Young power puncher David Benavidez has been on the fast track to a world title opportunity. Veteran Rogelio “Porky” Medina has had a title shot but hopes to earn another.
It is against that backdrop that Benavidez and Medina will square off in a world title elimination bout on May 20 (Fox Sports 1/Fox Deportes, 10 p.m. ET) in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card at the Laredo Energy Arena in Laredo, Texas, PBC announced Wednesday.
“This is a great opportunity for me,” Benavidez said. “I have been working very hard and I am not going to let this chance pass by me. I’m going to go in there and win this fight. I don’t feel pressure with this being an eliminator. I’m training extremely hard just like every other fight. I’m ready to go in there and do what I always do.”
The 20-year-old Benavidez (17-0, 16 KOs), of Phoenix, hopes to eventually become the youngest super middleweight world titleholder in the division, which was created in 1984. The youngest fighter to win a world title at 168 pounds is Darin Van Horn, who was 22 years, 8 months and 11 days old when he knocked out Lindell Holmes in the 11th round to win the IBF version of the belt in 1991.
The Benavidez-Medina winner will move a step closer to becoming the mandatory challenger for whoever wins the vacant 168-pound world title bout between England’s Callum Smith (22-0, 17 KOs) and Flint, Michigan, fighter Anthony Dirrell (30-1-1, 24 KOs), a former world titleholder.
Smith-Dirrell, which will fill the vacancy left when Badou Jack moved up to light heavyweight, has been agreed to and is supposed to take pace this summer, perhaps as soon as June.
The winner of that bout must make his first defense against Turkey’s Avni Yildirim (15-0, 10 KOs) with that winner obligated to face the Benavidez-Medina victor.
Medina (37-7, 31 KOs), 28, of Mexico, got a mandatory world title shot against James DeGale last April but lost a unanimous decision by scores of 117-111, 117-111 and 116-112. However, he gave DeGale a tough fight and has faced other quality opponents.
“I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring against David Benavidez,” Medina said. “Benavidez has never faced a fighter as good or experienced as me. I have fought many world champions and for a world title and that is going to give me an advantage in this fight. May 20 will be my first step toward getting another title shot.”
In the all-Mexican co-feature, featherweights Jorge Lara (28-0-2, 20 KOs), 26, and Mario Briones (28-5-2, 22 KOs), 31, are scheduled to meet in a 10-round bout. Lara is coming off a stunning and sensational first-round knockout of former three-division world titlist Fernando Montiel, whom he knocked down four times, last April.