If there's an interested spectator above all others entering Saturday's super middleweight undisputed championship bout pairing Canelo Alvarez and Caleb Plant in Las Vegas, it's the man who hopes to get the call to face the winner.
Former two-time WBC super middleweight champion David Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs) could've potentially seen himself in the shoes of either fighter entering this weekend's Showtime PPV (9 p.m. ET) had he not been stripped twice of his belt over the past three years -- once for testing positive for cocaine and a second time last August when he missed weight ahead of a title defense against Roamer Alexis Angulo.
Benavidez will make his return to the ring in a Nov. 13 homecoming on Showtime against late replacement Kyrone Davis, who fills in for former champion Jose Uzcategui following his own failed drug test. And one thing Benavidez is hoping is that should the heavily favored Alvarez get his hand raised, he will avoid moving right back up to 175 pounds before considering a fight with Benavidez.
"I feel like a lot of people are clawing for that fight," Benavidez told CBS Sports on Tuesday. "I feel that I am, aside from Canelo, the best 168-pounder. That's why a lot of people don't want to fight me because there is a little bit of reward right now with a lot of risk. A lot of people are avoiding me, especially Canelo.
"Obviously, I'm not going to say Canelo is scared of me because there isn't too much reward for him right now. I feel like the people eventually will want to see that fight. I'm the only fighter at 168 who can give Canelo a run for his money and I think I can beat him. I have been at 168 for a long time and I deserve to fight him."
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Benavidez would be just as happy to face off against Plant, should he be victorious against Alvarez, for a shot at all four 168-pound titles. Both Benavidez and his older brother Jose have been captured on tape multiple times nearly getting into a brawl with Plant in public settings after the two sides exchanged words.
During the Sept. 22 press conference to announce this weekend's clash, Benavidez was watching from home as Plant got into Alvarez's face during the staredown and engaged in a brief melee. Alvarez pushed Plant and ducked his attempt to answer with a slap before landing a pair of punches on Plant from close range.
"Honestly, I see that as a weak move from Caleb Plant," Benavidez said. "He did get in [Alvarez's] head, but I feel like Canelo won that battle. I feel like Caleb Plant, in his head, he's already mentally beat. Caleb pushed him, but I think he looked like a fool. I don't know if he connected on the slap or not, but Canelo came back with two shots to make his eye swell up. He cut the other eye with an open palm.
"I'm still excited for this fight. I feel like there is a lot on the line for both men and I feel like the best of both men is going to come out, it's going to be a great fight. If Caleb Plant loses or he wins, I will still love to get a fight with him no matter what, whether there are belts at stake or not. That's an interesting fight that is still on the table and we have to make in the future."
As far as who wins the fight, Benavidez believes Plant will need to land something of consequence to gain Alvarez's respect.
"He has to stay on top of his jab and be very sharp. He has to throw his combinations and get away," Benavidez said. "[But] I feel like Caleb Plant has to stand his ground. The only thing that questions raised about Caleb Plant is that his power is not there enough. I don't know if he has enough to keep Canelo off of him. But obviously talent wise, he's a champion for a reason.
"It's going to be a good fight but once the fighting starts, there isn't going to be any running. [It's up to] if [Plant] can withstand that and come back to deliver his own shots. I feel like the only people that last with Canelo are the ones that can actually hurt him. You saw that with [Gennadiy Golovkin] when he stood and traded with him and I feel like that's the last hard fight [Alvarez] has had. Other fighters like Callum Smith or Billy Joe Saunders just tried to run around the ring. You have to stand your ground and you need the power."