At the age of 24, Jose is a six-year pro. A former WBA interim super lightweight world champion, he won the title in December, 2014, and made one successful title defense. He vacated the title to move up to the welterweight division.
Before his debut, he was an amateur standout – at 16, Jose was the youngest boxer to ever win the National Golden Gloves Championships. Jose was also the youngest professional boxer, at 17, to be licensed by the Nevada State Athletic Commission. An exception was made for the minimum age requirement of 18 years because of his exceptional talent.
In his last fight on July 23 in Las Vegas he won a 10-round unanimous decision against Francisco Santana.
ESPN.com’s Dan Rafael reported from ringside [excerpts]: Welterweight Jose Benavidez Jr. turned in a good performance in a hard-fought unanimous decision win against Francisco “Chia” Santana.
Benavidez was much faster, but he spent a lot of time on the ropes, where he seemed to feel comfortable, but it also allowed Santana to charge right at him.
He hurt Santana with a left hook and marked up his face in the first round and had a huge second round, but Santana never stopped bulling ahead as he made Benavidez work hard round after round. [End Rafael item]
In the ring after the fight, Jose said, “I had the harder, cleaner punches. I was in full control of the fight, but he was a lot tougher than I thought. He took a lot of punches.
“I threw more punches, I connected more punches. I did everything possible to win. He never hurt me.”
Jose was inactive for most of 2013 due to a recurring right-hand injury over a period of two years that eventually led to a 13-month layoff. He said he broke his right hand in November, 2010, and had surgery, but the bone did not heal correctly and still hurt when he fought. He broke the hand again in October, 2012, and had another surgery. He said that it healed correctly that time, and hasn’t hurt in any of his fights since then.