Danny Garcia will step into the boxing ring for the first time in 19 months on Saturday night when he takes on Jose Benavidez Jr. in a super welterweight matchup at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Danny Garcia (left) will make his super welterweight debut on Saturday when he takes on Jose Benavidez Jr. (right) at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. (Image: Amanda Westcott/Showtime)
Garcia, who is coming off of a welterweight title loss to Errol Spence Jr., comes in as an imposing -800 favorite over Benavidez (+500) at DraftKings Sportsbook.
Garcia refreshed mind during boxing break
After Garcia (36-3, 21 KOs) lost to Spence by unanimous decision, he made the decision to take an extended break from training. He used that opportunity to refocus and regain his passion for the sport.
“After you’ve been fighting for a long time, I’ve been fighting world champions for the last ten years, I realized that my body felt great, but my mind felt foggy,” Garcia said during a recent open workout. “I knew that I needed my mind to rest, have some fun, and spend some time with my family. I needed time to enjoy everything that I worked so hard for, start to miss the game of boxing and then come back strong.”
Garcia sees Saturday’s fight as a stepping stone in the 154-pound division. If he can get past Benavidez, he is eying a matchup against undisputed super welterweight champion Jermell Charlo (35-1-1, 19 KOs). Accomplishing that, he says, would cap off his career in style.
“There’s nothing else to do after that,” Garcia told Fight Hub TV. “That’s the goal, that’s the dream. We’re going to walk away healthy and as a champion.
But Garcia isn’t the only man who sees Saturday’s fight as a path to bigger things. Benavidez (27-1-1, 18 KOs) will fight for only the second time since 2018, when he lost to pound-for-pound superstar Terence Crawford by 12th-round TKO. He didn’t impress in his return last year against Francisco Emanual Torres, achieving only a majority draw.
Fighters see championship opportunities with win
But if Benavidez can beat Garcia and look good doing it, the doors to a title fight will open wide yet again.
“We have to look impressive,” Benavidez’s father and trainer, Jose Benavidez Sr., told the Arizona Republic. “At the end of the day, man, we need this fight in order to get back in the rankings and get back in boxing with Jose Benavidez Jr. We need to impress. We need to give it all, and I guarantee you someone’s going to get knocked out.”
DraftKings believes there’s a solid chance at a stoppage, as it is only offering +150 on the fight to not go the distance. Benavidez agrees with that assessment and says he’s going to stop the smaller Garcia from successfully moving up in weight.
“He’s going to find out on Saturday that 154 pounds isn’t for him,” Benavidez Jr. told reporters. “I fought Terence Crawford on one leg and gave him a fight. I know what I’m capable of and I’m going to fiht like that.”