WBC super middleweight champion Anthony Dirrell and challenger David Benavidez talked to the media conference call ahead of their Sept. 28 bout.
Anthony Dirrell (33-1-1, 24 KOs) defends his WBC super middleweight title against unbeaten former champion David Benavidez (21-0, 18 KOs). Benavidez once held the WBC title but was stripped of his belt after testing positive for cocaine in September of 2018. He has his chance to reclaim his title from Dirrell in the co-main event of the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Shawn Porter FOX Sports PBC pay-per-view special.
On Monday, Sept. 16, Dirrell and Benavidez joined the media on a conference call to discuss their upcoming championship showdown.
David Benavidez quotes to the media:
Question: What about you has changed between now and a year ago?
Benavidez: What’s changed is that I’m getting older, I’m more mature. I feel like the situation did more good to me than bad. It’s made me realize that everything can be lost. It definitely took that to mature me and see that I had my whole life’s work taken away over one error. I’m more dedicated now, but I’m going to value things way more too. This is just a fight I want to look spectacular in.
Dirrell, he’s a great fighter, I take nothing away from him but I need these kind of opponents to reach my goals. I’m faster than last year, I’m smarter and my boxing IQ is higher. When I’m put in these types of situations, I never fold. The best comes out of me. This is my second pay-per-view fight that I’m going to be co-headlining and this is where I wanted to be my whole life so I’m going to take full advantage of this situation.
Q: When you saw Anthony Dirrell win the title that you used to own, what did it make you feel? Do you feel like maybe he was not truly the champion and it made you all the more hungrier to show Dirrell that you are the rightful WBC Champion?
Definitely. I felt it as soon as he fought for the belt in February because when I fought was it two or three weeks after that. It was very hard just to go through seeing him win the title that was mine. But he’s the real champion and he fought for the Vacant Title so I’m not going to take that away from him. But knowing that that was my belt that I have, I’m just coming in this fight very hungry, very motivated. I have about three and a half months training. So I was very focused for this training camp. So this is the best thing that you guys are ever going to see. That you guys have seen actually, so I’m very excited to go in there and give a great fight and get my title back.
Q: Do you feel like when you made your return about against J’Leon Love that any ring rust was there that you knocked off? Was it enough time to really knock it off or do you feel like you really had to get that experience through your sparring sessions?
With the last fight when I fought J’Leon Love I wanted to get at least five rounds in. But I’m not going to complain for knocking this guy out early. But I’ve had so much sparring in this training camp and in the last training camp. For this training camp, I’ve had at least over 200 rounds sparring. I feel like everything came into place. Everything is going really good and I’m just going to be extremely ready.
I’m not going to kill myself over the rounds because I didn’t get enough rounds for the last fight. I know exactly what I’m stepping into. We have an amazing game plan and like I said, I’m just ready to go.
Q: Was that sparring with Shawn Porter more to help out Shawn or did you feel like he was offering you something in the sparring that you were getting something that was useful to you as well?
Definitely if you’re a great fighter you can find things to try to help yourself. Obviously I’m bigger than Shawn Porter and heavier than him. So I wasn’t trying to kill him but the thing about Shawn Porter that makes him so good is that he’s a very good pressure fighter. So me, for what I was trying to do, I was trying to use a little bit more of my boxing skills, just to work on that in case I have to use that in the fight for Anthony Dirrell. So you kind of have to see in what areas you have to work on yourself.
I was boxing around a little bit. Trying to stop him with my jab, throwing a lot of jabs. So we both definitely walked away with something good from that sparring session.
Anthony Dirrell quotes to the media:
Question: How do you rank the challenge of facing him compared to the rest of the fighters you fought in your career?
Dirrell: I think he’s a good fighter, but the toughest I don’t know. I haven’t been in there with him. Styles make fights. You can only can say how the guy is if you’ve been in there. But he’s a tough guy. He’s a tough kid. He’s 22 years old. He’s going in there to take what’s mine and I got to defend my title of course, and I’ll be successful doing that.
Q: Is retirement or talk about retirement still somewhat in the back of your mind after you approach your fights or is that something that you’ve kind of put on hold for now?
You don’t think of retirement in a fight this big. You think of the fight. You think of the task at hand. Was I thinking about retiring after the last fight? Of course. I’m getting older and I want to spend time with my family, but I’m not getting old enough where somebody’s going to come in there and just whip me or beat me. I’m going in there prepared, fully ready for this fight and I can’t wait for it to happen on the 28th.
Q: Where do you think David Benavidez stacks in there with your opponents based on what he’s accomplished so far?
I don’t know. I have to get in there and fight him. I can tell you better after the fight but right now he’s a champion. He knocked people out he wasn’t supposed to knock out. He did what he was supposed to do. And I just feel I’m so much better, so. Like I say, on the 28th and all the talk is over with. It’s just the fight.
Q: When you’re fighting do you develop a dislike for your opponent at all or is it strictly business?
No, it’s business. It’s strictly business. There’s no personal issues. It’s business. They’re trying to knock you out and you’re trying to knock them out. That’s all it is. I have no animosity or anything towards David at all. I think him and his family are good people. They’re respectful people and that’s good but on the 28th all that respect goes out the window.
Dirrell vs. Benavidez can only be seen on FOX Sports PBC pay-per-view on Saturday, Sept. 28. Pay-per-view coverage is set to begin at 9 p.m. ET.