Seven months back, a head butt caused a cut above the left eye of 🇺🇸Anthony Dirrell that the ringside physician deemed to bad to continue, giving him the win over Avni Yildrim and the then vacant WBC World Super-Middleweight Title.
Saturday night at the Staples Center a cut over the right eye led to the stoppage. This time the cut came from a punch thrown by 🇺🇸David Benavidez (22-0-0, 19KO) in the sixth round, and the stoppage came from the orders of Dirrell’s own corner in round nine, saving him from any more punishment that was being unleashed from Benavidez.
There was little argument from Dirrell (33-2-1, 24KO), who seemed to accept the fact that both the cut and fight would only get a lot worse, not any better if it went on. Benavidez was beginning to lock on to the cut like target practice, and when he wasn’t, he was pummeling Dirrell to any other available real estate on his body.
The fight started off cagey for the first few rounds as the veteran Dirrell attempted to keep the younger, stronger Benavidez at bay with his jab and movement, whipping out the right hand whenever he needed some extra reinforcement. Benavidez played the role of stalker early on, following Dirrell around the ring trying to find his range with his jab, occasionally getting some good work in when he found him in a corner for a few seconds.
As the rounds went on and Benavidez closed in on Dirrell, he began to find a home for the right hand as well as the jab, landing hard shots that were only confirmed by Dirrell’s smirks and head shakes that were attempts to dismiss the work being done.
The sixth round is where we got the cut, and referee Thomas Taylor wasted no time in getting the ringside doctor to look at it immediately and did the same in round seven as it continued to open up. It was at this point that both Dirrell and Benavidez knew what time it was. Dirrell knew the only thing coming faster than a stoppage was the 22 year old former Champion that viewed his cut as a bullseye and he was locked in on the mark.
As expected Benavidez turned up the pressure but Dirrell wouldn’t just fold under the heat being brought. The ring moniker he carries of “The Dog” came out and he never gave up the fight, but his Head-Trainer Javon “Sugar” Hill had seen enough and stopped the fight in the ninth round, sparing the 34 year old vet any more unnecessary punishment.
Benavidez has bounced back from the drug suspension that kept him out of the ring for some time and has made history as the youngest two time Super Middleweight World Champion at the age of 22. We now wait to see what’s next on the agenda for the young champion.