights show Floyd Mayweather celebrating in the background as Gavril pulled off the unexpected.

Was Ronald Gavril robbed of his win against David Benavidez in 2017?

However, Floyd was later seen shaking his head in disbelief as the judges ultimately gave the fight away to the 20-year-old. Two judges scored the 12-round bout 116-111 and 117-111 in favor of Benavidez; whereas, judge Glenn Trowbridge scored it 111-116 in favor of Gavril.

One interesting fact to note about this judgment is that the two judges that scored this fight in favor of Benavidez are probably two of the most controversial judges in the sport.


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Judge Adalaide Byrd was responsible for scoring Canelo vs GGG 1 118-110 in favor of Canelo. On the other hand, among other controversial scores, Dave Moretti also scored 97-92 in favor of Breidis Prescott over Miguel Vazquez.

Whether their scores were accurate and justified remains uncertain; however, what we do know is that the first win did not sit well with David Benavidez. So, in the next six months, he agreed to run it back with Ronald Gavril. In the subsequent rematch, he stunned his rival multiple times and showed everyone why he deserves the super-middleweight throne over most other competitors in the division.


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Sanjit Misra

454 articles

Sanjit Misra is a boxing author at EssentiallySports. Sanjit fused his passion for writing with his love for jabs, hooks, and uppercuts and entered the realm of boxing journalism. The elegance, the sweet science, and the finesse of hand-to-hand combat was what initially drew him into the world of boxing.