Benavidez Punishes Game Ronald Ellis
By Robert Ecksel on March 15, 2021
By the halfway point, Benavidez had the fight in the bag. (Amanda Wescott/Showtime)
In a WBC world title eliminator televised live Saturday night from the Mohegan Sun in Uncasville, Connecticut, undefeated former two-time super middleweight champion David “El Bandera Roja” Benavidez (24-0, 21 KOs), the offensive machine from Seattle, Washington, by way of Phoenix, Arizona, punished “Reckless” Ronald Ellis (18-2-2, 12 KOs), from Los Angeles via Lynn, Massachusetts, forcing a TKO stoppage at 2:03 of round 11.
Benavidez is 24 and still a work in progress, but he has already positioned himself among the elite fighters at 168. Traditionally a slow starter, that tradition remains intact and enabled 31-year-old Ellis to win the first round. He’s a game fighter not bereft of athleticism and skills, but his winning lasted all of three minutes as the better man simply wore him down with superior activity, pinpoint accuracy, exceptional hand speed and a joyous killer instinct.
The fight was seen as a stay-busy bout. But Ellis came to fight and exceeded expectations. Benavidez can be hit, as Ellis and others have shown, but his arsenal, which includes power in both hands and a dazzling array of punches, was too much for Ellis, as it might possibly be for every fighter in the division.
Working behind a power jab, Benavidez, one of the best combination punchers in the game today, landed teeth-rattling blows upstairs and down, in addition to unrelenting straight right hands, left hooks, and uppercuts.
There’s not an ounce of quit in Ronald Ellis. As Benevidez said after the bout, “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.”
Remaining gentlemanly while being bombarded with punches is no mean feat. But Benavidez, according to CompuBox, landed 341 of 733 total punches (47%) to 184 of 670 (27%) for Ellis. He also connected with 289 of 532 or 54% of his power punches.
By the halfway point, Benavidez had the fight in the bag. He was able to hurt Ellis with almost everything he threw, especially shots to the head, which had the ringside physician watching him very closely. And even though he was overmatched and had no chance of winning, Ellis was determined to finish the bout, even though the powers that be ultimately decided otherwise.
“Hell yeah I wanted to finish,” he said. “I didn’t want to give him that satisfaction. I could have moved a little bit more and not taken so many shots to the head. Hats off to him. He did what he had to do. He never hurt me, that’s the funny thing. I took a lot of shots but he didn’t damage me or have me super hurt. I never thought about quitting.”
Benavidez called out Canelo Alvarez, the current face of boxing, in addition to IBF champion Caleb Plant and WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo.
“I want all the big guys,” he said, “and as you can see, I love throwing punches and I love stopping people. 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 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.”
In other action, Isaac “Pitbull” Cruz (21-1-1, 15 KOs) scored a twelve-round unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Matias Romero (24-1, 8 KOs). And in the opening fight of the Showtime tripleheader, super welterweight Terrell Gausha (22-2-1, 11 KOs) scored a second round TKO over Jamontay Clark (15-2-1, 7 KOs).