Promoter Backs Up Sebastian Fundora, David Benavidez on ProBox TV

Sampson Lewkowicz has long been the most loyal defender of his fighters, and with two of them currently embroiled in some of the sport’s fiercest debates, he took to the airwaves Wednesday to support their causes.

Lewkowicz, promoter for the newly crowned WBO and WBC junior middleweight world titleholder Sebastian Fundora and unbeaten former super middleweight champion David Benavidez, provided updates on both fighters on ProBox TV’s “Deep Waters.”

Appearing a day after the Nevada Athletic Commission issued a medical suspension until Sept. 27 for Fundora because of the broken nose he suffered during the first round of his stunning split-decision triumph over Australia’s Tim Tszyu on Saturday at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Lewkowicz took exception to the notion that the ringside doctor should have ruled the bout a no-contest.

Tszyu suffered a deep gash atop his head late in the first round and later told reporters after the bout that he was “blinded” by the heavy blood flow that continued throughout the fight.

When questioned during the bout by the doctor, however, Tszyu said he could see.

After seeing a prior episode of “Deep Waters” in which panelist Paulie Malignaggi called the doctor a “clown” and “cracker jack” for not asserting himself, Lewkowicz said, “Both fighters were bleeding. I’m very surprised my amigo Paulie blamed everybody and forgot he was a fighter [himself]. I saw him bleed so many times. …

“The referee asked [Tszyu] is he wanted to continue, and he never said, ‘I don’t want to continue.’”

Malignaggi replied, “You never saw my face like [Tszyu’s]. As fighters, we’re always going to say yes, but … a doctor has a job to do. A doctor is supposed to supersede the opinion of the fighter. … What is the point of the doctor? Just to hang around?”

To that, Lewkowicz answered, “I don’t think [Tszyu] said he cannot see. Are you a doctor? Then how can you say there was too much blood? You cannot know more than the doctor.”

That entertaining exchange was followed by the most impassioned situation in boxing: undisputed super middleweight champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez’s decision to bypass his mandatory challenger Benavidez, who is six years Canelo’s junior.

“I’ve got very tired of Canelo,’” Lewkowicz said. “I’ve said, ‘No mas, Canelo.’ And Benavidez … he got tired, too. This decision [on how to proceed with Benavidez’s career] is only [up] to Benavidez.”

While four-division champion and former pound-for-pound king Alvarez is instead fighting his Mexican countryman Jaime Munguia on May 4 in Las Vegas, Benavidez (28-0, 24 KOs) is headed to meet former light heavyweight titleholder Oleksandr Gvozdyk on June 15.

With Malignaggi pressing for details, Lewkowicz explained how Benavidez has refused to cash in on potential step-aside money from his mandatory position as Alvarez has balked at fighting him in favor of Munguia, and Jermell Charlo before him.

“[Benavidez is] not going to get the [purse] money, anyway,” Malignaggi said. “You know that. Make [Canelo] pay the [step-aside] money, at least.”

“He doesn’t want the step-aside money,” Lewkowicz replied. “The worst thing Canelo can say is, ‘[Benavidez] is looking for a payday.’ We’ll accept [only] $5 million to fight him [when Alvarez is seeking $150 million]. [Benavidez] wants to be different. He wants to force the fight [by] remaining the mandatory. If he takes $1 or $1 million, he loses the leverage.”

Malignaggi was aghast.

“So I want to put a message out there to the Canelo Clown Crew,” he said. “You see, David Benavidez not only wants to fight Canelo, he’s refusing step-aside money so he remains the mandatory. … I’ve never seen someone duck a guy like this in my life.”

With the WBC offering Benavidez, with a victory over Gvozdyk, to emerge as the mandatory challenger to the June 1 winner of the undisputed light heavyweight title fight between Russian champions Dmitry Bivol and Artur Beterbiev, some have speculated that Alvarez is just biding his time to allow a far richer undisputed-versus-undisputed superfight to materialize in May 2025 between he and Benavidez.

Lewkowicz explained that Benavidez will have about seven to 10 days following his June 15 bout to decide whether he wants to become the mandatory foe to Beterbiev-Bivol or to remain in the position he is relative to Alvarez.

“We’ll see … this is boxing,” Lewkowicz said. “Munguia could win the fight and finish [Alvarez’s] career.”

I say all the time, [Canelo] will never fight Benavidez. He will never fight him.”