Regardless of a career-long layoff that’s simply shy of 20 months, former two-division champion Danny Garcia is assured coming into Saturday’s return to the ring when he makes his 154-pound debut towards former welterweight title challenger Jose Benavidez Jr.
The 12-round junior middleweight bout headlines Premier Boxing Champions tripleheader (Showtime, 9 p.m. ET) from the Barclays Middle in Brooklyn, New York, a constructing during which Garcia has headlined eight occasions earlier than, together with the primary boxing card the venue hosted in 2012.
The query for the 34-year-old Garcia, who hasn’t fought since dropping a welterweight title bid towards unified champion Errol Spence Jr. in 2020, is whether or not he can carry his energy as much as a brand new division and rapidly set up himself among the many division’s elite like he beforehand did at 140 and 147 kilos.
“I’ve extra energy, extra stamina, I’ve performed extra sparring as a result of I am at this new weight class,” Garcia mentioned throughout Wednesday’s media exercise. “That is essentially the most rounds I’ve ever sparred in camp. All the things we do, we did it extra this camp.
“I am excited to be again at Barclays Middle. I can not wait. I am right here to indicate the world that I am prepared for this weight class. I really feel sturdy and I need to go in there and make an actual assertion.”
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Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) might be dealing with an attention-grabbing check within the 30-year-old Benavidez (27-1-1, 18 KOs), whose questions relating to his present kind outweigh the solutions we have now to assemble an opinion as to only how a lot of a risk the native of Phoenix might be for Garcia.
Nobody will ever query the toughness of Benavidez, the older brother of two-time tremendous middleweight champion David Benavidez, who each come from a preventing household led by their father and coach Jose Benavidez Sr.
After a prime beginner profession, Benavidez noticed his skilled desires practically finish in 2016 when a stray bullet from an unknown assailant driving by reduce by means of the femoral artery of his proper knee as he walked his canine after midnight close to his residence in Phoenix. Docs mentioned Benavidez would by no means field once more and would wish upwards of two years of rehab to ever stroll on his personal.
Not solely did Benavidez’s toughness pace up that timeline, he returned to the ring simply over two years later and fought unbeaten WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford “on one leg” in a combat that noticed Crawford, among the many pound-for-pound greatest within the sport, rating a Twelfth-round TKO.
Benavidez then sat out a full three years earlier than coming again final November in an excellent middleweight bout on the undercard of his brother’s headlining homecoming in Phoenix. The elder Benavidez brother seemed flat towards journeyman Francisco Torres and was extraordinarily lucky to come back away with a majority draw that few thought Benavidez deserved.
“My final combat I used to be attempting to do an excessive amount of, and due to that, I did not do something in any respect,” Benavidez mentioned. “All the things occurs for a motive and I really feel able to combat. I do know that I can beat the very best at 154, it begins with Danny.
“I can field and I can bang. I do know that I can do all of it within the ring. Everybody goes to see a extremely sturdy efficiency from me on combat night time.
Benavidez has lengthy had the talents and a nasty sufficient in-ring temperament to someday be a world champion, however the jury stays out as as to if there may be nonetheless time to recapture the momentum misplaced by the taking pictures. The problem of Garcia is anticipated to be the hardest he has ever confronted, aside from Crawford.
“It is not about weight, it is about talent,” Garcia mentioned. “You do not change into a three-time world champion since you’re simply larger. It is about talent and method and that is what we convey to the desk.
“[Benavidez] going to see what I convey into the ring on Saturday. I’ve had the suitable sparring for this combat and I ready completely. It was actually an ideal camp.”
Garcia has solely ever misplaced to welterweight elites like Keith Thurman, Shawn Porter and Spence, though all three bouts have been shut and aggressive, with the primary two producing considerably disputed outcomes on the scorecards. The native of Philadelphia has by no means been stopped as a professional and brings heavy benefits in all the pieces from energy and method to expertise towards Benavidez.
“I am coming in with a bang. I take each combat prefer it’s the largest combat of my life,” Benavidez mentioned. “I am glad that Danny is assured. He’ll discover out on Saturday that 154 kilos is not for him. I fought Terence Crawford on one leg and gave him a combat. I do know what I am able to and I will combat like that.”
Benavidez hasn’t been shaken all through combat week by the tough phrases from Garcia’s father/coach Angel, who has questioned his coronary heart and expertise. The 2 even had a shouting match at Thursday’s last press convention about how robust of a combat Benavidez can convey to Garcia.
However make no mistake, for Benavidez to attain the type of breakthrough victory that may put his inconsistent profession again in movement, he might want to again up his confidence with the type of efficiency he has but to indicate towards an elite foe.
Battle card, odds
Odds through Caesars Sportsbook
- Danny Garcia -800 vs. Jose Benavidez Jr. +550, junior middleweights (12 rounds)
- Ali Eren Demirezen -180 vs. Adam Kownacki +155, heavyweights (10 rounds)
- Gary Antuanne Russell -1400 vs. Rances Barthelemy +800, junior welterweights (10 rounds)
- Date: July 30 | Location: Barclays Middle — Brooklyn, New York
- Begin time: 9 p.m. ET
- How you can watch/stream: Showtime
Make no mistake that Benavidez, regardless of holding benefits of practically three inches in top and attain, has an uphill battle in entrance of him towards the 8-1 favourite Garcia.
Foot pace has lengthy been the lone Achilles heel for Garcia towards elite opponents given his should be stationary with the intention to get off energy pictures. That hole is probably not as a lot of a determined distinction on the greater weight for Garcia, to not point out that Benavidez’s motion has by no means fairly been the identical since being shot within the leg.
Benavidez can be not a pure junior middleweight, himself. Bundle that with the truth that Garcia has by no means been down as knowledgeable and the percentages simply worsen for Benavidez. A path to victory might want to embrace a gradual eating regimen of physique pictures and a fearlessness to tackle huge hazard within the pocket with the intention to achieve Garcia’s respect.
Though Garcia, a pure counterpuncher, has been uncomfortable at occasions being compelled to be the aggressor, Benavidez is rather more comfy coming ahead. It is an equation that is still a harmful one as Benavidez might want to apply strain with out leaving himself open to Garcia’s counter combos, which usually see him float a physique shot together with his proper hand with the intention to convey down his opponent’s guard to uncork a looping left hook which follows.
Benavidez was in a position to linger towards Crawford and stay considerably aggressive with out being overwhelmed. However that did not translate into a lot offensively, nonetheless, and Benavidez was nonetheless stopped within the last spherical. That was additionally 4 years in the past.
If the upper weight permits Garcia a deeper fuel tank and the flexibility to pour on the strain as soon as he feels Benavidez is harm, a mid-round stoppage is definitely in play for Garcia to make a strong-yet-expected opening assertion in his new division.
Choose: Garcia through TKO8