Benavidez brothers all grown up after lessons learned from adversity in careers – The Arizona Republic

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Boxing press conferences, much like those before UFC fights, aren’t as lively without some verbal jabs. It’s part of the sport. 

José Benavidez Jr. provided the fire in that manner on Thursday when he, younger brother David and their respective opponents on Saturday, Francisco Emanuel Torres and Kyrone Davis, met the media at Footprint Center.

“I’m coming with bombs. I’m taking this guy out. He better be ready, because I’m hungry and I’m ready to eat, ” José Jr. said, leaning over to look at Torres on the opposite side of the stage. “What I say, I do. And he better not be running in the ring Saturday night. You better be ready to take those body shots, because I’ll break those ribs.”

José Jr. took a shot at Torres for his victories over fighters he called “bums,” adding he will “let you guys see Saturday night how I make him look like my kid.”

But when the talk turned to family and being parents and growing as people, however, José Jr.’s bravado turned to warm smiles of pride and satisfaction. Humility comes with surviving being shot and almost killed just as his boxing career was reaching new heights, coming back from that and losing in the ring for the first time — albeit to a high level opponent in Terence Crawford in October 2018 — and then taking almost three years off to focus on family time. 

“Just being a parent, you don’t really know what true love is until you hold a baby in your arms,’ José Jr. said. “I just love my kids. They motivate me to be the best I can be, to give them a better life. To see them smile and enjoy life, to see my little nephew, too, it’s just a feeling of enjoyment and excitement that words can’t explain. It’s better than money.”

David Benavidez won the WBC Super Middleweight championship twice, and has also been stripped of it twice and been suspended. The first time was a positive test for cocaine, the second for failure to make weight. 

He’s undefeated at 24-0, and now has a son who was born last year. 

“Being a father now, it just brings a whole different type of motivation. Sometimes boxing alone is hard, so you’ve got to find that motivation from other places. I don’t feel like I need to find it anymore,” David said. “It just keeps me going and helps me go that extra mile, those extra rounds and just being a better person overall.”

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Jose Benavidez Jr., on what to expect when he fights Francisco Torres of Argentina

David and Jose Benavidez Jr. are back in town for big fights on Saturday at Footprint Center.

Arizona Republic

José Jr. continued to go to the gym and train every so often. But he welcomed the break from boxing. 

He and David have been in boxing since they were young kids, and never had the time to travel and enjoy holidays. There was always a fight to train for, a training camp to focus on. 

“Seeing my baby girl walk, saying her first words. It’s amazing, something I can never get back. So I’m glad I took the time out,” José Jr.said.

José Jr. still loves boxing, he says, and believes he can win a title belt again. Six years ago, he was the main event at Footprint Center, then the US Airways Centre, and his brother was on the undercard. 

There has been adversity since, but the family bond has remained strong. The brothers are sparring partners, and David still considers his older brother his role model.

“We’ve had a long road and I’m just thankful to everyone who’s supported us. It’s been six years since we fought at home, but I love it here,” José Jr said. “We’ve worked hard at this since we were little kids. We’ve come so far and I’m just trying to keep learning new things every day.”

José Jr. was a rising star 10 years ago, seemingly destined to be the next great boxing champion from Phoenix. It was David who became that, but is still writing his own story as he aims to get back to top contender status and maybe, at some point in the not too distant future, get a shot at Canelo Alvarez.

It’s not something that is heavy on David’s mind, for the moment. There is a fight in his hometown to win. 

That the brothers are just people who have had their joys and tough times in life only seems to make them more beloved by local fight fans. 

“The only thing that makes a difference is that I’m good at boxing. I don’t think I’m more or less than anybody else,” David said. “I’m regular like everyone else. Things happen sometimes. It’s just how you pick yourself up and keep going.”

Get in touch with Jose Romero at Jose.Romero@gannett.com. Find him on Twitter at @RomeroJoseM.