A former two-time super middleweight beltholder who has yet to lose a world title inside the ring, David Benavidez looked very much like a world champion in his return on Saturday.
Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs) put on a dominant display of pressure fighting to batter Ronald Ellis (18-2-2, 12 KOs) en route to an 11th-round TKO win in the main event of a Premier Boxing Champions card from Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut.
In his first appearance since losing his WBC title on the scales last August, one day before his stoppage win over Roamer Alexis Angulo, the 24-year-old Benavidez was as accurate as he was powerful in routinely walking Ellis to the ropes before unleashing clean combinations.
"I rate [my performance] pretty good but I know I could have done better," Benavidez said. "Ronald Ellis is a tough, tough competitor so I hope the fans like what they saw. He was definitely tougher than I thought he was and that's how it goes. My hat definitely goes out to Ronald Ellis, he was a gentleman tonight."
Ellis, 31, got off to a quick start and appeared to steal the opening round by cutting off the ring and beating his opponent to the punch. But it was all Benavidez from there as he went on to outland Ellis by a margin of 341 to 184, according to CompuBox, while landing 54% of his power shots.
Benavidez routinely flurried downstairs to slow Ellis and went on to outland him to the body by a margin of 95 to 32. The native of Phoenix also worked behind a big, powerful jab that he used as a weapon.
In Round 6, Benavidez stepped up the pace sensing Ellis was slowing down and twice hurt him with left uppercuts. He came back one round later to wobble Ellis with a sweeping right hand along the ropes.
Ellis was visibly hurt once more in Round 8 and was warned afterwards by his corner that they would stop the fight if he didn't find a way back into it. To his credit, Ellis fought well in Round 9 but the damage from Benavidez continued to accumulate.
Finally, referee Johnny Callas jumped in to stop the fight at 2:03 of Round 11 as Benavidez teed off on a standing Ellis.
After the fight, Benavidez called out a number of top fighters including unified champion Canelo Alvarez, unbeaten IBF champion Caleb Plant and current WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo.
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"I want all the big guys and as you can see, I love throwing punches and I love stopping people," Benavidez said. "Me against any of the big names would be a great fight -- Canelo, Charlo or Caleb Plant. [Charlo] was talking that he could knock me out so come up here and try and do it. We are both under the same company [PBC] so it would seem to make sense for both parts.
"I have been a professional for eight years so I want the big names. Come one and come all. Whenever [Plant] grows some balls, I'm ready right now but I don't think he's ready right now. I definitely feel like I would beat Canelo Alvarez and I feel like it would be a great fight for the fans, too. At the end of the day, people want to see fireworks and that's what I bring."