Benavidez-Lemieux: Gila River secured as venue for May 21

David Benavidez is coming home.

The former WBC middleweight champion will headline just outside his hometown of Phoenix when he takes on former 160-pound titlist David Lemieux in a Showtime-televised main event at Gila River in Glendale, Arizona.

Benavidez (25-0, 22 KOs) will return to Arizona for the second consecutive fight. He is coming off a seventh-round stoppage of Philadelphia's Kyrone Davis, who stepped in on short notice, last November 13 at Footprint Center, the home of the NBA's Phoenix Suns.

The fight with Lemieux (43-4, 36 KOs), which will serve as a WBC 168-pound title eliminator, was initially reported by ESPN's Mike Coppinger last December. The winner will become the mandatory challenger to undisputed champion Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez (57-1-2, 39 KOs), who squares off against WBA light heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol (19-0, 11 KOs) on May 7 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Benavidez is a two-time titleholder. However, he lost his championship outside of the ring in both instances. He made one successful defense before being stripped after testing positive for cocaine. The undefeated rising star regained world champion status with a ninth-round knockout of Anthony Dirrell on the Errol Spence Jr.-Shawn Porter card in September 2019 in Los Angeles. However, the opportunity to make the first defense of his second reign never came to fruition after Benavidez was stripped for a second time after failing to make weight ahead of his August 2020 bout with Alexis Angulo, whom he knocked out in the 10th round.

Benavidez, 25, who is promoted by Sampson Lewkowicz and managed by Al Haymon, has knocked out his last five opponents and will look to make it six against the hard-hitting Lemieux.

The 33-year-old Canadian is riding a five-bout winning streak since dropping a 12-round decision to then-undefeated WBO middleweight titlist Billy Joe Saunders in December 2018 in his hometown of Montreal. His resume has three other defeats, with the most notable coming against Gennadiy Golovkin in their October 2015 title unification tilt at Madison Square Garden in New York.

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